Managing Consultants and CatsA lot of the online recruiting tricks and tips target the day to day of recruiting; finding and placing your rockstar candidate.  But what about the weeks and months after?  If you spend any of your time in the temp recruiting and staffing industry world, you know that your hard work doesn’t stop there.  In fact sometimes, that’s where the real work truly begins.

Managing consultants once they’re put to work is just as challenging (if not more so) than finding and placing them in the first place.  In a perfect world (wonderful recruiters that we are) we hook our fantastic, grateful candidate up with an awesome new position. The candidate is happy, the manager is thrilled and everyone lives happily ever after.  But sometimes in the temp staffing world, we place the candidate who can get the job done and done right…whether or not that candidate is swooning with gratitude.  So how do you manage a prickly candidate who is difficult to work with?  Here are some tips that might help:

  • Manage Expectations:  While we sometimes have to place ‘difficult’ candidates to get our clients’ projects and deadlines on track, we should always be up front with the Hiring Manager.  While you don’t have to tell your client that the candidate is the worst, most antagonistic person you’ve ever worked with, you do need to tell them that he is not there for his personality.  When you’re selling a problem candidate to a client, be honest.  Let them know that this is the person that’s going to save their project, their deadline or their budget, but he’s going to lose most popularity contests right out of the gate.  As long as the client understands the circumstances, you should be fine.
  • Communication: Keeping the lines of communication open on both sides is key.  Most bad situations can be fixed easily and quickly if you catch them early enough.  Even though you already spoke to your client about the ‘difficult’ candidate, you still need to check in with the Manager often to make sure tensions aren’t building under your nose.  The same goes for your consultant…I mean, they’re the difficult ones, right?  They need even more attention than your client.  So do make sure that you set some time aside each week to check in with your consultant.  If possible, some of those touch point visits should be in person, but checking in via email or phone regularly can help you pinpoint brewing problems before they’ve come to the surface in a painfully public way.
  • Delegate: If you’re lucky enough to be in a position where someone else handles your payroll, your back office or Administrative issues, leverage that! Recruiters by nature are busy folks, but we’re also pretty possessive of our candidates and clients.  If a candidate comes to us with a problem, we sometimes like to jump in and deal with it ourselves.  If you can avoid this, avoid it!  Managing a consultant is one thing, but always keep in mind, your time is valuable and you need to spend it moving forward. If you find yourself getting mired in daily complaints from your consultant, try as best you can to point them to the right person (not you).

By the time you have built up a large book of consulting and staffing business, it’s almost like you are running your own company. You can expect personnel issues, politics, client problems, uncompleted work, etc… The headaches are endless, but if you manage consultants effectively, temp or consulting business can scale incredibly well.


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