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Ask the recruiter: Recruiters keep eye out for fresh names

Question: Do executive recruiters have a short list of names they come back to again and again? How can I get on that short list?

Liza Wright
Founding Partner,
Lochlin Partners
Over the last two decades, many executive search consultants have evolved from generalists to specialists. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to have search consultants working on C-suite assignments across many different industries. Their practices were, as the old saying goes, “a mile wide and an inch deep.” In more recent times, however, a real premium has been placed on “domain expertise.” As a result of that specialization, recruiters have developed strong networks of sources and potential candidates they turn to when starting a new search. A good recruiter will, however, always reach beyond these networks to identify and contact new potential candidates. If you receive a call from an executive search consultant, return the call and always offer to help. Whether you have an interest or not in the position involved, recruiters appreciate hearing your perspective on the market and your ideas regarding other potential candidates for their search assignment. They will remember your help and will continue to contact you in the future.

Stephanie Tomasso
Executive Search and Assessment Consultant
Russell Reynolds Associates
This is a great question, and one that we often hear from our clients as well. The short answer is ‘no,’ Russell Reynolds does not have a short list of people we present on every search. Rather, on each search we challenge ourselves to cast a broad net, meet new people and discover talented people who may be right for that specific search. Each search and role is unique. However, this is a highly relationship-oriented town. To that end, there are certainly people I have built relationships with over the years who I know have great networks in Washington and beyond. I often make my first calls to these people when kicking off a search, because I know they will be straight with me, and always refer high-quality candidates who are truly relevant for a position. Generally, when starting a new search, there are always people we know from past conversations and meetings who we might hope to engage in the process as candidates. But the truly interesting part of what we do is to continuously meet new people who may be right for a specific search.