Managing client and candidate


Does your job make you feel like you’re constantly being pulled in two directions; trying to keep everyone happy?

Well, console yourself with the fact that many recruiters feel the same. The nature of the job means that you’re forever trying to meet the requirements of both the client and candidate. Unfortunately, it’s a fine balance that can leave you in danger of alienating one or both parties.

As you’re only too aware, to build a successful business you need to forge long-term relationships with satisfied clients and a stable of strong candidates who build their careers through you. And to do that, you need to ensure both sides are happy with the service you provide.

Your problem is that they have separate agendas – but it’s a problem that can be managed.

The issues

Clients want you to find them a fabulous new employee who has the right skills, is a perfect cultural fit and isn’t demanding an unrealistic mega-bucks salary package. Candidates want you to place them with a great employer, in a job with career prospects, good working conditions and better than fair remuneration.

So, one of the greatest areas of standoff is likely to be the pay package. Unfortunately, if there’s a sticking point, you’re likely to be the one getting flack and potentially having to start the whole recruitment process again from scratch.


The solutions

It’s simple … how easily you can manage the situation at the end of the process depends on how well you manage expectations at the beginning.

So, explain to the client at the start that you’re confident of meeting all their requirements, but temper it with realism. It’s always better to under promise and over-deliver.

You can further protect yourself from any later recriminations by keeping track of your dealings with both sides throughout the process. Make notes about candidates’ interviews, CVs sent, shortlists, rejections, withdrawals, job-offers and placements.  The same goes for client comments. Jot down notes on conversations, interview results, meetings and messages.

If you’re worth your salt you’ll make sure you understand your client’s business, so you can predict their needs. Keep their trust by regularly updating them on progress via email or phone and make sure they know you are putting in extra hours and prioritising their vacancy.  If you show your client you’re constantly pulling out the stops they will be more forgiving if there are problems down the line.

Candidates also need constant communication and – while not being cringe-makingly cheerful – you need to be upbeat and available no matter how busy you are. It’s also important to treat them and their needs with as much respect as you treat the paying client. Remember, they might be a client one day.

The key is to manage expectations on both sides, which is achieved by doing plenty of homework on comparable salaries, the company’s profile, the candidate’s potential and the job role.

The outcome

If you follow the above advice, then when it comes to negotiating the salary package, you will fully understand the needs and capabilities of both sides.

If negotiations do get tricky, make sure you stick to facts and objective reasoning. Experts warn that discussions should never deteriorate into personal comments.

At the end of the day, no matter how demanding your client is, nor how uncompromising your candidate, if you make sure you’re organised and informed, you can keep everyone happy … most of the time.

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