Top 10 Sustainability Recruitment Agencies and How to Approach Them (Part 2)

by Shannon Houde

Using our list of the top ten sustainability recruitment agencies as a starting point, the next step for approaching a sustainability executive search firm is to choose a few agencies you’d like to approach based on their location and industry focus. Remember that a recruiter’s main concern is finding the best possible candidate for its client, so if your CV isn’t ready, or your elevator pitch isn’t polished, you are likely to be overlooked.

When it comes to approaching sustainability recruitment agencies, I often give my clients four tips:

Tip 1: Understand what a sustainability recruitment firm actually does.

Recruitment agencies are hired by a corporation or organization to conduct a process to identify and recruit candidates with a particular skill and competency set. Their main goal will be to make this match and find a shortlist of three to five candidates to put forward for interviews.  Many agencies are not ‘head hunters’ and will not have the time to find each candidate a job.  The responsibility is still on the candidate to find the roles online on the recruiter’s website.


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To dispel some of the misconceptions out there, here is a short list of what a recruiter will and won’t do.

Recruiters won’t:

    • spend their time to “find you a job” – they just don’t have that kind of time for every candidate
    • redesign your CV or cover letter – that’s what career coaches are for
    • have unlimited time to help – remember the hiring company pays them so you are only valuable to a recruiter if they can place you – be considerate of a recruiter’s limited time

Recruiters will:

    • help position/sell you to the client/company if you are qualified for a live role
    • negotiate salary on your behalf but in line with the company’s demands
    • be your ‘middle man’ in negotiations with the company

Tip 2: Find a role that is posted on their website that you would be well qualified/competitive for.

A recruiter will be much more likely to help you if you are applying for a live role, and all executive search firms list their clients’ job openings online. I advise my coaching clients to find the one or two roles they are most qualified for and to first customise their CV for the roles before applying.  Don’t expect the recruiter to do this for you.  Usually there will be an online application process, however, after submitting your CV (both in Word and PDF formats), follow up a few days later with a live call to the appropriate consultant.  You should be ready with your elevator pitch for this first call – i.e. why you are best for the role.

Tip 3: Consider all conversations with a recruiter as an interview.

Recruiters represent their clients, the company or organization with the open role, and that is how they get paid.  They are, in fact, outsourced hiring managers.  So from your initial conversation with a recruiter you should consider it an interview.  Be ready to sell your top 3 skills and summarise your relevant experience in a sentence or two.  Also be ready to tell the recruiter why you want this role and how you are better than the competition.

Tip 4: Follow Up.

If none of their current roles suit you, most recruiters allow you to submit your CV to be considered for future job openings. However, it’s important that you check back for updates regularly. Every time recruitment agencies have a new role they will post it to their site and other job boards such as LinkedIn groups, so register for their weekly bulletin or RSS feed to stay on top of the latest live roles.

So go now and get registered on all of the top recruitment agency sites but stay on top of their latest postings.  And don’t forget to make a face-to-face meeting with the recruiters to start to build your relationships in person and help them remember you.  Good luck!


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