How to Network With Executives

As a recruiter, you know that not all job orders are the same. Some positions require highly skilled professionals with years of experience. These roles can be difficult to fill but offer big rewards. Learn how to network with executives to grow your contact list.

What are executive recruiters?

As the name implies, executive recruiters concentrate on placing executives. Executive positions include highly skilled jobs that call for extensive training and experience, such as upper-level managers, lawyers, and doctors.

Usually, executive placements have a high lead time. It’s common for recruiters to take four to five months to fill upper-level positions. In addition to screening candidates, you also help clients negotiate salary, research the market, set up interviews, and do background checks.

As an executive recruiter, you place candidates in different industries depending on your recruiting industry background and niche interests. You concentrate on small niches that yield high profits. You charge your client a recruitment fee that usually includes a large retainer.

Generally, recruiters make about 15% to 25% of a candidate’s total first annual salary. Executives tend to earn larger salaries, which means a higher profit for you.

For a solid candidate pool, you need to build rapport with those in the industry you’re recruiting for. One of the best ways to gain recognition as an executive recruiter is through networking.

How to network with executives

In recruiting, you can use your network to gain candidates. A strong executive network takes time to develop. As you continue to network, your contact list will grow.

Sourcing executives requires a different approach than other candidates. Executive candidates know they hold valuable skills and hard-to-find levels of experience. They are experts, so networking with executives requires a great depth of knowledge.

Your recruiting strategy should focus on networking with executive candidates. Use the following tips to learn how to network with executives.

Prepare ahead of time

Meeting with executives isn’t something you want to completely improvise. The more you prepare, the more successful your networking efforts will be.

Make sure your contact information is up to date and easy to find. Have business cards on hand to give potential candidates. Check the information on your website and social media accounts. Verify that your recruiter brand is consistent across all communication channels.

Map out the industries and locations you want to target. Make a list of potential business leaders you want to network with and how you plan to contact them.

Before talking to executives, do some research. Find out their general background and interests through social media profiles and websites. Prepare a short elevator speech to explain who you are and what you do.

Know your industry

Executive recruiters know what they’re talking about. You need to understand the industry inside and out to carry meaningful conversations.

To keep up with current knowledge about the industry you’re recruiting for, set up Google Alerts. This application gives you up-to-date news and information based on pre-selected keywords.

For example, if you’re recruiting for a corporate attorney, set up alerts for keywords like “corporate regulations” and “corporate attorney.” Pay attention to new technology, processes, and regulations that are introduced to the industry.

Audit your current network

It takes years to build a strong list of executive contacts. Your recruiting network will be small when you begin reaching out to professionals. But, every great candidate pool starts somewhere. Take a look at your current contacts to see who can help you grow an executive network.

Your network could consist of acquaintances, friends, alumni, industry influencers, and mentors. It’s important to maintain consistent communications with these individuals as your executive recruiter reputation grows.

If you haven’t reached out to your current network recently, do so. Applicant tracking systems for recruiters can help you quickly contact professionals in your network. Make sure you are connected on social media and have up-to-date information. Let your peers know that you are available for executive recruitment.

Set up a referral system

Recruiting referrals are a great way to source candidates, especially for an upper-level position. People often like to make recommendations and share their opinions. Members of your existing network can provide referrals to expand your executive candidate pool.

Make it known that you accept and appreciate referrals. Have your contact information available on several different channels. Respond promptly to referrals and thank the person who sent you the referral.

Utilize social media

Potential executive candidates sometimes follow social media groups related to their industries. Join groups that focus on a specific niche.

Top Echelon’s CEO Mike Kappel wrote an article advising to follow the “don’t be the jerk at the party” rule when communicating on social media. By this, he means to tone down the sales pitch and remember that these platforms are for socializing.

Instead of advertising your services, take part of a bigger conversation. Use social media recruiting to ask questions, talk about issues, offer advice, share stories, etc. Potential candidates will naturally become part of your network.

Follow influencers

Influencers can have a big impact on your executive candidate pool. Subscribe to publications that provide expert information on the industry you’re recruiting for. If there is a space for comments, post a message that either starts or adds to a meaningful conversation.

Influencers can lead you to like-minded individuals that help you grow your network. Follow influential people in certain niches on social media. See which executives are following the influencers and engage with them.

Join professional organizations

Many executives belong to professional organizations for their industries. These organizations hold conferences, panels, and speaking engagements. Attend niche-related events for face-to-face networking with executives. Bring your card and follow up with strong potential candidates.

Maintain ongoing relationships

You need to actively build relationships to create an executive network. Keep in touch by occasionally checking in on your contacts. Without being overbearing, make sure the executives stay in your network long term.

No relationship is unimportant. Each person you meet becomes a branch in your network. You might be surprised how a certain contact could help you down the road. Always put your best foot forward when growing your network and talking to executives.