Should I Refer Others for a Position I Want?

How should you answer a recruiter’s message asking for candidates for a particular position when you are personally interested in it yourself?

Ann-Z-newThis is a terrific question, and I’m so glad you asked it!

In order to answer this question, I need to give a little lesson on high-end recruiting.

When we are conducting a search, there are two types of approaches we use.

1) Direct Approach: The most commonly used recruiting method, where we create a list of all potential candidates who appear to meet all of the mandatory requirements we are looking for, and then set about calling and emailing them. We are very straightforward in this approach, and after introducing ourselves, we briefly outline the opportunity, and ask if they are interested in pursuing such a role. If they answer in the affirmative, we then segue the call into screening them against the requirements, and proceed accordingly.

2) Indirect Approach. This technique is typically employed for high-level searches. We strategically target all potential candidates who may be a match, and depending on how large of a potential candidate pool that we have identified, occasionally will expand the list to include one level higher. The goal is to cast a wide net, offering a general profile of the opportunity, and asking for referrals.

We always stress when asking for referrals that we are not asking for names of candidates who are shouting from the rooftops that they are unhappy in their current role, but are simply looking for names of qualified candidates. We then call and either do a Direct or Indirect Recruiting call, and the cycle continues.

The goal in making all these calls is to find a person that matches all of the mandatory requirements that we have been tasked to find by our hiring manager, who is also open to exploring a new opportunity.

In short, we are HOPING that the person on the other end on the phone expresses interest himself in the opportunity!

So the next time a recruiter calls you asking for referrals, and you are interested in the opportunity yourself, feel free to let her know that you may be a good match and would like to hear more. Trust me on this, depending on how difficult the hunt has been, and how exuberant the particular recruiter is on the other end of the line, reactions will vary from a relieved smile, to high-fives with desk mates, and the occasional celebratory dance.


Ask Ann,

Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com



Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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