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?
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.
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I am actually going to have the "You're Fired" conversation this afternoon with a (new) client....
1. The job requirements they are asking for have changed at least 5times in the 2 months (yes - open for 2 months, should have been my first warning sign - but with new clients you always chose to overlook the obvious) ... "no startup exp is required. startup experience is required. software a MUST. software not that important. someone young in their career but someone old enough to know everything" (paraphrasing here).
2. HR will not allow me to have contact with the Hiring Manager - even though the HM is the one that hired me in the first place. And the few times I have tried, I have gotten the "talk".
3. Heres the kicker - HR actually slipped and told me that the CEO has her "favorite" agency so all others will be held at a "higher" standard - sorry, what?
If I wait around for any more reasons to fire - i'll have to consider firing myself instead for being so STUPID to let this client run me ragged the way they have tried.
I am better off spending my time focusing on NEW business then wasting it running around in circles getting nowhere we these guys!
LOL, I'd have no clients.
Brian K. Johnston said:
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@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.
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.