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How to build successful recruiter/client relationships?

successful recruiter/client relationships

-By Jaspreet Bhogal, Associate Director, Oyster Partnership-

I’ve been married for 5 years now, so many of my relationships I’ve made in recruitment have lasted much longer!  Interestingly, when I sit and think about what has led to successes in both, the answers are very similar.

The recruiter/client relationship is one that in the past I’ve felt like I could have done better in. There have also been instances where I feel like I could have been treated better as someone who was trying to add value to an organisation. 

Below I’ve compiled my top 5 tips for both recruiters and clients in making their relationship as successful as possible! 

Spend time getting to know one another 

Much like in personal relationships it’s important that both parties really understand one another. Recruiters, really get to grips with why your client is in the situation they are and what it is they need.

Clients, if you’re going to let a recruiter represent your organisation, understand how they intend to work, and what information you can provide them to make the process as successful as possible. After all, if a candidate ends up being placed, surely it’s a win-win situation?

When getting to know each other, emails are ok, on the phone is better, in person (or via some sort of video app) is ideal! 

successful recruiter/client relationships

Make time for one another 

Both recruiter and client want this relationship to work, so really it’s important to spend time achieving that. Recruiters, be diligent in your search if you really understand your client, everything from the job advert you write, each conversation you have with a candidate, will reflect a true version of your client.

As a recruitment consultant, you should be thorough with your vetting process, offer your clients the best you have, not just the first candidates you come across.

Clients, your recruiter (in most cases)  works for free until they’ve placed someone, from offering feedback on CVs, to arranging interviews and then feedback it’s important you make time in your diary for all of these. Not only does delaying communication with your recruiter leave a bad taste in their mouth, but candidates will feel like they’re being strung along.

Setting timeframes early on in the process really does work best for everyone, there are no surprises, everyone knows what’s expected of them, and candidates can be kept interested and informed. 

Commit and deliver on your promises 

If you’ve decided you’re entering into a relationship be it friendship, relationship or business, it really is important to commit!

Recruiters, if you’ve said you’ll deliver a shortlist of CVs by a certain date and time, then make sure you do! 

Clients, if you’ve said you are going to leave the role with one recruiter only, don’t be tempted to cheat with another agency who may have a slightly different rate or the ‘perfect’ candidate.

In both cases, if you feel like you may be tempted to veer off your word, then be honest and talk through your issues with each other. 

successful recruiter/client relationships

Accept that neither party is perfect 

Although it may be hard to admit, if we think about it we all have flaws, recruitment consultants and clients are no different.

Recruiters on occasion may not get it exactly right and present a candidate that looks great on paper but in person, the same doesn’t translate – that’s ok, clients, offer your recruiters feedback on what worked/ didn’t and try again.

A client may love a candidate and offer a role, but it gets turned down – that’s also ok. Recruiters, offer your clients feedback on why that candidate made the decision they did, and try again. The most important thing here, much like in a personal relationship is to learn and adapt. 

Be prepared to compromise 

One that many people struggle with. Recruiters, understand that while 100% of your job is to recruit, it may only be 5% of your clients. In and amongst their day jobs they need to find time to meet you, shortlist candidates, interview and prepare the offer. Timeframes may not be as short as you may like but you really need to work around what your client can and cannot do.

Clients, if my 11 years in recruitment have taught me anything it’s that the ‘perfect’ candidate may not exist. If you can’t move on qualifications or experience you may have to move on what you’re prepared to offer your candidate. Be it financially, working arrangements or benefits etc. It’s your recruiter’s job to advise you on what the market conditions are dictating. If the relationship you’ve both developed is strong enough both parties should feel confident in trusting what the other has to say is in their best interest.  

successful recruiter/client relationships

Speaking as someone who has recruited for countless roles over the years, but also as an employer who has used recruiters to hire, in both situations, although much of the above is common sense, it’s very easy for both recruiter and client to take one another for granted.

Ultimately, if as a client you have engaged with a recruiter, you clearly need them. As a recruiter, you 100% need your clients, so it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure this relationship works! 


If you would like to talk to one of our recruitment consultants about how they can help you and your organisation’s recruitment needs, give us a call on 020 7766 9000 or drop us an email at info@oysterpartnership.com. Alternatively, you can find direct contact details for our consultants here.

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