The 8 characteristics of great clients
By Ross Clennett
You might have gathered from last week's lead article that I am not so keen on PSAs, especially the ‘panel provider' variety. So what sort of client am I keen on?
I considered all the clients I had worked very successfully with over the long term, when I was a desk level recruiter and these are the common characteristics I came up with (in order) that distinguished them as ‘great clients':
1. $ v time
Let's not be romantic, touchy-feely or deluded here. I loved those clients that I was able to make the most amount of money from in the quickest amount of time. Sounds blunt? Greedy? Let's get real. I was proud of my skills and proud of the candidates I represented and I wanted to generate the best return I could for those skills and candidates. To say anything else would be disingenuous. If the clients didn't think my service represented value then there was nothing to stop them going elsewhere.
Even if the relationship did not start as an exclusive one, I quickly won clients over to exclusivity once they saw how much better the candidate quality was and how time-effective it was for them to deal only with me.
My key clients understood that they were in a race to hire the best and they acted quickly to make a decision on an interview or an offer for an excellent candidate.
My favourite clients provided specific reasons why they wanted to progress, or not, with a candidate. This helped me provide feedback to candidates who craved it as well as making my job much easier in identifying a more suitable candidate.
The client was the expert in their job and I was the expert in mine. They listened to my advice regarding the salary or rate on offer, skills sought and attitude desired and made adjustments to their expectations, based on this advice that ensured a win all around.
Almost all temp jobs I filled were done so over the phone, without a resume being sent to the client or an interview taking place. When I was a perm recruiter, the clients booked in the interview time with only my candidate's name and before I sent the resume. All this happened because the clients trusted me and knew that I wouldn't waste their time by sending ‘a body to fill a seat'.
My great clients respected me and my referred candidates enough to prepare for interviews, not keep candidates waiting and, most importantly, fulfill their commitments in regard to ‘next step' processes and timelines.
I didn't mind recruiting for a ‘tough' client as long as they were consistent during the recruitment assignment and with the candidate after the candidate had commenced employment. I had a label for inconsistent tough clients - they were known as ex-clients.
No client starts out with all 8 of these characteristics, and very few end up with all 8, however the challenge I loved as a recruiter was to use my skills to ‘convert' the untamed client into a great client. What other characteristics do you look for in a great client?
About the Author
Ross started his professional recruitment career in London at the beginning of 1989. Since then he has worked in the UK and three cities across Australia. Ross now runs his own business as a recruitment speaker, trainer and coach, based in Melbourne, Australia. To read more articles on recruitment and to learn more about Ross's services please visit www.rossclennett.com
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