What candidates should know about working with executive recruiters

Stuart Paterson our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 02 April 2020

The recruitment marketplace is complex and varied. There are few barriers to entry and an almost limitless number of jobs and sectors to cover, yet few recruitment firms provide the high level of researched, specialist service that candidates and clients are looking for. So what separates a good recruiter from the bad, and what makes an executive recruiter different to the in-house talent attraction function? 


There has been a 47% year-on-year increase in recruitment company registrations in the UK since 2017, with an industry valuation increase of 11% to £35.7 billion in 2018. It’s clear that the past 12 months have offered huge opportunities, however seasonality, high staff turnover and certainly the current coronavirus situation means that there will be both winners and losers in the recruitment industry this year. 


Hanover has a proud history of weathering industry storms, providing resourcing and executive search solutions for more than two decades. We’re known for our personalised approach that has seen us build longstanding relationships with both candidates and clients, offering an end-to-end service that sets us apart from standard recruitment agencies. Find out why - here’s what candidates need to know about working with executive recruiters: 

How are executive recruiters different to in-house talent attraction teams? 


The role of the in-house talent acquisition function has changed in recent years. While 40% of companies maintain recruitment processes in-house in a bid to save money, the reliance on specialist recruitment and staffing firms has increased. This can be attributed to many factors. The UK – and global – talent market is tight, with low levels of unemployment and many organisations reporting an ongoing struggle to attract talent for hard-to-fill roles. In addition, 42% of hiring managers point to a desire to shorten the hiring process as the reason for working with recruitment firms.  


Executive search firms recruit for senior-level executive positions, often for hard-to-fill roles. Candidates at this level are harder to find and often need persuasion to move roles, which is where specialist vertical recruitment expertise is required. An executive recruiter works exclusively on behalf of clients to identify and engage the market’s premium talent, which often already exists within the recruiter’s carefully maintained talent pool. Relationships are built on trust and can last years, if not decades, with executive recruiters acting as career advisors as well as specialist resourcers. The exclusivity that executive recruiters offer means they provide a deep level of business-specific insight to candidates as well as a more tailored service. 


Executive recruiters map out markets and build significant relationships with executive and board level candidates at both active and passive level. These candidates may have been clients of executive recruiters at some time, or have been helped to advance in their career, showing the genuine long-lasting relationships that can occur at this level. Hanover’s executive recruiters are vertical specialists who maintain strong networks within their sectors and understand market conditions and fluctuations, meaning we provide research-driven, expert guidance to our talent pools, no matter what career stage they are at. 

What can executive recruiters offer me? 


Executive recruiters sourcing senior and executive-level talent will only engage with talent they know will be a good fit for their clients. An effective executive search approach is a multi-pronged research methodology that is about delivering business solutions, not CVs, therefore professionals working with executive recruiters receive not just exceptional service, but also discretion, trust and ongoing career support. The roles handled by executive recruiters are seldom advertised and are often highly confidential, providing unique opportunities to qualified candidates. 


A reputable executive search firm goes beyond identifying and attracting candidates. They act on behalf of clients to deliver wide-ranging benefits including assessing organisational culture to advising executive leadership and boards. They apply this end-to-end approach to candidates’ careers too, offering everything from initial advice and suggestions through to checking in after making placements and helping to develop plans for progression. 

What can I do to raise my profile to executive recruiters? 


Executive recruiters have access to unique, confidential career opportunities that most professionals won’t have visibility on. To access these opportunities, candidates can do several things to raise their profiles. While an updated LinkedIn profile can help, so too can contributing to industry events and networking communities, publishing and commenting on thought leadership pieces or simply reaching out to an executive search firm that specialises in your industry. A reputable executive recruiter will ensure their candidates align with their industry specialisms, and even they don’t have a specific role in mind for you right now, will maintain regular contact and keep qualified candidates top of mind for future roles.  

What Hanover does differently 


At Hanover, our values are at the heart of everything we do, including how we approach candidates and maintain connections with them. Rather than simply filling vacancies or placing candidates into jobs, we partner with candidates throughout their career to provide them with ongoing strategic support and advice, whether they’re actively looking for a new role or not.  


Our executive recruitment consultants are true experts in their respective fields. Rather than generalist recruitment consultants, we encourage our team members to select verticals and truly specialise in them. That means that not only can we form deeper, more genuine bonds with candidates and businesses within these markets, but we can also stay abreast of changes and developments that may impact our candidates. Whether that’s how artificial intelligence is going to impact the industry or how you can start your career in private equity, our consultants have insider expertise to help guide careers. 

Consider us as your guides or partners throughout your whole career, rather than just a stopgap to call upon when you next need a job. We love forming long lasting connections and helping people reach their career goals, whatever they may be. Contact us here to find out more. 

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