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Relationship Recruiting: Building REAL Relationships with Recruiting Clients

by | Jan 18, 2022 | Owner Issues

If you’re a professional recruiter or search consultant and a company gives you a search assignment, is that company now a client? The short answer is “No.” The reason: unless you have a relationship with the company (or with the hiring manager who works there), you do not have a new recruiting client.

And now for the long answer that explains the short answer. Just because a hiring manager gives you a search assignment, it does NOT mean that company is now one of your recruiting clients.

To help us explore this topic in more detail, we’re going to draw upon the experience and expertise of trainer and speaker Greg Doersching, President of Next Level Coaching.

Relationship recruiting factors to consider

According to Greg, there are multiple factors involved in such a situation. These factors include the following:

Factor #1—The quality of the search assignment

This illustrates perfectly why the mere existence of a search assignment does not also indicate the existence of a new recruiting client. What if the assignment is crappy? Then, by extension, the client could be crappy. Who wants a client like that? Not you, that’s for sure.

On the other hand, a quality search assignment is possibly an indication of a quality recruiting client. Just the possibility, mind you, not even the probability. The first step, of course, is to qualify the search assignment to make sure that it IS of high quality. When doing this, you will have a better idea of whether or not you want to work on the assignment. In addition, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you’ll want to work with the company moving forward.

Factor #2—That circumstances surrounding the search assignment

What circumstances are those? Namely, whether or not the assignment represents an exclusive search. If it does, then the chances that this company will turn into a recruiting client increases. If the hiring manager gave the same search assignment to five different agencies at the same time, then you might as well forget it.

When a hiring manager gives the same assignment to five different recruiting agencies, they’re not interested in building a relationship with a particular agency. They’re interested in pitting recruiters against each other in an attempt to source as many candidates as quickly as possible. Who knows? Perhaps they also have designs on attempting to get out of paying a recruiting fee even if they use one of the candidates presented. (“Oh, we already had that candidate in our database . . . sorry!”)

Factor #3—How the company acts during the search process

Even if the search assignment is a quality one and even if the search is an exclusive one, what if the company “drags its feet”? What if the hiring manager and other company officials don’t communicate and provide consistent feedback? What if, to put it bluntly, they don’t know what the heck they’re doing?

The answer is simple. This organization is wasting your time. And if the organization is wasting your time, do you really want it as a recruiting client? No, you do not.

When your time is wasted as an agency recruiter or search consultant, then you don’t make placements. And when you don’t make placements, the world becomes a dark, dark place.

Building relationships with recruiting clients takes time

According to Doersching, all agency recruiters and search consultants should be working to tell the difference between a search assignment and a true recruiting client. And the best way to do that is to build relationships with companies, especially those that pass out high-quality assignments.

In fact, it can take up to a year for a recruiter to build a solid relationship with a company and turn them into a client.

Greg Doersching of Next Level Coaching

Greg Doersching

“The single-most important thing you should do is take a group of special companies—companies you want to work with—and try to make them recruiting clients by the end of the year,” said Doersching. “It’s going to take at least the rest of the year to build a relationship with them.”

According to Doersching, some recruiters don’t spend enough time building relationships with company officials.

“They all want the low-hanging fruit,” said Doersching. “That’s the difference between taking a search assignment and having a true recruiting client. There are recruiters who will call two or three times, and then they stop calling, when it takes three times before the person on the other end of the line will even remember their name.”

In fact, you don’t even need to get a search assignment from a company before you can start the process of building a relationship with one. If there is a company within your industry or niche that you know is a major player and you want to work with that organization, Doersching advocates making a concerted effort to target it with relationship recruiting calls.

In fact, Doersching once called into a company for five years before landing his first search assignment with that organization.

“I would call every two and a half months, about five or six times a year,” he said. “Eventually, the hiring manager called me back and said, ‘We think we need you.’ I’ve placed a ton of people with them. Ultimately, it’s about doing what’s smart instead of what’s easy.”

How many times do YOU call into a company before you stop? A few months? A few years? Five years? Do you stop—ever?

When you receive a search assignment from a company, is it just a single assignment from a company? Or is it one of many assignments from a true recruiting client?

Relationship recruiting through training and recruiting software

Client relationship management (CRM) is critical for professional recruiters and search consultants. The health of your agency is predicated upon the number and nature of your relationships with recruiting clients. And Top Echelon can help you build and maintain those relationships, both with our online training program and our recruiting software system.

First, Top Echelon offers an extensive library of recruiter training videos. These videos are recorded versions of Top Echelon’s Expert Recruiter Coaching Series of webinars. Our webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics, including building relationships with recruiting clients. Our goal with these webinars (and corresponding training videos) is to help professional recruiters and search consultants make more placements.

Greg Doersching is one of the most prolific contributors to the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Library. Below are just two of the videos associated with his sessions:

We invite you to access the rest of Greg’s training videos, as well as our entire catalog of free online recruitment training courses.

Second, Top Echelon offers an ATS and recruitment CRM that can help you build relationships with both candidates and recruiting clients and save time in the process. And right now, you can try our top applicant tracking software FREE for 15 days. You do not need a credit card to start your trial and there is no obligation.

But you don’t have to start a free trial to see our top ATS. You can request a live demo of Top Echelon’s recruitment software and see all of the recruiting tools, features, and functionality that it offers. We will be more than happy to show you the software and answer your questions!

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