A senior level candidate asks us about what to expect when working with recruiters for the first time  –

“I am a senior level professional who is looking for work for the first time in my career. Being unchartered territory; can you tell me what to expect when working with a recruiter?”

We threw this one over to our own President and Co-Founder – Cam Macmillan. Cam has worked with senior level candidates across a range of industries and professions during his recruiting career; he explains some of the things you can expect from a good recruiter – 

One of the core messages we train our recruiters on is to treat every candidate with respect. Senior and junior. We realize how this can be a vulnerable time and we will work hard to make the experience a very positive one. Regardless of whether we can find you that new career opportunity; we work hard to ensure we have added value to your search.

So, the first thing to expect is to be treated respectfully. Second, a good recruiter should be very candid with you about whether he or she has the types of opportunities that you are seeking. Many recruiters specialize and may not be able to offer you those specific roles in which you are suited. Honesty is key, as is good, two way communication right from the initial meeting.

I recently met with an individual who was working at a very senior level in an organization in which he was no longer comfortable with the corporate culture. He relayed to me his feeling of apprehension in walking up the stairs to our offices for our initial meeting. After several weeks of working with him (and finding him a great new career!) I asked for some very direct feedback on how he felt he was treated and what he found most valuable during his senior search.

Some of the key points were:

  1. Right from meeting our Client Services Administrator at reception he was made to feel comfortable and welcome;
  2. He was given upfront advice about his resume and prospects for a new role. We are very clear about not placing everyone with whom we meet and attempt to never over promise. He was told that new opportunities might happen right away, months away or he could find something on his own.
  3. He liked the fact that he was updated regularly when an opportunity was presented. Communication is key!
  4. The fact that we expected him to keep us regularly updated on his own search efforts helped solidify the relationship as a partnership. We offered market intelligence on companies he was applying to, even on those with whom we were not working with as clients.

So, when embarking on your job search, finding the right recruitment firm can require a fair bit of work on your part. But look for the firm that treats you with respect, is honest and open with you, and offers good two way communication. This goes for both senior and junior level candidates. Best of luck with your career search!



Cam has spent the last thirteen years in the recruitment industry, becoming one of the experts in his field and part of the management team when his last firm was named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. As President and Co-Founder of The Headhunters, Cam enjoys developing businesses across Western Canada as a true recruitment partner. Cam specializes in recruiting and placing senior level operations and accounting and finance professionals. He works in any industry sector and with a combination of owner-manager, and large publicly traded companies. Contact Cam at cmacmillan@theheadhunters.ca