Much of what you will read here is easy to say and so much harder to do. I realize that. But to be successful over the long-term, you will need to take this kind of action more often than perhaps you would like. My message, stop being an ORDER TAKER and be a CONSULTANT to your clients.
In the NPAworldwide network, I am fortunate to see many highly successful member recruiters coaching and working with less experienced or just more conservative counterparts. Here are some of the things I am told by the seasoned professionals about the clients they are asked to support…“They (their counterparts) have such low fees for such difficult jobs. The client’s expectations are out of line with the market. The client is slow to act on great candidates and nearly non-responsive on good candidates. The client is looking for perfection in a market that cannot deliver on perfection. The client’s salaries are 15 to 20% below market. The client has a less than stellar reputation but is seeking the best talent in competition with ideal and highly recommended competitors.”
So as a recruiter, these opportunities become more visible in a split situation, such as the jobs and placements NPAworldwide gets to observe. Situations will often only draw feedback because of the split partner perspective on the quality of a job order to client relationship. If a deal is 100% within your business, you may still have the issue but never hear the feedback. You may want to consider on all jobs if your client needs you to be a consultant who can deliver tough love instead of just going with the flow. When working a contingent search that is competitive, it is certainly easier to be a go-along-to-get-along supplier. I am not suggesting you be difficult, but where you see things are not as they should be or could be, you are better off letting the client know. Wasting time on bad job orders that are competitive is hardly a recipe for success!
Be A Consultant to Clients on Job Fill Difficulty
If the job is truly difficult and few can fill it, let the client know. These jobs are deserving of better fee percentages. Easy fills are perhaps appropriate for slightly lower fees but certainly not the ones that will take enormous time and unique candidate skills to fill. This then translates to speed of response and feedback. Clients cannot sit on talent unearthed while the team searches for a meeting date or the hiring managers completes an around-the-world cruise. Someone must act quickly. Clients need to have that expectation set from day one. If they fail to honor it, you need to move on to better job orders.
Reflect Market Reality to Clients
If the hiring company has a poor reputation and is known for below market wages or less desirable work conditions, they need to have that reality shared with them graciously. Not easy to do, but it is critical to building realistic conditions around the offer and the speed to hire. If the client is over-confident, they need to become realistic. If the market is tight and quality is not plentiful, that reality likewise needs to be communicated. Clients have visions of markets they last hired in, or a market they participated in as a candidate many years prior. You need to share reality with them directly but nicely.
Gain Agreement on Expected Action
Do not let yourself or your firm be in the position of finding superior talent that leaves the party before the music starts. Gain agreement on how quickly after submittal a decision to interview will be made. How soon after interview feedback will be provided and how soon after feedback a yes/no will be provided. Set objectives for how many will be interviewed before an offer will be made. Clients that keep asking to “see a few more candidates” are typically wasting time and missing opportunities. They are interviewing too many that should never have been interviewed or there is something else concerning about their process. Gain agreement, consult on best practices up front.
Do a Salary Survey and Company Reputation Search
There are providers like Wage Access that can do very thorough salary surveys for under $1000. Ask the client to do one on jobs that they have not hired for recently or with jobs that have been difficult for them to fill. Something is likely the root cause and sometimes that is salary. Also help assess the quality of their reputation. Build a summary of employee comments from online sources. Show clients how they compare to competitors. If they are low performers, they may need to raise salaries to attract candidates.
Order takers go along to get along and that makes their lives less complicated. Consultants push clients to improved performance and a recognition of the reality of each hiring decision…hard work, often rewarded with rejection. The question is do you want to invest your time working bad job orders for bad clients or would you rather lose a few opportunities to work on better openings with partnered clients and hiring managers that want you to be a consultant? Your call.
Tell me about a time you could be a consultant to a client and it was rewarded! Thanks for considering the options afforded to you.