CEO Chat
Helen H., CEO of
Hire Standard

Posted July 2018
We are sitting down with Helen and chatting about the inconsistent follow-up that sometimes happens with clients.

Q: When potential clients approach staffing agencies, they seem to be onboard with everything at first. They are responsive via emails/phone calls and then…they are suddenly difficult to reach. Why do you think there is a lack of follow-up from the clients during the process?

A: The client hiring manager may be over-worked or they may need a better assistant! Communication that is consistent and time-bound is the key to a successful search. We know clients are busy and our process is simple, straightforward, and effective. We encourage them to agree to a schedule when we begin their project. Sometimes the client is being “held up” by others in their organization, so they are unable to move forward with interviews, feedback, etc. Sometimes they are embarrassed that they are not the ultimate decision-maker. Sometimes they intentionally withheld information from the recruiting firm in order to retain their sense of control. This complicates the process for everyone and can cause the client to lose a great candidate. It’s unfortunate because it is a relatively simple problem to fix.

Q: Have you ever worked with clients that were first unresponsive, only to contact you again?

A: Clients are such interesting characters and yes — sometimes their response time impedes us from helping them. We are tactful in our email stating we’ve been unable to connect with them, and as a result, the search they asked us to perform is on hold…also inviting them to contact us if their situation changes.

Q: Did the second time improve? If the second round was better, what changed from the initial contact?

A: What great questions you are asking…we can’t give away all our secrets to “Successful Relationships With Clients – 101” in this chat, but will tell all in our upcoming book (!).

Q: Obviously, relationships between clients/customers are important and both parties need to do their part in keeping the relationship intact. Do you feel potential clients view staffing agencies as a serious option for finding what is needed or do you feel they keep agencies on standby, just in case?

A: The answer to your question is: it depends. There are so many variables involved that there is no simple answer. We’re in a data-driven world where information is available with one click, so some companies take a DIY approach to hiring….at first. Staffing/recruiting firms are sometimes the company’s next option once they discover what is actually involved in finding, qualifying, and delivering the person they need. Or, they find themselves in an unexpected situation where they need someone immediately to fill a role and they know we can work that magic. There is also the matter of money: the hiring manager typically has a budget and must decide how to best spend it. What is more important on the “time vs. money” continuum can be different for many companies…or even for different jobs within the same company.

Q: Do you think clients realize how much work goes into filling a job order or do you feel clients assume staffing agencies have a conveyor belt of candidates ready to be packaged and sent out at any moment?

A: At times it can seem the client is giving us a “laundry list” of qualifications — so many that we have to laugh. This brings us back to the earlier discussion about communication: a mutually respectful relationship with our client helps us differentiate their requirements from their wishes. It’s natural to have a mental picture of everything the perfect candidate would offer. It is also logical for both client and candidate to understand that nothing is perfect and they’ll both benefit from prioritizing the items on their list. For Hire Standard’s clients, the cultural “fit” is as important as skills and experience. There are teachable skills, but that hard-to-define chemistry between client and candidate is the result of combining art and science. Match-making is more difficult than it appears!

Q: What is the largest number of people you had to place?

A: I think you’re asking about contract placement where a project requires multiple people to be hired simultaneously. We have certainly handled those requests and they can be lucrative, but they are more about volume than individuality and price becomes a driving force. It’s more gratifying to know every referral is successful when we connect people and organizations with the same goals….this is what keeps recruiters in the game.

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