NPAworldwide Membership Questions: Speaking to Clients

by Veronica Blatt

In this installment of our series on NPAworldwide membership questions, I’d like to address another common question (which is actually two separate, but related questions):

When do I find out the client name / when do I speak to the client?

NPAworldwide is a split placement network of independent recruitment firms. One firm is the job recruiter that has the client relationship and is marketing the open role. The other firm is the candidate recruiter, representing the candidate who is being considered for the role. The client relationship belongs squarely with the job recruiter. With rare exceptions, it is not appropriate for a candidate recruiter to contact their partner’s client. This includes: Read the rest of this entry »

A Good Client Is Hard To Find

by Liz Carey

Five stars lined upIt 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: Read the rest of this entry »

Evaluating Prospective Recruitment Clients

by Veronica Blatt

If you haven’t read the latest post from Greg Savage, it’s worth your time. In a nutshell, he posits that candidates are both scarce *and* have wildly different priorities than they did pre-pandemic. And that big companies, which have been fertile ground for third-party recruiters, are perhaps not the best recruitment clients that they may have been previously. Read the rest of this entry »

Be a Consultant, Not an Order-Taker

by Dave Nerz

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. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Keep Clients Coming Back

by Veronica Blatt

After my birthday this year, I sent out ‘Thank You’ notes, like my mom taught me to do growing up.  It’s kind of a lost art – Social media, texting and email are the status quo now, and granted it’s much easier (and saves you the cost of a postage stamp)… But if the recipient gets just another email in their inbox (or worse, spam folder), they may miss it. A handwritten thank you note, on the other hand, commands attention. People notice thank you notes. People remember you because of them. That’s why recruiters often tell their candidates they should send a Thank You note to the hiring manager after an interview. It’s important to remember that it’s the little things that mean a lot. Good customer service is what builds good relationships with clients (and candidates) and keeps them coming back. Read the rest of this entry »

What makes a good client?

by Liz Carey

xzhbqor9gmIt takes a lot of time and filled job orders for a recruiter to develop a good relationship with a client – 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: Read the rest of this entry »

Fire Your “Best” Client

by Veronica Blatt

You're-FiredToday’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Kimberley Chesney. Kimberley is the owner of Prime Management Group in Canada, with offices in London and Kitchener (Ontario). Kimberley is a long-time volunteer for NPAworldwide, currently serving as Immediate Past Chair of our Board of Directors.

In the world of contingency recruiting, nothing is more frustrating than working so hard to find excellent candidates and then having your client go silent. Anyone reading this that has done third-party contingency recruiting will understand what I am talking about.

Here’s the scenario. You have done business with this client for many, many years. You have watched people come and go and you have always been able to defend some of their misguided reputation by explaining to candidates that they are going to change.

You have put up with “hurry up and wait” and have had candidates in holding patterns only to find that they accepted other opportunities because they too got frustrated about the so-called “opportunity of a lifetime.” You have listened to your contacts within the company complain about things and yet you remain patient, concerned and devoted to this long-time client.

Then it happens…You lose out on one, two, three or more placements because of delays.

You don’t receive any response after submitting a resume. You don’t receive the long-awaited feedback after an interview you arranged (after receiving the request less than 12 hours before the proposed interview time). You receive excuses (finally after trying to contact your client numerous times) about the delay. However, you do not receive any valuable information to share with your candidate in order to keep them in a holding pattern.

Finally, you have had enough and you remember that YOU are in control of what you will or will not put up with. You can make the decision to either wait it out or speak up.

Don’t misinterpret what I am saying here… no one wants to “fire” a client so you really have to assess the overall risk before you make that call.

One of the things you should NEVER compromise is YOUR own reputation and that of the recruitment company you work for. If you are enduring long bouts of silence regarding your work and this isn’t justified, candidates start questioning YOUR integrity – especially when you are the one who has to make excuses for your client.

When you finally make this difficult, yet powerful, decision you will have NOTHING to lose and everything to gain.

Many times, clients just don’t “get” what we do. They don’t have to, because they pay our fees to “put up” with their inconsistency. However it is up to you to educate them and explain that their silence and non-committal actions are causing their reputation to suffer. In addition, you need to explain that you will not have your own reputation suffer because of their lack of consideration.

