Creating Your Perfect Client, Part 2

May 7, 2009

In the first part of this article, I talked about identifying your perfect customer. Now it’s time to think about the types of searches you work.

Many recruiters shy away from technology or finance searches. Are there fields or functions you don’t want to recruit? Are there titles that are too high or too low for you to take on? Are there fields, titles, and functions that would be an automatic split because you know the right person to fill the search?

This is where you really have to think about what problems there are with searches — how reporting structures work, co-workers, responsibilities, etc.

One challenge presented to recruiters today comes from the consolidation of responsibilities. It used to be a person did one job with one job description but today, it is often the case that two positions have been combined because someone had the skills and the company had the need at the time. The challenge is now that the person has left, the company has forgotten it used to be two separate positions and want one person to do both jobs. Are there positions like this you won’t fill?

Now let’s go back to our example of our perfect client. What made Jackie great? She was easy to communicate with, scheduled interviews quickly, and provided feedback.

So what is unacceptable in the communication and feedback area? Be as specific as possible — “candidate feedback cannot be conveyed in more than three days” or “interviews cannot be scheduled more than one week after phone screen.”

Using the Information

So now you have vented out all the things you won’t do. Not only is this therapeutic, you have a picture of what is left and want to work on. How do you USE this information?

First, use it to find targeted clients. You have better information to find those companies that are right for you. As you research companies to target, you have a solid list of keywords, information, and answers to use in searching. You are able to identify what markets these companies serve, who else may be players, and the right companies for you.

Since you fully understand the kind of culture you want, review company websites to get a better idea if the company will be a good fit; look and see if they have the types of positions you want to fill.

From the culture and position identification you did above, you can formulate thought-provoking questions that show you are serious about getting to know your new client. When you approach the client, you aren’t coming at them as a generalist, but someone who is trying to determine whether there is a good fit for your services — because not every company is. There is a lot of power in that message!

Right upfront as you take the search, you can lay out your expectations. Telling a client, “We find searches to be the most successful when….” sends all the right messages — you have experience filling searches like this so you were a good choice; you know what needs to be done to make it work; if the client doesn’t do it the way you say it will be their fault if the search doesn’t go well, etc.

You’ve taken the unacceptable communication and feedback structures identified above and turned it into a self-fulfilling prophecy on the positive side by laying out those details at the beginning. And when it works, the client knows it is because you said it would, right from the beginning.

Approaching client identification this way alleviates the worry that you are missing business that would have been good but wasn’t in your definition by helping you zone in on it through what is unacceptable. Then using what you learned about the unacceptable, you can craft a process that moves clients into handling the search the way it needs to be done to be successful.

So you do not only identify the perfect clients, you help create them!