Why Did My Potential Client Disappear?

Hi everyone! So, I just started a new job in April with a GREAT firm. I am now responsible for working both sides of the desk. This is my first experience with client development, so I wanted some helpful tips. I met a director of HR for a local company at a professional networking event. She told me she was looking for a corporate recruiter that has experience specific to the industry she works in. Within a day, I found her an AMAZING candidate (name blocked out of course because at that point, there was no fee agreement in place). She picked up the phone and was excited about the resume I sent to her. I sent her the fee agreement and her interest level seemed to drop from 10 to 0. She said she forwarded the agreement to legal, then that was the last I heard from her. I'm wondering what I did wrong and how you all handle situations like these. It will be going on a week now and I don't want to lose my star candidate.Thank you in advance! 

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Comment by Jerry Albright on May 22, 2013 at 10:45am

Connect THEN Fee Discussion THEN Signed Fee Agreement THEN Recruit/Present - in that order, always and forever.

You are now in a position where the client might come back with "We can only pay a 10% fee." which then puts the "something is better than nothing" topic on the table - whereby you agree to provide the service (you already provided) at a significantly lower fee than the industry norm.....THEN when that candidate doesn't fit you'll be expected to continue delivering candidates at the lower fee.

NEVER (EVER) EVER send a candidate just to prove you can do it.  I wouldn't expect my local pizza shop to deliver a pizza just to prove they can - or any other company to show me they can do what they claim to.

Have I mentioned NEVER sending a candidate prior to having a signed fee agreement on file?

And the blind resume thing?  Nope.  It says "I think you might try to screw me - so since I think you might I'm taking the name off..." and a few other signals.

Comment by Cristina Lewis on May 22, 2013 at 12:53pm

Thanks so much for the great advice, everyone. Wow I think I really goofed this one up. Well, it was a great lesson learned. I learned a lot from this thread.

Comment by Christopher Perez on May 22, 2013 at 1:14pm

If you're in the game, you're going to get your nose bloodied now and then. You have a professional attitude about it and there's no shame in asking for advice. I have learned a lot from this crowd as well over the past few years. Good luck moving ahead.

Comment by Jeremy Spring on May 22, 2013 at 1:31pm

Not to worry.  One of my very first prospects as a recruiter did the same thing.  I was furious!  And sad. And confused.  And I doubted I had the intestinal fortitude to be successful in the business.  I even sent her a long tract detailing why she blew it by not engaging us on our services.  Only crickets in reply. So I begrudgingly slogged on.  Not kidding--six months later she called me from a different company.  She'd previously been let go the day my fee agreement went to legal.  Loyal customer ever since.  Luckily she never got my bleeding heart letter.  Play it close.  Play dumb.  Don't take it personally.  All will be fine. 

Comment by Jeremy Spring on May 22, 2013 at 1:37pm

Also (and I'll try to make this my final reply), I've never successfully completed a search with just one candidate.  The odds that the candidate you presented blindly would actually be "the one" are very unlikely.  So, it's not the end of the world if he/she decides to move on before you hear back.

Comment by Cristina Lewis on May 22, 2013 at 3:57pm

Thanks so much, Jeremy and Christopher. Just in the process of developing my thick skin with clients I suppose lol. I love that we have this site as a resource. It's GREAT. So much helpful advice and different ways of seeing things.

Comment by Will Thomson on May 23, 2013 at 12:30pm

This site is awesome for discussions like this.  I have enjoyed reading this thread.  There is such a wealth of knowledge from successful recruiting professionals.  BIG money makers in the business.  Great advice by all.  Christina, thanks for writing.  I think everyone can learn something from this thread.  I think RecruitingBlogs needs regular discussions like this.

Comment by Christopher Perez on May 23, 2013 at 1:00pm

Will, to your point, as long as RBC remains a trust-based community where people can bring up issues and get constructive criticism and input, I think this type of discussion will flourish. Of course, "constructive criticism" is open to interpretation and each member can apply his/her own unique style, but that's the beauty of this group!

Comment by Will Thomson on May 23, 2013 at 1:20pm

100% Agree Chris.  We all have a ton to learn from people like you, Jerry, Sandra and many, many others on this site.  

Comment by Cristina Lewis on May 23, 2013 at 7:32pm

I agree too! This is a great site with great input from all!

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