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The recruitment industry at times has a terrible reputation. I know this through feedback, stories and experiences from professionals at all levels across all industries.

You do find a section of people who value the search space and believe it adds to their network and professional infrastructure, but there is consistent feedback in relation to why a vast majority of people feel it’s a less than desirable industry. There are times when the industry is very transaction focused as well as having that feeling that it can be done by anyone, discounting its value.

These trends/stereotypes are perpetuated through a lack of response or reply to queries, emails and phone calls, a need to communicate when it’s only convenient for the search provider and a lack of core understanding relating to the candidates or clients core functional area or industry.

I work in an industry where we don’t make anything, nor do we own any physical assets that produce revenue. The customer (client or candidate) is everything. Customer service and relationships are everything. Finding partners is the key.

I can’t speak or comment on my competitors’ ability in this space but I would like to make some suggestions to both clients and candidates on how to get the best out of your search partner and the value that can be extracted from that relationship. This might also change the behavior of your search partner by following a few simple steps:

  • Share information, data, trends, outcomes, market IP – Sharing information (which can be shared and not classified) is what this space is all about. Gathering and connecting knowledge create opportunities for both clients and candidates.
  • As a client, staying in contact with your search partner gives you a greater chance of securing unique talent, specifically when you don’t have an open vacancy but know there is a change coming in your organization. Floating unique top talent to clients that I have strong relationships with only comes from having that connection.
  • I spend a considerable amount of time connecting with professionals in large and boutique management consulting firms. When a client has a potential need arise outside of talent like a spend analysis, strategy review or supplier audit as an example, having a search partner that is connected in the consulting world can connect you to effective solutions for real-time problems.
  • Building trust and a relationship with your search partner can help you as a candidate to develop your knowledge about opportunities at other search firms. I’ve often made candidates aware of other roles with different search providers when I know it’s a great role or opportunity that they’d be suitable for. This only comes from having two-wayo way relationship and wanting that candidate to be successful.
  • I do hear candidates complain that people in search or when applying directly to a client that there isn’t a response back or follow up. This does happen unfortunately but there is also those candidates who only engage and respond with search agents when they are looking for a role and it’s convenient for them. That type of transactional approach doesn’t create partners. Communication needs to flow both ways all the time.

Communication is a two way process not just when you need something as a candidate or client. Understand that in all facets of life and business, people like working and helping people they like. Mutual interest in each others success is the foundation for building partnerships in business and in search.