Recruitment Criteria for Doing Business as a Search Consultant

As a recruiter, you need many things to be successful.

In fact, here are some recruitment skills, competencies, and qualifications for success.

Oh, wait. Here are 21 skills, qualities, and habits for how to become a great recruiter.

But we’re not going to talk about any of that stuff in this blog post. That’s because we talked about that stuff in the other blog posts, the ones that I just referenced. Also, we’re talking about something else in this particular blog post: recruitment criteria.

Recruitment criteria: a definition

Okay, I’ll admit. The way in which we’ll be discussing recruitment criteria isn’t exactly the way other people might discuss it. So let’s keep that in mind as we define the term. We know full well that you may not be an independent, third-party recruiter or agency owner. You might be an inside recruiter or a corporate recruiter. You might be a hiring manager or a Human Resources representative.

Since that’s the case, recruitment criteria is a set of criteria used during the hiring process of employer to determine the best methods for assessing the possible match between a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and experience and what is required for the position that the employer wishes to fill. This criteria can involve everything in the recruitment process, from the personnel involved, the background checks, any testing that’s involved, and miscellaneous talent evaluation methods.

That’s all fine and good, and it makes total sense. However, for the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to address a different kind of recruitment criteria. Specifically, we’re going to address the criteria by which search consultants decide whether or not to work with a particular company or organization.

Let’s face it: not all recruiters can work with all companies. And I’m not just talking about industries and niches. Of course a Healthcare recruiter is not going to be able to help a Food & Beverage employer find candidates for its open positions. But even with the Food & Beverage industry, there are search consultants who should not be working with certain employers.

The role of personal preference and personalities

Sure, personal preference plays a role. Perhaps the recruiters or search consultant simply does not like the hiring manager or HR representative. (And all the hiring managers and HR representatives in the audience said, “And vice-versa!”) However, there are other recruitment criteria that should be used when viewing the issue from this perspective, criteria that has nothing to do with personal preference or the clash of personalities.

That’s because, all preferences and personalities aside, there are some companies and organizations that simply do not work that well with independent, third-party recruiting agencies. Their processes are not conducive to working with one, or perhaps they have no experience doing so. Perhaps the management of the organization does not like the idea of paying a recruiting fee. Executives do think these things, after all.

So now that we’ve “peeled back the layers” of this issue, so to speak, which recruitment criteria are the most important? Which things should recruiters and search consultants consider before making the decision to conduct business with a client or potential client?

To help us answer these questions, we’re going to we’re going to draw upon the wisdom Terry Petra, one of the recruiting industry’s leading trainers and business consultants. Petra has extensive experience as a producer, manager, and trainer in all areas of professional search, including retainer, contingency, and contract, as well as clerical/office support and temporary.

So . . . what criteria must be met before you consider doing business with a client? According to Petra, in any economy, accepting business that has not been properly measured against an established set of realistic recruitment criteria is inviting a misappropriation of your firm’s limited resources.

Remember:

Most firms do not suffer from an absence of resources. Rather, they suffer from a lack of focus for those resources.


Every company, in order to be successful, must have in place a set of criteria against which they judge the business opportunities that are available to them. Only in this manner can they properly focus their resources. Experienced business professionals understand this reality. As staffing industry professionals, we should, as well.

Recruitment criteria for doing business

Therefore, consider utilizing the following criteria as a guide for doing business with your clients:

#1—Measure the client’s sense of urgency about receiving the recruiting solutions you can provide.

This is the most important criteria. The reason: typically, the higher the client’s sense of urgency, the higher their level of cooperation and flexibility.

#2—Measure the value the client places on the recruiting solutions that can be provided by your firm.

This has a direct impact on your fees and/or bill rates.  The cost of your service is always linked in the client’s mind to their estimation of the value received (whether perceived or real).

#3—Determine whether or not you will be working with the client’s key decision makers and measure the decision makers’ attitude about receiving your services.

While a positive attitude on the part of a decision maker can go a long way toward ensuring positive results, correspondingly, a bad attitude may compromise the outcome.

#4—Measure the nature and scope of the process that will be followed in providing your services, including the level of competition, both internal and external.

Commitment from all parties to following an appropriate process can help ensure a positive outcome that exceeds expectations.

By following these four criteria for doing business, you can improve your quality ratios, increase client share, and when reviewed with prospects during the sales process, help position you as a business equal.

However, these criteria must be properly quantified and qualified. In addition, you and your staff must be trained on how to effectively utilize them for maximum results.

Top Echelon Recruiter Training Library

Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library. These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.

In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers other recruitment solutions. These solutions include the following:

For more information about Top Echelon and the products and services that it offers, visit the Top Echelon website by clicking here.

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