The 5 Candidates Executive Recruiters... Dread

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last twelve years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $200,000+, and last year I placed eight executives north of a million dollars.

My articles are targeted at senior executives; however most of the points apply to all levels. Not here to judge or criticize, only to educate and inform. The more you understand about how Executive Recruiters work, the better your chances of having one represent you. And Executive Recruiters get all the best jobs. Here are my thoughts on the five candidate types that Executive Recruiters don't want to work with.

The Liar -- If you don't have integrity, no Executive Recruiter cares how brilliant or talented you are. Common sense, yes? Apparently not since candidates lie about education, experience, job title, and/or compensation on a regular basis. I used to think this was a Las Vegas problem, however several of my more worldly friends say "global issue." Honesty is the best policy.

The Narcissistic Megalomaniac -- Ego is a serious deal killer. Companies like to hire humble, genuine, authentic executives. If you come off as an arrogant, egotistical know it all, you won't move forward in the interview process. On another similar note, don't tell the Executive Recruiter what to do or how to do it. I once told a candidate, "You are probably way smarter than me, but I do this for a living. I know the client. I know the position. I'm your agent and on your side. Let me do my job."

The Spammer -- Recruiters get paid very handsomely to bring the best of the best in candidates. So it does not take much imagination to understand why they dread candidates that spam their resume. That can be to every Recruiter in town, every company in town, and/or both. Smells like desperation. Remember, a Recruiter can only submit you to a company that you have not applied, submitted or contacted in the last 12 months. If you spam your resume, they won't be able to add much value. Be selective in your job search.

The Dreamer
-- Mostly I like dreamers, but not the ones disconnected from reality. Regularly get $100,000 candidates that want $200,000 or $250,000. What? No company is going to double your salary. An Executive Recruiter gets paid to review your resume, then based on education and experience, come up with the "market rate" for the candidate. What they can reasonably expect to receive in compensation given the economy and job market. This is probably the number one reason Recruiters pass over candidates -- they are unrealistic about salary. Be realistic about compensation.

The Tire Kicker
-- Most Recruiters are paid on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you get the job. As such, they don't like tire kickers. Recruiters want to represent candidates that are 100% committed to making a move. They don't want to waste your time; they don't want to waste the hiring company's time. Kick tires on your own dime.

I Have Jockeys, I Need Horses (Bonus Tip) -- My race horse trainer once told me, "I have jockeys, I need horses." Translation? Horses pay the bills, not jockeys. In the Executive Recruiter world hiring companies pay the bills, not candidates. Recruiters are overwhelmed with resumes and candidates. Many are under the mistaken impression it's an honor and privilege to represent them. Could be, but mostly...it is not. When working with an Executive Recruiter, always remember the hiring company pays the bills, not you. Be professional and courteous. Make your career search a priority and do your best to make the Recruiter/Candidate relationship a positive experience. One last tip -- meeting an Executive Recruiters when you are unemployed is a terrible career strategy. Recruiters represent executives they know and trust. People they have long term relationships with. Be sure to cultivate two or three Recruiter relationships while you are gainfully employed. Dig the well before you need to take a drink.