How to Position Yourself as a Search Consultant with Your Clients

You don’t want to be “just another recruiter” to your clients. You want to be a trusted advisor. You want to be viewed as a consultant. In fact, you want to be viewed as a search consultant.

There may not be a big difference in your mind between a recruiter and a search consultant. But what about in the minds of the hiring managers working at your clients? Or in the minds of the hiring managers working at organizations that are not yet your clients?

These are important questions to ask because how hiring managers view you ultimately dictates how they work with you. This encompasses all aspects of their interaction with you, from issuing job orders to communicating during the hiring process to negotiating with candidates.

A recruiter vs. a search consultant

During all of this—and more—you want those hiring managers to view you as a consultant to their organization. A hiring consultant. A search consultant.

In order to be viewed in such a fashion, you must emphasize the value that a search consultant can provide to organizations that need to hire. More than that, though, you must show the value that a search consultant can provide. That boils down to doing two things:

  1. Convincing a hiring manager that you can provide said value
  2. Actually providing that value to the hiring manager, and by extension, to the organization

More than likely, your clients have lawyers, correct? They probably also have accountants. That’s because they want to protect their legal interests, and they definitely want to protect their financial interests. But what about their personnel interests? More specifically, what about their hiring interests?

Who is protecting those?

Now, there are two ways that a company can go. First, it can choose to try to protect its hiring interests without any specialists. But once again, would an organization do that with its legal interests or its financial interests? Would company officials not consult lawyers or accountants regarding legal or financial questions? Probably not.

It could be argued that a company’s employees are its most valuable resource. After all, who contributes the most to the organization’s productivity and profit? In fact, it could be argued that without employees, legal and financial interests hold no importance. It is employees who make these interests viable in the first place.

The bottom line is that a search consultant can help a company achieve better hiring results in less time. That is the value that they can provide to an organization. But how does a search consultant accomplish that? In what ways do they provide that value?

Providing value as a search consultant

Below are six ways that a search consultant provides value to companies and helps those companies protect their personnel interests:

#1—They have relationships with top candidates.

Whereas hiring managers may not even know who they top candidates are, experienced and seasoned search consultants do. In fact, they not only know who these candidates are, but they also already have relationships with them. (They might even have placed them before.) This tremendously valuable, especially considering the current conditions that exist in the marketplace.

#2—They have knowledge of the employment marketplace.

Speaking of which, search consultants also know about the prevailing conditions and trends in the marketplace. They “have their pulse” on the hiring landscape and can apply that knowledge to the recruiting and hiring process of their clients. This allows them (and their clients) to be more strategic and ultimately more effective. (But as we all know, client education can be a Herculean task.)

#3—They have knowledge of the industry in which the employer operates.

This is similar to #2 on our list, only it applies to the industry and/or niche of the employer. There are also conditions and trends that exist within the industry and that can play a role in an organization’s hiring process (or affect it, at the very least). A search consultant can also use this knowledge to increase their clients’ chances for hiring success.

#4—They help with the negotiation stage of the process.

This is even more important in a candidates’ market like the one we’re experiencing. Hiring managers can’t expect candidates to accept every offer made or the first offer made. More than likely, there will be negotiation involved, both before and after the offer. This is where the experience and expertise of a search consultant can also help, increasing the odds that a candidate accepts an offer.

#5—They reduce the time it takes to fill the position.

Leaving an important position open for extended amount of time can be a costly proposition. This is especially the case if the reason that it’s being left open is because the company can’t find and successfully hire a suitable candidate. Not only can a search consultant help find suitable candidates, but they can assist the company in hiring them.

#6—They help with onboarding and retention.

It doesn’t matter if an organization hires great candidates if that organization is not able to retain those candidates for any appreciable length of time. This is what makes retention so crucial. Search consultants help with the onboarding of candidates after the hire, and if they are a Certified Employee Retention Specialist (CERS), they can provide even more expertise and assistance.

Don’t be “just another recruiter”

Once again, a recruiter must do two things to convince current clients (and potential new clients) that they can be trusted as a search consultant:

  1. Convince the hiring manager that you can provide the value outlined above.
  2. Actually provide that value to the hiring manager, and by extension, to the organization.

Everything revolves around value. Companies want to hire employees because of the value that those employees provide after they’re hired. By the same token, companies hire search consultants because of the value that those recruiters provide to the organization. They hire search consultants to protect their personnel interests in much the same way that lawyers protect legal interests and accountants protect financial interests.

Do you want to fill a job order and make a placement? Sure you do. But you also want to do more than just that. You should also want to provide consulting services to your base of clients. Consult with them about the employment marketplace. Consult with them about what’s happening within the industry. And consult with them about the best ways to identify, recruit, and hire top talent.

Then you won’t be “just another recruiter.”

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