Recently, we “fired” a client. It had a profound affect. The client simply didn’t understand what all the fuss was about and ended up apologizing and, more importantly, stopped the bottle neck and proceeded to interview and prepare offers for two different positions!

Talk about a win-win-win… Candidate happy, client happy and most importantly we were happy!

Take a look at what you are wasting your time on and see if you should be firing your “best” client.

Good Luck!

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Controlling our Clients? Surely you’re joking!

by Veronica Blatt

image of ships wheelGreg Doersching is Managing Partner and Founder of The Griffin Search Group, a national search firm working in the direct hire placement industry. He is an active recruiter who still runs a highly productive desk. He also developer and Chief Architect of the highly successful Bullseye Recruiting Process. For the past 15 years, Greg has been recognized as one of the most cutting-edge voices in the recruiting industry. Greg has spoken at several NPA conferences and is well-regarded for his candid approach and recruiter training.

I get asked by recruiters all the time, “Greg, how can I take better control over my clients?” I wish there was some kind of formula that would give you “actual” control; unfortunately that’s not reality, and I’m a strong believer in working inside the real world. So here’s the truth of the matter – the only part of the entire recruiting process that you do have control over is – yourself! This isn’t a cop-out, either. I bring this up because if you want to start having more INFLUENCE over your clients — which is something we can attain — then it starts with how you master yourself.  Here are three areas where you need to be as consistency flawless as possible if you want to earn enough respect from your clients to actually start being able to influence their decisions.

Quality Submittals – The single most important service you provide to your clients is the candidates you actually choose to present and how you choose to deliver that presentation to them. Yet so often I see recruiters sending over marginal candidates and justifying it in their own minds. Our two biggest excuses? “Well, I’ve got to send them someone so they know I’m actually working the search.” And, “I’ll send them this person and then the feedback I get will help me fine tune what I’m looking for.” Both of these justifications are the kinds of things that kill your relationships with clients because clients only see one thing: “You didn’t send me what I was looking for!!”  You want true influence? It starts with only sending candidates who are true fits for the position regardless of how long it takes you to find them!

Professional Communication – The second area where you can gain a great deal of additional influence over your client lies in how you handle communication with that client. I am a firm believer that the more professional you make you communication the more obligated your client feels to respond in a similar professional manner. To this end, I send very formal weekly update reports notifying the client on the status of the search. I send very formal interview debrief reports that detail the candidate’s thoughts on the interview. I go further in sending very detailed pre-search qualification matrix grids to my clients to force them to “sign-off” on my search parameters before I start a search.

There are lots of other tactics I employ to ensure that all my clients’ dealings leave them with the impression that they are dealing with a true professional and as such, a certain level of professional courtesy is expected on their part. I would leave you with this parting thought – do your job with a sense of P.R.I.D.E. (Personal Responsibility In Daily Excellence). If you take the focus onto yourself and work at a high level of professionalism, integrity and diligence your clients will notice. This will result in you gaining the RESPECT that you deserve and this will manifest itself in the influence you have over those clients.

Image courtesy of worradmu /

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Headhunter Network Shares 7 Reasons for Slow Hiring Clients

by Dave Nerz

image of turtle representing slow clientsWhen you run a headhunter network, as I do, you hear many good and bad stories about agency recruiting. Lately I have heard that recruiters are growing weary of how slow employers are to act on good candidates. I have been doing an informal survey of what drives this lack of urgency for clients resulting in slow and ineffective hiring decisions.


