10 Ways to Build Rapport with an External Recruiter

By David E. Perry, Mark J. Haluska

When you’re working with an external executive recruiter, you need to ensure that they have your companies’ needs and wants in mind. Here are ten easy ways to build rapport with an external recruiter:

  • Convey to the recruiter your expectations and how you like to operate. The best recruiters are flexible and will work to match to your style.
  • Treat the recruiter as you would a trusted partner or your best staff. Openly communicate your company’s situation, needs, problems, and objectives.
  • Listen to the recruiter with an open mind. Her advice can save you a lot of time and trouble!

Executive search is as much an art as it is a science. If your recruiter has a gut feeling about something, you’d be wise to pay heed to it.

  • Allow the recruiter to evaluate candidates you’ve identified internally just as he would the candidates he has found through his own sources.
  • Discuss your selection biases and those of your recruiter.
  • Be inquisitive. Ask the recruiter about her strategy, status, problems, market feedback, selections, and so on.
  • Touch base regularly — every week or so — to monitor the recruiter’s progress and share any shifts in specifications or priorities. If the search runs into a strong headwind, up the frequency of these communications to twice a week. You have a right to know what’s going on with the search!
  • Be open and candid about any problems that arise during the search, but don’t finger-point. Instead, foster a problem-solving environment.
  • Be accessible. Exchange home and cell numbers so you can be reached easily. It’s the simplest way to demonstrate your commitment to the search’s success.
  • Introduce the recruiter to your administrative assistant. Your assistant can keep the recruiter in the know about your availability or lack thereof — for example, when you’ll be in board meetings or on vacation.