Keep in mind that 80% of the best jobs are filled by referral and 15% by Executive Recruiters. Do you want work for a company that paid $50 for an online posting at Zip Recruiter, or for a company that is paying me $50,000 to find the right person?  Companies that use online postings for senior level roles ($100,000+) are mostly not companies you want to work for.

Let me explain how REFERRALS work in the Executive Recruiting world.  This morning I received a search for a CFO at $300,000. Because I only work with executives I know personally, or that were REFERRED by my network, I sent an email to 200 CFO contacts. Any volunteers? If not, do you know someone good that might have interest?  And I don’t mean met at a bar, I mean you will personally vouch for this person.

The reason for the referral strategy is that most Executive Recruiters don’t accept unsolicited resumes (resumes from people they don’t know). Because they get paid to personally vouch for the candidates they submit, Headhunters are a very conservative bunch.  Their reputation is attached to every single resume they submit.  Think about it. Would you be willing to risk your reputation on someone you don’t know and never met?  Performing due diligence on candidates they don’t know is just too daunting.  And that is why Recruiters don’t call you back when you submit an unsolicited resume.

So here is how you get access to the BEST jobs.  When an Executive Recruiter reaches out and asks for referrals, have a quick look through your network and see if anyone makes sense. Or maybe you have a friend that recently emailed you a resume because he/she wants to make a move. Are you with me?  If you can help…HELP.  Don’t be that guy that emails back, “I’m not interested.”  You know what?  Everything is not about YOU, and if you come off that way, welcome to the “deleted from my rolodex” button.  The correct response is, “I’ll check my contacts, and if I find someone that makes sense, I’ll forward them to you.”  THAT, my friends, is remembered.

Executive Recruiters live off rolodex and referrals.  If you are viewed as a friend that has helped them, guess who gets the calls for the GREAT jobs?  You. And when YOU need a job, guess who returns your calls?  Those same Executive Recruiters you stayed in touch with and tried to help.

For me personally, all other things being equal, the GREAT jobs go to executives that have supported my business over the last 15 years. Why? Because I am the most loyal person you will ever meet, and I remember every single person that helps me by sending a referral.

Happy Holidays!