  1. Unclear Job Descriptions. Sometime the speed to hire is slowed by a lack of job clarity. In our headhunter network, I hear about jobs that start off with one set of expectations and by the time the hire is made, the role has changed as have the salary and the expectations.
  2. Change of Management. Agency recruiters have reported slowed decision-making when ownership and managers change. No one wants to make a hire when the company is in flux.
  3. Complex Interview Process. When the list of employer interviews changes and grows, you can be sure the hiring process will be delayed. Those in our headhunter network indicate the fastest decisions are made when the interview process is defined in advance and is maintained through the hiring process. Scheduling third and fourth interviews is one way to make sure top talent is chased away.
  4. Cost of Open Positions Not Understood. Open positions have a cost. Unfilled openings burden the people that must pick up the overflow of work. For positions that are truly valuable, the revenue lost is measured in most companies as 3 to 5 times the annual salary…real revenue that is being lost. If more companies realized this, they would be focused on adding speed to their process. Many times managers that are not “profit centers” but are “cost centers” view open positions as “cost savings.”
  5. Slow is Better Mentality. It is not uncommon for employers to believe that slowing down the process will help them make a better hiring decision.  There is logic in this belief but members of NPA’s headhunter network agree that it only holds true for the disorganized client that does not have a clear position description, a solid management team, and a proven interview process. For the majority of employers, slow decisions assure that the highest quality candidates will be gone before the decision to hire is executed.
  6. No Sense of Urgency. This is usually an extension of the leadership and perhaps a few of the other items listed above. Unless someone is holding the hiring manager accountable for a timely hire, the hire will be a lower priority than other responsibilities. When employers engage agency recruiting firms, firms can act to hold a hiring manager accountable — but only if supported at the leadership level of the organization.
  7. Failure to Understand Market Conditions. This one is a constant source of conflict between agency recruiters and employers. The agencies understand the shifts in market dynamics and employers tend to be informed by external news media reporting. So the employer hears that unemployment is at near record highs and assumes this means they have the pick of talent just waiting for an offer. They do not understand that for university graduates with 5 to 10 years of experience, unemployment is at nearly full employment levels. That means that anyone really wanting a job has one. Employers can mistakenly believe they are in a job-driven market when the shift to a candidate-driven market occurred in months or years prior.

In summary, slow response time is costing employers money and causing them to lose the best available talent. Competitors are hiring the top candidates while other employers are leaving positions unfilled. Moving too slowly to extend offers to qualified candidates is sacrificing a competitive advantage. Scheduling that 3rd or 4th interview may cost an employer the best talent. Sometimes employers need to learn the hard way. Agency recruiting firms can act to inform employers, but employers need to adopt a “get it done now” sense of urgency in order to compete for top talent in today’s market.


How Agency Recruiters Can Work More Effectively with Clients

by Veronica Blatt

red-fortune-cookieToday’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Kimberley Chesney. Kimberley is the owner of Prime Management Group in Canada, with offices in London and Kitchener (Ontario). Kimberley is a long-time volunteer for NPA, currently serving as Chair of the NPA Board of Directors.

Why is it that clients are asking for so much information before they make a hiring decision? One of the frustrations agency recruiters have is working with clients who are slow to pull the trigger and HIRE!

When this type of thing happens, it is a good idea to learn something. For example, if this is a new client and you haven’t worked with them before, chances are, you don’t know much about their decision-making style. Many so-called hiring authorities are just one link in the chain of command and really have no sole discretionary powers to actually create the offer of employment. Unless you are dealing directly with the owner of a firm, you are likely faced with a situation where there are multiple inputs coming from different parties before the hire actually happens. Your contact may be asking people’s advice from inside as well as outside of the company. Suddenly, everyone becomes “recruiting experts” and they start adding layers of opinions, sometimes clouding and delaying the big decision.

A good practice is for agency recruiters to evaluate how decisions are going to be made before starting the search process. In a bureaucratic “cover your behind” type of environment, you will just need to breathe and take it one step at a time. Delays will happen. On the other hand, in an entrepreneurial environment where decisions can happen quickly, agency recruiters must be prepared to provide the required information in a timely fashion so the client can respond.

For example, how many of you actually do a Google or other type of internet search on the name of your finalist candidate? Sounds simple, but you can be sure those so-called recruitment experts are searching Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and looking at what your candidate is all about. Agency recruiters who skip this step could end up in an awkward situation if the client finds out something before they do!

Successful agency recruiters never assume they are being paid to provide a name and a resume. A robot can do that. What are you doing to allow the client to make an informed hiring decision? When you send them that invoice for a nice big fee, will they look at it and say, “That was worth it,” or will they be left wondering, “What did I really get for that price?”

Stop and think about what you are actually sending your clients. Is it what they want and need or is it just something you think they should have? Too much or too little? You need to decide — and it will be different for each client!

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