Oct 14, 2010

There is an ever-growing segment of our industry that is quickly becoming commodisized. These are the firms that work “The Low Hanging Fruit” (see my article on this topic) and focus on being competitive, which usually means working with clients under heavily discounted fee agreements and with compromised processes.

Ultimately, because of the lack of bilateral commitment in the working relationships, their job order/searches to fill ratio remains high.  Since there is little in the way of qualitative differentiation between these recruiting/staffing firms, clients generally view them as a commodity and therefore seek the least expensive means of working with them.

If this sounds familiar, ask yourself the following question:

“If clients gave me a full commitment and I mirrored that commitment by executing a properly designed process, what impact would that have on my ability to get results?”

For most recruiters/consultants, the answer to this question would be, “A dramatic and positive impact.”

Fact be known, most top producers are not necessarily better than anyone else. Rather, they have learned how to gain this type of commitment from their clients. With this level of commitment, they can focus their time and resources on consistently achieving results.  This in turn creates a greater level of confidence in them from their clients which results in more qualified business.  It becomes a self-perpetuating upward spiral of greater production and stronger relationships.

Any way you look at it, top producers are top producers because they deliver results for their clients.  Not once in a while, rather, consistently time and time again.  They can do this because they are focused.  They only work on good, qualified business, and they only work in relationships that are earmarked by a mirrored commitment.

Therefore, if you are interested in not becoming a commodity, you must be willing to ask for and only accept business where the working relationship is based on a mirrored and equal commitment.  You need to know how to ask for this and you must be ready to justify the request through the execution of a process that delivers the required results. In working with recruiters/consultants on this concept, I continue to stress that gaining the commitment is just the first step. They must also implement a client centered process (see my articles on this process) for delivering results otherwise the commitment is meaningless and ultimately will hurt them more than help them.

Following are three examples of “how” you might ask for this commitment.

Example One

“Put yourself in my position for a moment.  If our roles were reversed, would you be willing to commit your resources to undertaking a search of this nature before you secured an equal commitment from your client; the level of bilateral commitment required to insure success?”

Example Two

“In order for us to be successful in working together, the level of commitment I give to filling your requirements must mirror the level of commitment you and your organization are willing to give me.  Only in this manner can we jointly insure that our collective resources are being applied in the best possible fashion.  Does this approach seem reasonable to you?”

Example Three

“The level of commitment I give to you on this project will mirror the level of commitment you are prepared to give me. This is critical for both of us. Expectations must be in-line with reality. Does that make sense to you?”


A mirrored commitment simply means that you will put in the effort and resources the client deserves based on a properly qualified search. The reason this approach works is that it helps insure you are not investing your time and resources in a disproportionate manner.

If the client, because of pre-existing circumstances, attitude or timing cannot give you a full commitment, make certain to explain that the lack of commitment on their part prevents you from making a full commitment on your part. The key is to insure that everyone’s expectations are in-line with the reality they will experience. No mutual mystification. That’s only fair. This is where rating your searches is important. An “A” search deserves an “A” level commitment whereas a “C” search should receive no more than a “C” level commitment. Time and resources allocated in an appropriate manner.

Only through mirrored and equal commitments can you focus the full strength of your resources, on a priority basis, where it will achieve the greatest results for your clients.  Working without these commitments in place will relegate you to a commodity broker existence and may very well limit your future in this business.

As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and emails are most welcome.

this article is from the August 2010 print Fordyce Letter. To subscribe and receive a monthly print issue, please go to our Subscription Services page.

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