From Today's RBC Daily:

Today a question for the agency side of the house - have you ever fired a client? In running a successful desk we need quality clients as much as candidates, but what would cause you to say enough is enough? It is lack of communication, lack of respect for your efforts or perhaps a personality clash?    

Question of the Day: What would prompt you to fire a client?

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In the contingency space I think it boils down to a few  things - Communication / regular access to the hiring managers and fairness. You need that constant context and feedback loop with the hiring managers as well as HR. Also if you arent being given a very fair chance at ROI due to too many other recruiters in the mix and you experience a lot of tripping over other recruiters while reaching out to candidates that is a sign that your client appreciates quantity more than quality and you might be better focusing elsewhere.

I think far more recruiters should fire far more clients than they do.  I have worked on both sides and reckon I was always a good client with a clear brief that was signed off, very fast turnaround and detailed feedback.  And tried to limit the agencies I used. However, I still had an awful lot of bad experience with agencies..  But if I came across a good consultant, I stuck with them, they got first choice and run at an opportunity, and loads of feedback. So if you are a good recruiter and any of your clients are not treating you with the respect you have earned, let them go.  There are so few good recruiters that eventually you will be able to take your pick, if you are prepared to take a short term hit.  And bad clients stop you focusing on delivery.

On the topic of access to hiring managers -  if you have a great lead resourcer internally, count your blessings as they will take the pain away.  Hiring managers are 90% of the client problem. And don't try and go behind the resourcer's backs. EVER. Even if you are pitching for business and can't get past them.  The 'decision-maker' will always give it back to a good internal person to deal with and they will blacklist you. Sorry.

1 Second (or more) late on payment.

LOL,  I'd have no clients.  

Brian K. Johnston said:

1 Second (or more) late on payment.

I

@Taylor #2 is all you need to move on.  No hiring manager, no shirtee.

  I don't really fire clients, I just tell them straight what the issues are.  If I can't evangelize the company because I can't understand the product, that's a big one for me.  But that's more at the outset.  I'v had cases where I find that the company has a bad reputation, I let them know and see if they are willing to work on it.  If not, hasta la vista.  

When the extent they lie to or mislead you has greater cost associated with the risk than the commercial benefit of continued supply... Can be a very painful and difficult decision.

I fired one big client because two of their tops execs were drunks and verbally abusive causing 118% employee turnover. I could no longer send people into the den of iniquity in good conscience. Didn't actually say you are fired just told them when they called that I didn't think we could find what they were looking for. We would check but suggested they contact a temp agency and do temp to perm since they were having such high turnover. We don't do temps so we just went away.

Fired another one because I got tired of the internal recruiters sand bagging candidates while they were determined to fill jobs on their own. After one particularly obnoxious email from an internal who referred to herself as a "recruiting professional" because she had placed temps for Snelling who had sat on a physician cv for three weeks because she didn't think the write up was "robust" enough" I forwarded her email to the candidate. He came bck and said , "withdraw me, I don't have time to play "robust" games with insecure little twits. I forwarded his email to the HR director, called the HR director and told her that I felt exactly like Dr. X, I would be happy to work directly with her or with the medical director but no more with ms. "robust". I went radio silent for six months. They called begging for a top EA for the CEO who spoke three languages. I took the job based on no resumes being sent to the "robust crew" who had been working on the spot for two months. We presented a candidate who was interviewed, hired and started to work in ten days. I asked if that were robust enough. HR has listed other positions with us but the agreement always states that no resumes will go through the internal bimbo brigade. If my intelligence and the intelligence of my candidates are insulted by some bimbo I do not belong there. They are fired and I'm off to find another client who does not let bimbos flex their ego's on their hiring process.

If the client takes a ridiculously long time to give feedback, let's say a month then that is their first strike. If the client tells me they need XYZ urgently and then it turns out they were just "fishing" for CVs to support a tender then that is strike 2. If they drop the salaries on offer and/or try to negotiate on tmy fee then I would fire them. It seems to me I would be better off spending another hour or so on business development than becoming tired and frustrated with a non-productive client. I try to lay out what I expect from my clients when I first approach them and also send them weekly updates which normally encourage them to correspond!! The biggest clients are not always the best in my experience.

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