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Executive Recruiter Jobs

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Have you considered becoming an executive recruiter? If you have strong communication skills, a talent for listening, an attention for detail, a desire to develop a strong network, then you may have the underlying talents required to be a successful executive recruiter. Executive recruiting is a challenging and rewarding career option with growth opportunities over the next five years.

Career Outlook

The executive recruiter job market is currently growing at a rate faster than other human resources fields. Executive recruiters are needed by both corporations as well as by search firms. All sizes of organizations are using executive recruiters as well as executive recruiting firms to screen and hire top candidates. With human resources departments under pressure to reduce costs, many organizations are focusing on executive search firms as well as talent acquisition specialists to help them when an opening exists in the company.

Salary Ranges

The average salary for an executive recruiter is about $75,631 as of September 2008. However, because search firms may pay executive recruiters based on a commission structure, actual earnings by highly successful recruiters may be much higher. Executive recruiting pay varies by industry. Well paying industries are more likely to pay executive recruiters well to find qualified candidates. Annual income for executive recruiters in finance or “C” level (CEO, CFO, etc.) recruiters may exceed $200,000.

Educational Requirements

Executive recruiters generally have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many have degrees in business or human resources. Some also have master’s degrees or masters in business administration degrees. Executive recruiters who work in human resources departments of companies may also have certifications in human resources, targeted selection, or other specialized recruiting areas. For technical fields, the executive recruiter may have an advanced post-bachelor’s degree or a technical degree. While the field is not licensed, executive recruiters must still follow the equal employment laws in place for the company.

Job Qualifications

Executive recruiters specialize in the industries that they serve. For example, if the firm is in the food services industry, then the recruiter should have a solid understanding of the food services industry. Executive recruiter jobs generally require the person have experience interviewing and screening candidates, but it is not mandatory. They do need excellent time management and project management skills to handle multiple job postings and interviews. In addition, strong written and oral communication skills are critical. The executive recruiter generally handles all communications between the candidates and search firms, or the candidate and the company, if the recruiter is independent.

Other skills of successful executive recruiters include knowledge of the human resources hiring processes and procedures for screening, interviewing and selecting executives. Top executive recruiters within companies also need to have an executive presence –meaning excellent communications skills, knowledge of what makes the business successful, as well as comfort working with top corporate leadership. Through working with corporate leadership, a successful executive recruiter recognizes the unique needs of the company culture and selects candidates who would thrive in the organization. A poor hiring decision will not only hurt the candidate, but the company as well as your reputation as a recruiter.

In addition, executive recruiters must show discretion and understand that candidates, as well as the companies may want to keep the recruiting process confidential. The reputation of a firm or an employee may be damaged if the wrong information is shared inappropriately. There are also screening procedures that must remain confidential because of legal reasons.


Executive recruiter jobs are usually filled with candidates who are experienced with recruiting, interviewing, and hiring practices. Top-level executive recruiters have years of experience and large networks of potential candidates to select from when an opening in a company becomes available. Generally, executive recruiters specialize in an industry, as well as a level of candidate – either management or “C” level, depending on their relationships and networking with top industry leaders. The top paying executive recruiter jobs are usually held by executive recruiters with a long history and a solid reputation of placing quality leaders in companies.

Day-to-Day Activities

The executive recruiter spends equal time developing a pool of candidates as well as clearly understanding the job requirements for the posted positions. They also manage the interviewing, selection, and offer process for the candidate. Accurate record keeping is essential. Updated documentation for all candidates who were interviewed and who were offered positions is not only important from a success standpoint, but is a legal requirement for most interviewing processes.

The executive recruiter also has the opportunity to work with cross-functional groups to define the qualifications the organization is looking for in a position. From the qualifications, they will also be able to identify appropriate sources for recruiting candidates, as well as establish a clear recruiting plan.

Part of the executive recruiter’s job involves arranging interviews for the candidates with senior management. The executive recruiter also may be responsible for collecting all of the feedback on the candidate, as well as ranking candidates who interviewed for a position to help select the top person. The executive recruiter also will then manage the total compensation package with the hiring department, and communicate the package to the candidate in the form of an offer. The executive recruiter also provides feedback to unsuccessful candidates to let them know that they were not selected.

If a major hiring process is being undertaken, the executive recruiter may be required to present status reports, budget reports, as well as candidate profiles to senior management to help them manage the hiring process.

When the hiring process is complete, the executive recruiter may need to give a wrap-up briefing to cover the salary ranges offered to new candidates, as well as the skills and abilities summaries of the new executives.


Executive recruiter jobs are fast-paced and highly rewarding. People who have the right balance of networking skills to find qualified candidates rapidly, as well as the ability to understand the interrelationships within senior management of the hiring company will be highly rewarded through their successful placement of candidates. The outlook for executive recruiter jobs looks promising in most industries for the next five years.
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