Having crossed over enemy lines, I see both sides of the recruiting game with much more clarity than before. I liken it to being in a smoke-filled room, with a strobe light and all the sudden, the house lights come on and everything looks much different than before. All the strange and wonderful people that were on the dance floor suddenly become much more average. The atmosphere has changed from one of mystery and darkness to one of clear light and reality.
In my previous life as a TPR, I cursed HR - I even went so far as to call them BKs (for Buzz-Killers.) I truly thought they were out to get me - they were sitting back in their cushy offices, drinking lattes and laughing at all the hoops they were making me jump through. I hated most HR people. So, what did I do? I was more assertive than many people probably liked. I pushed. I resorted to what some might call, professional stalking. I would call first thing in the morning - no answer - I'd leave a semi-pleasant message. I'd follow up with an email. If I didn't hear back by noon, I'd be calling back and leaving a bit more terse message, followed up by an equally terse email. If I still didn't get an answer, I kept going until finally I would get the frustrated call-back and/or email correspondence. No, I am not proud of it, but as a TPR, I was forced to become the most annoying pest imaginable, the gnat buzzing around your head that just won't go away.
Looking back on that now, I would have hated me if I were my client. I seriously would have wanted to bust my own face in with a post-it-pop-up-holder. I now understand why some clients were a little put off by my, er, how can I put this: persuasive nature?
The best way to manage your client is to set expectations up front. Ask them how often they would like to be called. Ask them when the best time to reach them will be. Keep them posted on a consistent basis without making them feel like you are pushing a deadline on them. Ask them if they are serious about using your services. If the answer to the last question is at all uncertain, cut and run.
Sometimes we HR folks simply don't have a need or don't have the budget to use at TPR. It's not that we just don't like you, but we really don't need your help right now. We've got it covered. I know most TPR's feel that HR people are glorified administrative assistants that couldn't recruit their way out of a paperbag - but here's a news flash: we're not all like that. Some of us actually know what we are doing, some of us really do have a great network of candidates and some of us really enjoy the thrill of the hunt, just like you do. We're not all alike just like you all aren't all blood-sucking, flesh peddlers, only concerned about your commission right?
Cut us a break every once in a while. We are dealing with internal hiring managers that drive us crazy too. We are begging for feedback just like you are. We want these searches to close as quick as possible too. What we don't want is you talking smack about us making that rift between TPR and HR Manager even larger. I know there is a way that we can all get along, just don't interrupt my latte time, ok?