Recruiter – Client Relationship: Communication is the Key to a Successful Engagement

It really is “All About the People”

by Jeff Herzog, President

Recently, I posed the following question to my network on LinkedIn:

? A question to ask you all — what’s one piece of advice you’d give to a business that’s engaging an executive recruitment agency, to help them ensure the relationship is really successful and that an outstanding hire is ultimately made?

My purpose in asking the question was to tap into the knowledge and experience of recruiting professionals to build a checklist for a successful relationship between an executive search firm and a client. While I had expected many insightful comments, I did not anticipate such an overwhelming response from recruiters, HR professionals, and executives all across the nation.

In this article, I share with you common themes, based upon comments to my post.

True Partnerships

Not surprisingly, many respondents emphasized the importance of cultivating a true partnership between the executive recruiting agency and the company. I couldn’t agree more. At FPC National, we advocate for forming long-term, close partnerships with clients.

Our engagements are strategic, rather than tactical, in that we aim to develop solutions that address clients’ workforce objectives, gaps, and challenges. To ensure success, it’s essential that executive recruiters take the time to fully understand the client’s business models, workforce dynamics, and organizational cultures.

As David Singer of FPC at Raleigh wrote:
“View your executive recruiter as a strategic partner that’s mutually committed to a successful search.”

Gregg David, Training & Operations Consultant at FPC Worldwide, voiced a similar priority when describing what’s important in a recruiter-client relationship:
“To see us as true partners helping them fill their openings in the placement process.”

In executive recruiting, the concept of partnership building is critical, because it focuses on relationships, rather than on transactions. At FPC franchises across the country, recruiters focus on more than just finding the perfect fit for key positions; they are committed to helping clients achieve their core business objectives.

This sentiment is apparent in the comment of Cat Vasarhely, Recruitment Director at FPC of Savannah:
“View us and treat us as your business partner. We are invested in your success, too!”

Stuart Hazell, Global Employer Branding, Talent Attraction and Recruitment Marketing Leader at IBM, emphasized partnerships as well. He wrote:
“… Being open and transparent about what hasn’t worked before in terms of experience, leadership traits, skills etc and hearing about candidates the agency have placed in similar positions that have gone on to be success is crucial so it’s a true partnership.”

Recruiters need to understand that companies view them as trusted advisors. The more the recruiter focuses on building trust and cooperative relationships, the better the results will be.

Open Communication

Many recruiters also commented on the importance of open, honest, and timely communication. This is essential in all phases of the recruiting process, from initial requirement analysis through candidate screening and final placement. The key to a successful engagement is that all parties involved are accessible, share information freely, provide consistent updates and timely feedback, and respond to inquiries promptly.

Ilene Cagan, Director of Research at FPC of Raleigh, stated her top priority when working with a client:
“Consistent and timely feedback regarding candidates and the hiring process.”

Stephen Lang, MBA, CPSM, President of FPC Greenville, put it this way:
“Provide quick feedback on candidates submitted. It’s currently a candidate’s market and good talent that is ready to move to a new role is becoming harder to keep engaged unless it’s a tighter timeline”

Clarity and transparency go a long way in achieving success when it comes to the placement of executives. It’s easy for the engagement to grind to a halt when there are delays in communication. Recruiters need timely feedback on the candidates they submit for consideration, and candidates need to know where they stand throughout the evaluation process.

When recruiters, clients, and candidates communicate openly, honestly, and in a timely manner, the placement process can go smoothly from start to finish. It’s the responsibility of all parties involved to do their part to keep channels open.

Our Motto

No matter how busy we get or how focused we are on meeting our goals, we can never forget what’s truly important in our industry: It’s all about the people. At FPC, this has been the sentiment that drives all of our actions and engagements. We recognize that behind every job requisition is an executive whose job depends on finding just the right fit for her department; and behind every resume is a real person whose career depends on being placed in the right role.

Recruiters have the opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of others. They should never forget this awesome responsibility.

As Johanna Schroeder, Recruiting Director, Executive Search at F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultants of Houston, wrote:
“Be honest about the intangible needs of the group and challenges of the job: resumes are 2 dimensional, but people aren’t.”

To bring the point home, I will leave you with a comment by Martijn Smit, Creative Strategy Director at Adver-Online:
“Bring love to the table. Love for your candidate, love for the employer, love for the requirement, love for your industry, and the company. Tech can help and should help but on this level passion and authenticity makes you the best recruiter for the job.”

Do you have something to add to the discussion? I’d love to know your thoughts. Feel free to comment to the LinkedIn post here:

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Jeff Herzog

Jeff Herzog