How to react to an approach from an executive search firm

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It is important to keep an open mind when you receive a speculative approach from an executive search firm such as Barron Williams.

A couple of weeks ago I persuaded a great candidate not to say no to a role without finding out more. He’s having an exploratory discussion with our client this week.

Having worked in the industry for many years, preceded with many years of personal experience of dealing with agencies as a candidate, at Barron Williams we know both sides of the coin.

The relationship between us and our candidates best functions as a partnership. 

We are a professional services agency, and you can be assured that you will benefit from our market knowledge, benefit from our network, and ultimately work in harmony with us to help achieve your career goals, whether we find you your next role or not.

Ultimately, when you make the decision to change roles, you’re in the driving seat. 

At the senior executive level, when we think you might be what our client wants, then we will endeavour to get in touch.

There’s already interest on our side, we’ve been recommended that we should speak to you by somebody in our network, or we’ve found you via social media.

Often, someone has thought highly enough of you to put your name forward, and that always piques our interest. Recommendations and referrals are highly valued.

Your probably not an ‘active’ candidate, but if you ignore our approach, what opportunities might you miss? Is it not best to at least find out more and make an informed decision?

Don’t worry, we won’t waste your time, all we want is a brief professional conversation at a time that is convenient.

How should you react to an approach from an executive search firm?

When Barron Williams make contact with a new prospective candidate, we will have a specific role in mind. We will run through the background and key requirements quickly.

We’re actively pulling a shortlist together, so we need to know wether the role may be a good match for you, quickly.

Usually, that initial discussion around the role brief is conclusive. We’ll both know if it is worth pursuing for you.

However, for the prospective candidates who really weren’t considering a move, we often arrange a follow-up call once they’ve had a chance to reflect on the opportunity, and consider whether they want to find out more.

It’s always a two-way street between candidate and executive search firm

The same goes for us. Do we then want to know more about you? If it’s us, we’ll tell you!

However, if you’re taking the call from any executive search firm, ask questions to get enough information to help you decide if you should go further in the process.

The organisation? The role? The strategy? What are the key objectives of the role? What specific requirements does the client have? What are the longer term prospects?

When we reach out to a potential candidate for a role we’ll have a ‘key criteria’ checklist, and we’ll openly discuss that with you.

If there is mutual interest, it does not automatically mean we will add your name to the first stage list. You’ll need to decide to find out more, maybe prepare a CV, and arrange a further more detailed call with us. You can stop at any time of course.

You’ll get the opportunity to find out more about the client and, if we agree that you want to pursue the role formally, you’ll have done so having gained enough information to take it seriously.

Build a relationship with us and consider our advice

At Barron Williams we have extensive knowledge of our market sectors, often working with our clients over a long period of time. We aim to fit the right people into the right settings – for mutual benefit of course.

This allows us to offer significant insight into the organisations culture, people, assessment procedures, and interview processes and formats , etc. 

Straightforward discussions – Let’s stay in touch!

Our business is built on our networks, and fostering those relationship is integral to developing a successful partnership with us. We’re in it for the long term.

If the role isn’t right for you, the next one may be. Good people are good people, in any sector. 

You might be able to help us with the search of course. If the role’s not right for you, you may know the person we are looking for.

Proactive Communication

The executive search industry is often criticised for lack of communication post contact, often deservedly so.

If you respond to us, we will follow up. I guarantee it. And we’ll let you know how your interest is received by the client, either way. It is just good manners as well as good practice. 

Manage Expectations 

Everybody should be looking out for the perfect role, and we’re always looking for the perfect candidate.

Let’s talk.

Let’s talk about the opportunity, the client, the deliverables, (and salary)!

So, my request is this… When we approach you, say “OK, I’ll talk”. Listen to what we have got to say, it won’t take long. What have you got to lose?

Remember though, we are also assessing you – Not just your match to the brief, but how you respond. Whether you choose to proceed further or not, it is always good to leave a good impression.

If you’re looking for your next role, then please feel free to Upload Your CV or Call Us for an exploratory conversation. If you’re looking for a senior executive for your organisation, please use our Client Upload Form or Call Us now.

Barron Williams

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