Headhunters (or executive recruiters) are trained to complete all facets of a search. For recruiters transitioning from corporate recruiting over to full cycle recruiting obtaining new business can be a stumbling block. Getting new clients or solo searches is not difficult once one knows the basics. Keep these 3 tips in mind as you enter conversations with potential clients.
1. Be selective
The real challenge when finding new business is to make sure the client meets your parameters of what a healthy working relationship entails. It’s important to define what you require and prefer to see in a client. When a job order conversation clearly reveals information that is incongruous with your values and definitions you can kindly reject the assignment. Not all companies are worthy of your time and expertise.
2. Qualify clients
Qualify clients the same way great recruiters qualify candidates and your hiring ratio will steadily increase. It’s easy to find companies with hard-to-fill vacancies. The trick is to find out about their internal decision-making process and management style. If you wouldn’t work for a company how can you place a candidate with them in good conscience?
There are no perfect companies and no perfect employees. Good matches are always a matter of degree. Don’t confuse a client willing to pay your fee with desirable business. Getting agreement on your fee is only one small hurdle. If someone offered you $25k to rob a bank hopefully it would be a no-brainer to turn the deal down. A rational professional would not risk going to prison for a paltry few bucks.
3. Reject sub-par client companies
Don’t feel guilty about backing away from unethical or dysfunctional clients. When a recruiter accepts such an assignment the result is a half-hearted effort or no effort to find such a client candidates. Recruiting requires systematic strategy and intelligent, consistent calling. It’s work! When we accept search assignments from clients we like and respect it’s easy to feel motivated and passionate about the work we perform on behalf of those clients.
As contingency fee recruiters we become our clients’ allies. We route for their success and share their excitement about accomplishing their goals. We become trusted advisors in many cases and establish long lasting, genuine relationships with hiring managers. While we may work behind the scenes headhunters often become an integral part of the hiring team.
Netflix created a no-sound video, which has reportedly accumulated 5 million views. They’ve defined a rare outlook and corporate management philosophy. What’s heartening to see is their ability to skirt meaningless platitudes and articulate both their values and how they implement those strategies. In my experience few companies have the capacity for this kind of clarity. While recruiters cannot expect most clients, even good clients to match this level of definition, the video provides a framework for which a recruiter can create questions of potential hiring managers.
When we interview candidates we gain a sixth sense of where to dig deeper into a candidate’s background. Headhunters are not fooled by generalizations and quickly see discrepancies between answers to similar questions. Take time to understand what potential clients will be like to work with and what the environment has in store for new hires.
The secret to increasing your personal sense of job satisfaction and reducing stress in your full cycle recruiting efforts is to work with companies and hiring managers you respect and like. Choose to work for clients who respect and value the service you provide. Maintain high standards and your self-respect will remain in tact. You’ll make more placements, more money, and control your career.