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How to Become an Executive Recruiter

As an executive recruiter, you will be entrusted with the future of your client’s companies. This is more than a headhunting job – you will literally make the decisions about who will be the future decision-makers in your clientele’s office space.

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Here are some of the main things that you should understand about being an executive recruiter. Some of the things that characterize the employment change based on industry, but there are definitely some similarities throughout the profession regardless of the nuances of your individual position.

Job duties

As an executive recruiter, your primary job duty will be to vet and choose the appropriate candidates for positions that your clients will bring to you. These will be high-level positions that are very important to the company, and they will trust you to be the first person to weed out anyone who is not fully qualified or passionate about the position.

In some cases, you may be charged with going out to proactively find people for open positions that your client companies have open. You may even have the leverage to make offers to people who are currently employed. In many cases, executive recruitment is a very competitive sport. You may be talking to people who are already in high demand or in the midst of contracts with other employers, and you may be charged with negotiating them out of that deal and into one with your client companies.

Your client companies may also charge you to keep an eye on the marketplace so that they never have to be behind the times when it comes to new talent. You will have to keep up with industry news and the movers and shakers who are making things happen. When you make calls, you will be fully aware of who the people are. Executive recruitment offers are usually not made as a general offering – many of them may not even be put on public job boards.

Career requirements

The executive recruiter combines many talents. First of all, you must be an industry specialist. You may be a specialist in many industries, but you should definitely have an expertise in the industries that your clients are in. Your expertise will allow you to identify people who are actually doing good things for that industry. You will know who is really making waves, and you will also know who has the great ideas that will push your industry forward tomorrow.

An executive recruiter will also understand basic business psychology. You must understand exactly why people take the jobs that they do. Because you may be charged with negotiations for a particular position, you will have to learn how to talk to people so that they want to consider your offer. Additionally, you will have to navigate the politics of the marketplace as well. You have to understand that people who are currently employed may not be able to take certain offers at certain times. However, you will have to follow up with them later in order to get the job done for your client.

You may have a need for legal expertise as well. When you are making offers to clients who are already employed or in other contracts, you have to work around the legal hindrances that may be involved. Although your clients will likely have legal specialists on their teams, you are the first person to look at contracts and send out offers. If there is a problem with the legal portion of what you come up with in your negotiations, you will have to take responsibility for this mistake.

Education requirements

An executive recruiter will typically hold a bachelor’s degree in business or human resources, and often times, recruiters will have an MBA so they can fully understand the inner workings of business. Recruiters will also often have sales training since recruiting involves quite a bit of networking, negotiating and balancing priorities.

Salary expectations

What kind of salary can you expect as an executive recruiter? The final answer depends on the industries that you are recruiting for and the success of your previous efforts. Many of the top executive recruiters do not receive their salary through a baseline. There may be a baseline involved, but the majority of highly paid executive recruiters get most of their salary through commission.

Where does this commission come from? And executive recruiter takes a piece of the money that he or she earns for the executive that is placed. For instance, if a recruiter moves a new executive into a job at Nabisco for $500,000, the commission for the recruiter may be anywhere from $25,000-$50,000. If the executive gets a raise, then so does the recruiter. In this way, the performance of the executive is tied directly to the decisions that the recruiter makes. The recruiter has a vested interest in placing the person who is best for the job, because the recruiter can earn more money if the executive does well.

As a recruiter, you may also be introduced into positions that are completely based off commission. There may be no base salary at all. In this case, you will definitely have to understand the performance that your executives are giving to your client companies. They will connect the dots, and you will definitely be on the line if your executives are unqualified or otherwise not performing up to par.

The world of executive recruitment is not an easy one. However, it can be a very rewarding one. You definitely have the ability to make a great deal of money. You can also build up your own reputation within certain industries as a person with an eye for talent.