An Open Letter to (*Some of) My Clients…
Dear Mr Client,
Believe me, I understand it is a tough market out there. I also understand that you are under immense pressure to cut costs where you can. At the same time I recognise your need to grow your team and to improve productivity – and profitability. It’s a competitive market, and increasing market share is what you are being measured on – both internally and externally. I empathise with your challenges and grasp the fact that your competing pressures keep you up at night…
What I don’t understand is the way you are treating me… It is not your concern, nor is it your responsibility that I am facing similar pressures and stress… But I will tell you one thing. I respect your business. I respect what you need to achieve and mostly, I respect that you are good… no very good at your role… It is just a shame… no a damn shame that you don’t afford me the same respect.
I… we… in the Recruitment Industry work our butts off for you. Long hours… abusive phone calls and emails… candidates who don’t show up… sometimes we are teacher… sometimes counsellor… sometimes sympathiser… and sometimes a giver of the toughest love on the planet… Point is… if you let me… I could be the best friend your business has.
I know where the best talent for your business is. I know what your competitors are doing. I know what attracts and keeps the best employees in your market.
Sure you have LinkedIn… sure you have a whiz bang CRM and a ‘sh&t hot’ referral program… but you know what? I could buy myself a top of the range sidchrome spanner & socket set, a torque wrench and a shiny new non-contact IR thermometer, but it still doesn’t make me a God Damn Mechanic!
I speak to business owners in your market every day. And everyone is telling me that they need to manage costs. I get it… I really do. But at what cost to your own business? As business owners and managers isn’t one of your best skills actually developing your business? Using your network and experience to drive new clients and organically grow existing ones?
Top line revenue growth is surely a KPI you have set for yourself… So let me ask you one more question… How much time that you could be focusing on growth activities is being wasted by you on recruitment activities? Put simply… what are you being paid per hour? And how many hours do you spend on recruiting activities a month? Then multiply that by at least 6… don’t forget that this is time you should be focusing on revenue driving. (And I know I said 1 more question… and that quickly became 3… but I’m sure you find that when you commit to 1 hour on recruitment activities it quickly becomes 3… or 4… or 8…).
But let me get back to my main point Mr Client. It is time that you respected me for what I can do for your business. And do you know what? Below I’m gong to give you a couple of pointers on how to get the most out of your relationship… I like that word… relationship… with your recruiter.
- Thorough Job Spec – If you don’t take the time to fully brief your recruitment partner, then don’t expect them to get it right. Simple.
- Contingent is Crap – For both parties. Do you really… really… expect a recruiter to work as hard for you as they would if the role is exclusive? Or, better yet retained? Well, if you do you are kidding yourself. Don’t forget… if you set up 3, 4 or 6 recruiters in competition with each other… and then haggled on fee… do you really believe that you will get 100% commitment from a recruiter that has a 1 in 3, 4 or 6 chance of getting paid at all – and then at a reduced fee? Please have a little bit more respect.
- Be Fair & be Honest – There is nothing I hate more than a client who tries to ‘re-negotiate- at the back end… ‘I’d really like to take your candidate, but you fee means I can’t. Is there something we can do about that?’ Pathetic! If you want to negotiate, respect the recruiter and candidate enough to do it up front. Bringing in hidden deal breakers at the end of a process is weak, dishonest and speaks directly to your culture.
- Engage the Candidate – If I had a dollar for every candidate who has pulled out of a process because the interviewer was dis-engaging… I would buy a Pub… no really… I would buy a Pub. Anyway, for God’s sake… If you are going to take the time to meet with a candidate… be excited… sell your business… make them want to join you. It doesn’t mean you have to offer!
- Be Transparent with me! – Mr Client, I am working for you. Have the decency, the professionalism and the moral fibre to work with me. If things change… let me know. If you are progressing with another candidate, or looking to promote internally… tell me. And, if you want me to get the ‘right fit’. Invite me into your business, so I can understand it… It’s not brain surgery…
Anyway, Mr Client… thanks for listening. I know I may have cut a little ‘close to the bone’ but all of this will help us work better together in the future.
And… If I have upset you to the point that you won’t work with me again… please… please…please keep this letter… and read it each and every time you partner with a recruiter… at the very least they deserve that.