Recruiting Smarter... Not Harder.
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September 16, 2004
Recruiting Success in Your Marketplace
by Dennis Foster, President

Want to enjoy more than short-term recruiting success in your marketplace? The magic is fairly straightforward: Establish solid relationships that are founded on true concern for the interests of both candidates and clients, and present to your client only the highest quality candidates for every position. If the candidates presented are rejected, find out on what basis - what are the criteria (personal/professional) that are missing in the candidates presented. Refocus your search based upon this new information. Be willing to put forth the effort necessary to reach the best candidates.

When you and your recruiting firm pay close attention to, and respond to, the needs of candidates, this level of service will directly benefit the interests of your clients. You will present candidates who are truly interested in the positions to which they are presented, and you enhance the likelihood of a successful relationship for both parties. Your reputation for good service to qualified candidates will attract other good candidates to your firm. Keep in touch regularly with your clients and work toward a long-term partnership. Stay abreast of developments in their offices and throughout their firm or corporation. Anything that will help you develop the specifics of their "model" candidate selection profile will greatly impact your success, and their satisfaction with candidates presented.

Service which falls below the highest standards of service to candidates and clients will surely open your business to the competition. Imagine a client who has received higher-caliber candidates, than those you have presented, from your local competitor or through their own recruiting efforts. Imagine that this happens not once, but twice, or three times over. What incentive does that client have to contact your firm again to present candidates for a position - even on a contingency basis?

How about a "new" client who you have finally convinced to give your service a try, though the firm or corporation has never before utilized outside recruiting services? A great opportunity to begin a long-term relationship? Not if you do not present candidates that are a better fit for the position than those the client has acquired through other resources. If you do not present the best candidates, you will lose the client.

It sounds simple, but it happens. It has happened in my recruiting firm. The effort that it takes to do this is not simple, nor easy. It may require reaching-out cold to high-level candidates to truly reach the best candidates - something even some veteran recruiters shy away from. Recruiters who rely exclusively on presenting their "most placeable candidates" (from their pre-qualified list) may not be working hard enough for your firm and your clients. Recruiting firms that are unable to produce top-notch candidates for high level positions at the best firms will develop the "branding" and reputation that reflects this mediocre level of service.

If the client appears disinterested and non-responsive to candidates that you present, do not assume that it is because the need is no longer there. It could be that you have not given that client a reason to spend any more time dealing with you. Follow-up until you find out what is going on within the decision-making process with respect to that position.

If you discover the client has no interest in the candidates you have presented, find out on what basis your candidates are not making the grade. (You may think you qualified your candidates quite accurately against the client’s qualifying criteria, but that criteria may have since morphed into something quite different!) Sometimes the best source is not the client contact, but his or her assistant, or even another professional in the department. Where the client contact may withhold feedback that reflects dissatisfaction with the quality of your candidates, someone else close to the decision-making process may be forthright and specific.

Approach every client need as though the future of your firm depended on your success with that client. In any close-knit business community, it may very well be so.

  About the Author
Dennis Foster, President of Major Legal Services© (MLS)

Dennis Foster is President of Major Legal Services© (MLS), a Cleveland, Ohio-based legal recruiting firm serving the Midwest. Dennis can be reached by telephone at 216-579-9782, by E-Mail at, or through the MLS web site at

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