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Recruiters, choose your clients. Don’t let them choose you.

If there was ever a time to get wildly overconfident about your recruiting business, it’s now.

Recruiters, choose your clients. Don’t let them choose you.
[Alex / Adobe Stock]

When you own a recruitment agency, it’s easy to get caught up in the narrative that your life is a constant hustle to find clients and win them over. But don’t forget a crucial truth: your clients need you just as much as you need them—maybe even more. Firms desperately need to find the right talent to fill their vacancies, and in the current climate, where workers are resigning faster than companies can replace them, that’s truer than ever.

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However, it can be tough to internalize this concept if it’s new to you. Here are a few ways to shift your thinking and attract clients to your recruitment agency on autopilot.

QUALIFY YOUR CLIENTS

Following the logic above, most of us focus on qualifying ourselves to work for clients. We ask ourselves questions like:

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Do I have enough experience?

Will they think I come across as capable enough?

Can I provide them with the value they’re after?

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Instead, try to frame the process around whether they’re a good fit for your services. This isn’t even about the numbers and whether they can afford you—it’s more about whether your experience is the right match for the kind of organization they are. Maybe they don’t even know what they’re looking for and the value isn’t there.

This is a mindset shift that changes everything. Make your prospects want to work with you, but remind yourself that if it’s not a fit, you don’t need their business.

SHOW THAT YOU’RE THE EXPERT

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When you’re speaking to a potential client for the first time, you’re going to need to figure out what exactly they need from you and how you can help them. But a simple reframe can change the dynamic of the conversation. Use this opportunity to show off your expertise.

For instance, you could determine the cost of open role vacancies, how long they’ve been trying to fill them, what they’ve been using for recruiting techniques, and what they want from candidates.

This practice achieves a similar outcome as the strategy of qualifying your clients we examined above. By demonstrating how much knowledge you have, you’re proving that you’re the one with the upper hand here. Your knowledge makes you valuable, and agreeing to allocate some of your limited time to a client is an honor.

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IT’S A TWO-WAY STREET

Considering you work in recruiting, you’ve probably heard the classic interview advice that candidates should consider themselves to be interviewing a potential employer as much as they’re being interviewed.

The same thing is true of the relationship between a business owner and their clients. It might seem like you have to bend over backward to do whatever your client wants since they’re paying you, but remember, especially in the current climate, you could just as easily replace them with a different, paying client. After all, you’re providing a valuable service.

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Choose your clients instead of letting them choose you.

DETERMINE WHETHER A CLIENT WILL BRING VALUE

Fortunately, I’ve got some tips to help you pick the right clients. Many people think it’s all about who can bring you the most money, and this is certainly a factor—but it’s not the only factor. There’s also:

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  • Repeat business
  • Referrals
  • Ease or speed
  • Fit with your experience

One client might seem more valuable on the surface, but if you need to put in many more hours of work to earn those extra dollars, it might not be worth it.

BELIEVE IN THE VALUE YOU BRING

If there was ever a time to get wildly overconfident about your recruiting business, it’s now. The recruiting landscape hasn’t been this good for a long time, so it’s perfectly reasonable for you to be selective about who you work with and look for the best partners.

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Don’t give all that power up by bending to every will of a client you don’t even want to work with but are too scared to let go.

Trust me—a few months from now, you’ll be looking at the checks rolling into your bank account and wondering why you ever questioned this advice.


Ben Nader, Founder of Recruiter Empire
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