How to maintain good relationships to clients and candidates

Working in a recruitment agency is challenging. Here in Indonesia, everyday more and more recruitment agency is made making this industry more competitive with more and more industries competing to be the best, and the only best. With more agencies being established, it’s getting harder for one company to get a client. But what is harder is that how to maintain its existing client, as well as the high quality and skilled candidate they have in their database.

We all know as a recruitment consultant that companies would rather hire agency with lower recruitment fee and thinking that the candidate they get would be great. But hey, great candidates come with great price. You don’t see Louis Vuitton having a sale, like ever! It’s because they know their quality, as well as what their markets want.

Back to the recruiting world, what I meant by the above paragraph is that with high price comes high quality placements. Especially in executive search and head hunt, most high quality candidates are already in work, so how do we persuade them? Well, there are 2 types of persuasion: positive persuasion and negative persuasion.

Positive persuasion is when we try to persuade the candidate truthfully and principal based for example if we are offering a position in which the salary is below the candidate’s expectation, we need to tell the truth because this is where our persuasive technique comes to play. We could say “but with this position you could have the possibilities to be promoted” or the benefits that come with the position.

Negative persuasion is when we are persuading the candidate by lying, and getting their hopes up when in reality the truth is just not that good. For example if the salary is beyond the candidates expectation we just lie that is is above his/her expectation so that they’d be interested in the job and want to apply.

If that step is done, and the candidate is placed in a client’s company, how do we maintain relationships with client as well as our database of candidates?

To maintain a relationship with client is actually simple. Doing it is hard. The number 1 thing that we should always do is HONESTY. If you are real to them they will be real to you. In other words, no one’s time is being wasted. Same thing goes for dealing with a candidate. Be honest with them. Don’t get their hopes up, if they find out your not being honest, it will be hard to get a candidate for future posisitons.

Give them a call once in a while if a candidate has been placed, or email them a report once a week if we are still recruiting for them, so they know we have not forgotten about them, and that we are not wasting their time. And also give the candidate a call at least once per 3 months just to let them know that you have not forgotten about them also. New environment and new job could be overwhelming to certain people. Make that extra mile and be their friend rather than their recruiter.

Listen. Most people hear a conversation but don’t listen. This could potentially harm a relationship between agency and client as well as candidates.

Sharing is caring. As recruiters, we ask a lot of information from both our clients and candidates.  It is only fair that we allow some information about ourselves into conversations.  For example, if it is mentioned that a client or candidate has a dog, I typically will ask questions about the dog and mention that I also have a dog. Whenever you can find some common interest between yourself and someone else, it can quickly develop a common bond that you may not have had previously. The key thing to remember here is NOT to be afraid to share some information about you.

Go the extra mile. There will be times that we’ll have to make a decision on when to adjust our core offerings for the client’s needs. By doing this, clients remember the times you came through for them and it may open up additional revenue streams and new product offerings you had not previously considered. This goes for the candidate too. They will remember us if we help them or reply to their email when they ask about job openings. This creates a sense of care.

Treat every client like our most important one. Happy clients are more likely to make continuous referrals. We need to provide our clients with our best service regardless whether or not they are small or big company, MNC or just local. Small company could be big tomorrow. The same goes for our candidate. An office boy could be the director tomorrow.

This isn’t really a step. It should have been present from the beginning through the introduction process, kick-off meeting, emails and phone calls, and project transitions.  It is much easier to talk about something before it happens, than to talk about how to fix something after it happens.

Be proactive!  We need to remember that our clients are human beings just like us.  Sometimes they will have a bad day, sometimes they will forget deadlines or meetings, sometimes they will mess something up and it’s ok because we do too, we’re all just human.  As long as there has been a strong foundation of communication throughout the process everything should be alright.  You can always reschedule meetings and make new deadlines; you cannot, however, gain trust or active and willing participation from a client if all you do is send boiler plate emails and not engage the human side of the relationship.


Shaqira Hanim

Recruitment Consultant

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