Recruiters: What is your First Impression, to Clients?

Do you know what your first impression is on others?   When speaking with your clients what impression do you leave?   These are important to think about.

I believe first impressions are one of the keys to recruiting success.   Everyone we talk to has a problem that they want us to help them solve.    Clients have a job opening that needs filled and Job Seekers are looking for a new career path.    It is the first impression that they will remember.   This post is going to focus on the client aspect and relationship.   (Candidate post coming soon.)

If you are talking to a first time client, what is the impression you want to leave with them?    Are you listening to their problem?   All clients are not the same – do not treat them that way.   You have to listen to what they are actually saying.  Listen to the big overall problem as well as the smaller ones.  When I am talking to a new client, I want them to know that I am their partner and ally, their Trusted Advisor.   That I am the “Go-to-Guy” for their Recruiting issues.  They will know that I provided them with the best service, listened to and understand their issues and was up-front and honest with them regarding the process.

Hopefully, now they have decided to give you a try but they probably want to ”test you” with a harder to fill order before they start giving you most or all of their business.     This order is probably one that has been open for months, given to many other recruiters and is that “Purple Squirrel” type of position.  What do you do?

This is your chance to woo them.   The most important task to do here is to roll out the red carpet and treat them like they are your only client.    Contrary to conventional thinking, the MOST important issue is not whether you fill this order BUT how you treat them during this hiring process.    Let them know up front, what to expect from you and as a new client, what you expect from them.    Keep them in the loop the entire process.   Tell them what is difficult about this search and what potential matches you have found.  Don’t be afraid to give them the bad news as well as the good.  Make them feel at ease while working with you and make sure they feel that they are an intimate part of this process.   The new client should be involved throughout so they can start feeling comfortable with how you recruit.   As stated above, be their true Consultant and Trusted Advisor.  This is your one chance to put yourself in that category with them, versus just another staffing firm.

How you treat the first order is the factor they will use to give you more business, all of the little things do matter.

Think back, on your last new client.   What was your first impression, on them?  Now look at that person in the mirror and commit to being even better next time!!!

Views: 693

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 17, 2012 at 1:27pm

Thank you thank you thank you... as a corporate recruiter I get a lot of calls from agencies and I try to respond to everyone. I had 2 girls come in yesterday from an agency that we have a master agreement with. First meeting, and all I got was a couple of resumes for jobs we have posted - regardless of where we are at in the search or if we even need agency candidates. I asked if they had any questions for me (about anything) and the answer was NO. Guess who's not my new BFFs?


Simply put - master agreement or no I will NOT be calling either of these recruiters. They gave me no indication they were interested in any type of relationship with me as an individual and representative of my company.

Comment by Julia Briggs on May 18, 2012 at 7:33am

I like the fact that you focus on values......and the most important thing (assuming your values are worthwhile) is to stick to them and do what you say you will.  Out of everyone you deal with professionally - everyone - what percentage do what they say they are going to do and by when they said they would? And what percentage do what they were going to do and more and BEFORE they said they would?  Easy - under promise, over deliver.  Or even just promise and deliver and you will stand out from the crowd.

Comment by Laura Carpenter on May 18, 2012 at 8:31am

This is a good article and appreciate the comments as well.

Comment by Peter Keene on May 20, 2012 at 8:31pm

Good article with some great points.

I can recall asking the head oh HR for Polaroid Corporation in Boston what was important to him during our then recently completed SVP Asia Pacific Search. There were many nice comments however the overriding theme was that he knew we were making big efforts for our client. Long hours, frequent communication / updates irrespective of time zones etc etc. It was demonstrated to our client we respected and valued his time which also showed we respected him. Thinking ahead of what your client may want and always having validated clear opinions regarding candidate attributes, progress of the process will win you a lot of points. Clients rely on us to assist them stay on track and expect us to disagree when our opinions add value to the process. Present your ideas rationally with solid data so the client never ever feels they are being sold too. If you get that right you earn trust, respect and guess what - lots and lots of repeat business from someone who likes doing business with you.

Comment by Ben McGrath on May 21, 2012 at 6:19pm


Did you call the company and tell them how horrendous these girls were? From the sound of it they are potentially driving away more business than they are garnering.

Good article and some terrific comments....

All the best,



Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 22, 2012 at 9:34am
Hi Ben, if only it would have helped... :) many years ago I started my agency career with a division of that same firm. That's just how they are, sadly. They seem to think their name recognition is all they need.
Comment by Julia Briggs on May 22, 2012 at 9:43am

@Ben - this may sound harsh, but I am not sure that they deserved to be helped. Just let them and the firm carry on being horrendous and leave room for the good people who ask for feedback, want to help and are client focused.   Just a shame they wasted Amy's time.......

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 22, 2012 at 10:02am
@julia absolutely. The following day the small local firm no one outside of Seattle has ever heard of stopped by with coffee for me. They wanted to be there to greet the 4th contractor I've hired through them. Primarily clerical roles, but I've given them 4 searches- they've sent me 4 contractors- all hired. How did they do it? They stopped long enough to get to know me and my company. I am absolutely 1000% loyal to them for any administrative roles within their scope.


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