Fast Track Recruitment

Are relationships really that important?

Posted by Mitch on 14th December 2016


I hear a lot of recruiters talk about how important relationships are – especially client relationships.

When I ask them what this means in practical/behavioural terms, most only talk about it in vague/fuzzy terms. Reading between the lines, most seem to think it’s demonstrated by:

1. The client being friendly whenever they speak with them.
2. Always getting access to their vacancies – along with 5 or 6 other recruiters.

But are either of these things going to help you close more candidates?


No hiring manger ever made an offer to a candidate just because they liked the recruiter.

If this is how you define a successful client relationship, they’re in control, not you.

You’re just gleefully running around filling about 20-25% of that client’s jobs and by doing so, reinforcing the belief in their mind that your service is somewhat ad-hoc and difficult to predict.

Most meaningful business relationships are forged out of a process where a supplier is given work which they generally always deliver on. That’s how a supplier is able to engender respect from the client.

If an agency recruiter can’t propose an actual recruitment service they can deliver on every single time, then they’re doomed to never going anywhere other than in a circular direction.

Clients don’t like recruiters; partly because they don’t like having to fill jobs. That’s why there are so many recruitment agencies – it’s not because they provide a great service, it’s because everyone else hates doing recruitment.

If you’re new to recruitment and wish you’d read that last sentence before accepting the job offer – I’m sorry.

What I’m saying is that it’s going to be a long time before clients liking recruiters ever becomes a thing.

But they will respect recruiters who do what they say they’re going to do.

Think about it. You can’t like someone without first respecting them.

The only way I know of to make a recruiter/client relationship real is to offer a service where you’re the only recruiter they talk to.

That way, you’ll also be offering that client relief from the pain of having to pretend to like recruiters. See? Now everyone is getting an early win bonus.

Free mouse-pads, buying lunches, being a nice person – all of it a hamster wheel of pointlessness if you’re not able to show your best work because you’re always working on the same vacancies as 4 or 5 other agencies.

Still think your clients do business with you because they like you? Looking for a way of testing your relationship with one of them?

Leave them a voicemail when they don’t have any jobs to fill and see if they call you back.



By Tom on Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Spot on whilst being both simple yet insightful as ever.

By John Guest on Monday, 23 January 2017

“Leave them a voicemail when they don’t have any jobs to fill and see if they call you back” - I Love this idea as a test of a relationships strength!

I would add, Do they lead the conversation when taking a brief or do they let you help them build it?

By Semira Amiralai on Tuesday, 04 April 2017

A client once left the following message via voicemail: “Semira, that thing you did last time? Do it again. This time we need two.”  Never received a greater compliment.

Nor do I believe in the baits: coffees, lunches, etc. Rather: deliver. It’s a simple equation. How we deliver, however, is that key.

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