Three Ways to Work With Recruiters

With over 15 years of executive search work and helping healthcare companies recruit, land and lead talent for their organizations, there are still things in the industry that surprise. One of those is the disconnect between the healthcare executive and the headhunter/search industry.

In this article I will share 3 Ways to Work with Recruiters.

  1. Get to know them before you need one
  2. Often, I get calls from healthcare leaders whom I have never had any prior contact with because they are now out of work due to a reduction in force, a merger or conflict with a board member and a myriad of other reasons.

    An old Chinese proverb states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

    I have talked with thousands of healthcare leaders and I am always surprised when someone tells me this is their first real conversation with a headhunter. In today's fast changing healthcare world your network is key to your future success should you need to do a job search.

    Unfortunately, when an organization decides to do a RIF there is no loyalty to you even if you have spent the last 10 years giving 60 hours a week to the organization. Even when we as leaders expect loyalty from our employees we are willing to cut their legs out from under them when we must save money or our own job. (But I digress). This is a topic for another day.

    The point here; get to know recruiter(s). Even if you just took a new job continue to build your network. I have worked with executives who have taken a new position only to find out it is not the right fit; a board member decides they don't like them or the family isn't happy once they arrive and the need to extract from the situation sooner rather than later.

  3. Take or return their calls
  4. As I stated above, I get calls from leaders who I have never had a conversation. What I didn’t say is that I had never called them. As a headhunter my job is to network, get to know leaders and help you, or an organization find the right fit for an opening.

    I know what you are thinking here. I get way too many calls from recruiters to take or return a call. I am way too busy to speak with every headhunter that calls my office.

    Believe me, I understand this point, but see point number one.

    I am not saying you must return every call every time, but build relationships with more than one recruiter. How many? The number is up to you, but I suggest you have a relationship with 5 to 10 recruiters in the industry. Not all recruiters are the same. Some are transactional and don't want a relationship, they just want the placement, some treat candidates like a head of cattle and just like to run you through the process and some are relational and want to work with you long-term and build a relationship that serves you both to find a job and help you build your team should you need help.

    You need to talk with more than one or two to find the right match for your own personal style. And also understand it is impossible to know about every possible job in the marketplace, nor can we place you in a job if a company is already engaged with another firm, or is unwilling to pay us a fee for the introduction. Therefore, it is important to get to know many recruiters, and the only way you can do this is to return calls, or messages when appropriate.

    I learned, probably like you did growing up to treat others the way I want to be treated. However, I do my best to treat others better than I want to be treated…this is the platinum rule. Most recruiters worth their salt and who have been in this business more than a couple of years are fairly thick-skinned and take rejection pretty well, or they wouldn’t still be doing this kind of work, but I recommend when you can -- return their calls. You will know within a few minutes of conversation whether you can connect with this person or not, and if you don’t just be honest and tell them you prefer they not bother you anymore.

  5. Update your resume every six months and send to your recruiter contacts.
  6. If you are like me and most others I talk with in this business, it gets harder and harder to remember everything we have done or accomplished from one month to the next.

    I suggest every month you sit down and reflect on what you have done to move your team, departments and organization forward. Keep a running document or journal that is secure and saved frequently that you can update each month.

    Schedule an appointment with yourself every month to do this so you don't forget things and they never get added to your resume. I also suggest you do this with your team. I am a coach, and this is a great way to coach your individual team members each month and encourages them to keep working hard and reminds you of how hard they are working. Then guess what? When it is performance evaluation time you have already had 11 sessions with them to help you create their evaluations and now there are no surprises at the end of a year.

    If it is not put on the calendar it will not happen. Put this appointment on your schedule and your teams schedule every single will thank me later!

    Once you have the information on your own personal journal document, then schedule a six-month appointment with yourself to update your resume with the best and most quantifiable information you have from the last six months. Then spend 30 minutes writing a personalized email to your recruiter contacts and attaching your resume.

    This doesn't mean you are looking for a job, it means you are watering the tree after you have planted the seed. You are growing your network before you need it.

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