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Q&A: Reaching out to a Recruiter, Partners vs. Associates

Q: “Somer, I’m actively looking for something new for the first time in years, and I’m going through my inbox replying to recruiters who reached out to me in the past. Should I get in touch with only the partners, or the associates too? There are so many titles.” – Head of Engineering


It’s easy to think that knowing the partner means you’ve checked that box, that you’re on the radar with the entire search practice (recruitment team). Unfortunately, that’s not true. The associate or director is the person doing the first round of recruiting, reaching out to candidates, having phone calls, and presenting the candidates to the partner, and you want to be on their radar too.

I remember being an associate and going to my partner’s office, advocating for the candidates I spoke with. The partner would ask questions or sometimes push back entirely questioning the candidates’ fit. Often the partner is in a business development role and has other priorities, leaving candidate generation 100% to the people under them. You should know the partner, but definitely know the other people too. Oftentimes they're the ones finding you and advocating for you.

The most fun part has been seeing my candidates’ careers grow while mine has grown alongside them. I never forget the candidates that treated me well as the junior person in the room.

Want more tips?

📘 Check out Search in Plain Sight: Demystifying Executive Search on Amazon or email me and I’ll send you a pdf copy. If you've read the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. It helps more people find it.

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