It takes a lot of time and filled job orders for a recruiter to develop a good client relationship – as a recruiter, you must produce results, build trust and be dependable for your clients. But a relationship is a two-way street and it takes more than an employer saying “just find me this candidate” and paying you a fee to cultivate a successful business partnership.
The client has a huge role in getting the job order filled as well, and can’t just take the back seat. They must make time to discuss the requirement with you, provide thorough candidate feedback, have an efficient hiring process, and respect the fee structure.
Here are 5 common problems with clients that recruiters face, and how to address them:
1. Being vague – just providing the recruiter a link to the job description online is not enough. They need to provide you key information, just as you do when you provide them with candidates. If they give vague parameters, it wastes your time as you’re left guessing what exact skills and personality traits they are looking for in a potential hire. Ask them what the “must-haves” are, and see if they will provide a resume of someone who they have hired for that role or a similar role so you can get a better idea of what they are potentially looking for.
2. Not giving feedback – Clients should be quick to respond and provide feedback about candidates. When you provide a candidate that isn’t the perfect fit, they must let you know why. The goal is to understand why that candidate missed the mark and go on from there. If they say a candidate is not a fit, but the candidate seemed to match their “must-haves” on paper, ask your client to elaborate on their ideal candidate. Do they say “3-5 years experience,” but are actually looking for someone more senior? Or with leadership experience?
3. Inability to “pull the trigger” – Clients who change their minds or can’t make a decision need to understand that the candidate you provided them may also be interviewing for other roles. If they wait a month to offer the position, there’s a chance that the candidate could move on. They need to provide to you their hiring process and timeline, so you can communicate that to the candidate. In this market where candidates have the upper hand, clients need to be able to commit to extending an offer to a candidate who is a good fit, instead of stalling and waiting for someone better… because that person may never come along.
4. Lack of commitment – whether they change the fee structure at the last minute, or dodge time frames, clients can string you along, wasting your time and money. You’re doing all the leg work, so it’s important that they stick to promises. Longtime clients that give you repeat business are less likely to do this, so until you form that strong client relationship, get everything in writing and stand your ground.
5. Not being transparent – if the budget has been cut and a job opening has been shelved; If they already have internal candidates interviewing for a role; or if they have other recruitment agencies working on a role, a client should let the recruiter know as soon as possible. It’s important that clients be open and honest with recruiters and not bite the hand that feeds you. Let them know that transparency and open communication is the only way you can work together to find the perfect fit for their team.
If you have a client who displays any of these traits, you must work with the hiring manager to form a symbiotic relationship where you trust and respect each other. They need your help filling positions as much as you need the client’s job order, and great recruiters know how to get the job done properly. If you clearly communicate your needs and understand the client’s, the relationship will be much more effective and efficient.