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Who Really Answers Recruiter Calls?

recruiter calls
Lionseye insights from AC Lion

recruiter calls

As the CEO of AC Lion since 1996, my recruiters and I have learned a great deal about the nuances of this industry. One major theme we have noticed is how different types and levels of candidates respond to us. Piggybacking off of my previous article, How to Respond to a Recruiter,” this piece takes a deeper dive on the philosophy behind who usually answer, and why. Here is what an extremely successful C-level executive had to say on the matter:

There is tremendous value in being a ‘networked’ executive, and this certainly transcends all generations in business. We should all view responding to recruiter outreach as another key aspect of networking and personal, professional growth. Always listen humbly when someone calls, and DO return those calls. If not for yourself, just taking the time to return a message from someone interested in you, and then thoughtfully recommending someone else or another idea, is just always the right thing to do.” -John Vilade, Current EVP, Advertising Sales at ONE World Sports, formerly VP CBS, Hulu

Whether it’s hitting a trade show, an industry holiday party, or simply reaching out to professionals outside of your area of expertise, networking should be as routine as your monthly visits to your in-laws. It may not always be easy or comfortable, but it’s critical for success. Speaking to a smart recruiter is just another necessary means to an end, and it just makes sense.

One of my top recruiters, Stacey Byrne, realized that over her five year career she has reached out to thousands of junior/mid-level employees – to a relatively low response rate (which is a mistake, if you know Stacey). What also came to her attention is how, on the flip side, C-level executives respond almost every time! One of her prominent contacts provided her this additional insight:

“It’s always a good idea to take calls from recruiters, even if you don’t think you’re interested in the particular job. While you might not make a move yourself more than every few years, maintaining these relationships is important for a number of other reasons: you can refer great people, you can stay on top of market trends and what’s out there (recruiters tend to have a good sense of it), and best of all, you have someone to call when you need to make a key hire.” – Warren Webster, Current President and CEO of The Coveteur Inc., previously Co-founder of

So, why is there such a gap? Is it simply a generation gap? Or are senior people looking to switch jobs more? It’s astonishing to us that candidates at the SVP, EVP, CRO level, respond almost immediately (practically same day). They frequently want to be kept in the loop on the marketplace, and to hear about all opportunities. Even when NOT actively looking, senior candidates always take the call or schedule a time to speak. This keeps their options open, and gives them the option to also potentially help their contacts. Therefore, it’s not always about that one job, or that one call, but nurturing your network and keeping your info current.

This is the key to success in today’s marketplace. And no, it’s not old-fashioned or dated – with today’s digital advancements and social networking, the opportunities for staying connected and abreast with influencers in your industry are higher than ever. Therefore, if you hear from a recruiter (especially an AC Lion one), hop on it! It could be the best decision you make for your career, and maybe you can be at the top someday too.

Do you respond to recruiters? Why or why not? Share some of your experiences below!

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