Agency recruiters are essentially client-focused sales people. While we may not be going out and pounding the pavement to develop business, we are still striving to service our clients. In this business, keeping clients happy and making placements is the order of the day. But what do you do when you run into bad clients or bad job orders? Can you afford to walk away?
The truth of the matter is that these days business is harder to come by than it once was. Career recruiters are being forced to adjust to a slower market with fewer opportunities for success and lower margins. So in a world of declining dollars, unsteady futures and evolving careers, is it ever okay to walk away from a client? The answer is a resounding yes.
In Recruiting we strive to keep our clients happy. After all, repeat business and referrals are life blood to all good Recruiters. But sometimes clients just aren’t worth the time. So when is it okay to walk away?
Unrealistic Expectations: Ever have a client looking for something you know isn’t out there? Or maybe they want to hire someone for a good 20K under market? I know I have. In these situations the first step is always educating the client. You need to take the time to sit down and have an honest discussion of what the client really needs and what you can realistically provide. Sometimes this risks the business…often actually. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client tell me that they’re going to see what they can find with another Agency…only to come back to me 6 weeks later still striking out. If you can actually amend your client’s expectations, then the business is a go. But if the expectations are unrealistic and the Manager is immovable, it is best that you explain that you don’t want to make false promises and move on.
Time Drains: Ever run around doing a search, find a great candidate only to never hear back from the Manager? Or maybe you do hear back, a couple of weeks later? How frustrating is that? Working in recruiting can be an exercise in frustration much of the time and if you find yourself running in circles with a client that’s not worth it, you need to make a break. Unfortunately, if the position is realistic and possible to fill, it’s tough to walk away. You know you can fill the job and make a good commission, but if the client isn’t cooperating, you’re wasting your time. Taking an honest look at a client and deciding whether or not things are going to move forward is key to success in recruiting. Letting clients drain your valuable time without any return on investment is a quick way to the bottom. So cut your losses and move on to the next one.
Abusive Clients: Taking abuse from a client is never okay. Let me repeat; it is never okay. If you’re working with a client that degrades you, doesn’t partner with you, and blames you for each and every failure then you move on, bottom line. Never degrade yourself or your professionalism by working with someone that abuses or disrespects you. First of all, it’s unhealthy and second of all, a beat down down Recruiter isn’t a successful one. Part of what keeps us active and productive in this business is positivity and a certain amount of swagger. If you’re letting yourself get demeaned or even getting yelled at, take a deep breath and hang up the phone. You are not desperate for business and getting abused is not your job.
Recruiting is a tough business and working in a shrinking economy can sometimes make people feel like they need business. But at the end of the day, your recruiting success is tied into your time and your attitude. If someone is stealing either, you need to move on and respect yourself, your time, and your efforts. Good luck!