Manage Client Expectations by Stating Your Own

Dear Barb:

I own a contingency direct placement firm and specialize in IT. It’s more difficult than ever to surface top talent. Unfortunately, even when we do surface great candidates, our clients screen out most of the candidates we present.

Often the specs they give us are impossible to fill, so we surface the best talent available, but they want the “perfect” person which doesn’t exist in this market. Any ideas on how we can put pressure on our clients?

Stephen M.
San Francisco, CA

Dear Stephen:

One way to improve the relationship with your clients is to clarify expectations upfront. Forward a list of what they can expect from you in writing. Also, send a list of what you need from them in order to attract top talent. These expectations instantly differentiate you from your competition.

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If your clients are giving you specs that are “mission impossible” the time to discuss the marketability of their requisition is when you are taking the order. Only quote facts, not your opinion. Each Friday you should call all clients with open requisitions and provide an update. Often, once you have worked on their order with no results, the clients will consider making changes on their requirements.

You can increase the number of candidates you book by doing the following:

  1. Submit top talent, not average. When you submit rock stars the process normally speeds up.
  2. Get interview times when you write your order, and an alternate person who can confirm interviews.
  3. From you initial conversation explain you have done the screening prior to presenting candidates which is why you will only present candidates that are worth their time interviewing.
  4. Change your expectations. Expect to book 100% of the candidates you present and overcome any and all objections when your client wants to screen someone out.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email