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Deep Dive: The Executive Recruiter Job Description

Amanda Price
3 min read

What is an executive recruiter? What are the responsibilities of the job? How are recruiters and executive recruiters different? 

If you’re considering working with an executive search firm, it’s important to understand an executive recruiter job description and all that the role entails.

Executive recruiter job description

Many companies struggle to hire quality talent, particularly when it involves executive and senior-level positions. The executive recruiter specializes in filling leadership positions and works closely with its clients to find the best possible candidates for hire.

Executive recruiter responsibilities

As it’s critical for businesses to land talented hires for their open executive positions, the job of an executive recruiter is a complex and includes many responsibilities:

Finding candidates

Executive recruiters must be able to find candidates for small and large companies across the industries they specialize in.

To achieve this, they must use multiple solutions to source candidates, including job boards, social networks, referrals and their own networks. The best executive search firms tap the networks of industry leaders to refer executive talent from top executives, directly to the client. 

Act as an intermediary

Hiring managers are extremely limited in how much time they can spend with candidates. Not to mention, they often don’t possess the time or resources to make initial connections or form relationships with prospects.

With the executive recruiter acting as an intermediary between both parties, more time is dedicated to the candidate, as well as the client’s search for an executive hire.

Make recommendations on hiring decisions

Executive recruiters spend plenty of time with candidates, asking them the right questions, evaluating their skills, and determining whether or not they would be good matches for their clients. 

Networking with candidates and clients

Part of the executive recruiter job description entails taking on the responsibility of building their clients’ brands. This allows them to position their clients’ job openings as attractive career opportunities, which leads to increased candidate interest and a higher likelihood of placing the right executive quickly.

Executive recruiting skills

In order to handle the many responsibilities that come with such a role, executive recruiters must possess a unique skill set to perform the job successfully:

Knowledge of the industry

As an executive recruiter will often specialize in a certain industry or niche, it’s important that the individual has extensive knowledge in that specific area—including industry terminology, the current job landscape, employer needs, and challenges.

Strong people skills

Executive recruiters are required to be in constant communication with candidates, clients and their peers. This means that communication, listening, networking, and sales are all vital for the job.

Marketing skills

The executive recruiter also needs to hone marketing skills in order to build their own brands and land new clients, while also building their clients’ brands. Good marketing will help executive recruiters attract better candidates for their clients and improve response rates from passive executive prospects.

“Hunt Club has become our go-to partner for acquiring incredible talent.” Find  out why G2 CEO Godard Abel leaves hiring to Hunt Club.  

Tools and resources used by executive recruiters

Every occupation has its own set of tools needed to perform the job, and executive recruiting is no different. Some of the most important tools and resources used include the following:

Recruiting networks

In a competitive executive talent market, it’s not an option to rely on the network of a single executive recruiter. Instead, top executive recruiters pull from networks of business leaders and industry experts to source senior-level prospects. By sourcing referrals through the professional networks of hundreds of industry leaders, top executive recruiting agencies are equipped to offer clients a small pool of highly qualified executive candidates. 

Recruitment and networking websites

An executive recruiter won’t neglect popular recruitment websites either. Many candidates use these sites exclusively, so these prospects also need to be on the recruiter’s radar during the search process.


The executive recruiter will need to make use of project management, interview scheduling, and candidate relationship management software to remain organized, streamline and automate certain processes, and make the entire hiring process easy for their clients. As the market evolves and new software is popularized, the executive recruiter is expected to adopt new technology.

Smartphones and social media

Smartphones play an important role in communication with clients and candidates, and text messaging is quickly becoming a preferred form of communication. 64% of prospects prefer text messages to a phone call or email after applying to a job, one study shows.

It’s also vital that executive recruiters use social media during their search for qualified executive candidates, as these networks are becoming the primary frontier for many job seekers and passive prospects alike.

Education and experience

Executive recruiters come from all types of backgrounds, ranging from business and marketing to psychology, and more. While the executive recruiter’s alma mater or major may not play a significant role when building a career in recruiting, what’s more important is that he or she possesses the skill sets already mentioned.

What to look for in a successful executive recruiter

The most successful executive recruiters are committed to honing key skills and forming good habits. Here are a few of the many important qualities an executive recruiter needs to employ:

  • Boldness. Every recruiter needs to be comfortable meeting and conversing with people, whether it’s via cold call, an interview, or an in-person meeting.
  • Patience. Building personal networks and rapport with industry executives doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Responsiveness. Employment is a time-sensitive issue for both client and candidate.
  • Adaptability. The job market is always evolving, regardless of industry or niche. The executive recruiter job description requires you to be willing to adopt new strategies and recruitment methods as trends change.

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