Executive recruiters are always looking for good candidates to fill their positions. A common technique they use to find them is for the recruiter to phone people who hold similar positions in other companies, to tap into their network, but it’s also a way for the recruiter to see whether the person being called is interested.
When you’re called out of the blue, if you can’t talk privately or are caught by surprise, ask to call the recruiter back in private. Ask that a job description be mailed to your home and say that you’d like to think of suitable candidates and call the recruiter back. If you don’t know him, ask for references to protect yourself or anyone you might recommend. It’s flattering to be contacted by a recruiter, but be on guard.
Developing rapport with recruiters can be beneficial in the long run, but be careful. If you’re comfortable with him and his reputation, try to be helpful, and try to refer appropriate candidates if the job isn’t a possibility for you. Keep a list of these recruiters in your Rolodex because you can then contact them when you are job searching and remind them of when they spoke to you and why.
Being approached by another company can indicate more serious interest than being approached by a recruiter. Here again, consider how attractive the opportunity sounds. Evaluate the job as you would any other. If you’re in good standing in a successful company, be doubly cautious in researching any such possibility because if your
interest is even suspected, you could get fired.