Executive Head Hunters

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Is there some master list of first-rate workers from which all executive head hunters operate? Given the fact these recruiters take the lead in finding employees and not the other way around, it may appear that these creatures are in cahoots with Attorney General Ashcroft or the head of the CIA. "So, Mr. Jones," your call might begin, "we know you're currently a brand manager making $115K per year and driving a black BMW 325i. How would you like to step up a notch?"

If that entire scenario seems a bit too Orwellian, brace yourself for the truth: executive head hunters do already know a lot about you, for that's their job. Just as geologists are expected to know which rocks might be found in which riverbeds, executive head hunters are expected to know who's who at major companies. In other instances, they may not know the precise names of the workers, but they may be familiar with the firm and then interpolate from there.

An Example of How Executive Head Hunters Operate

Say an athletic-shoe company has recently made headlines by overtaking its closest competitor in net sales for the quarter. Financial analysts and marketing gurus may ascribe the sudden boom to any number of factors, perhaps a revamped or brand new ad campaign. An executive head hunter might do some preliminary research to learn who oversees the marketing efforts for that company's firm, then conduct a search engine research campaign to learn a bit more about that person's career.

Now say that same head hunter has been hired by a struggling company to find someone with advertising panache--enough to pull the flagging firm out of the trenches. That head hunter might contact the ad whiz and see if he or she has pondered moving to a different company. If not, that recruiter might give up and move on to other candidates, or he or she might redouble the effort and try a second time--this time with concrete salary numbers and benefits to use as incentives.

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