9 Ways to Avoid a One-Night Stand (With Your Recruiter)

By Jenn Steele - Feb. 11, 2014
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one night stand“So… shall we… keep in touch?”

You pause, awkwardly.  You had a good time together. Met some really cool people. Even shared some jokes over a beer.

But now it’s done. Over. It was never a long-term thing for you, but as you back slowly towards the door you realize you probably forgot to explain that to the person sitting across from you. You flash back to the intimate moment of ecstasy you both shared just moments ago as they looked into your eyes and mouthed “Yes!”…

Yes.  The candidate said yes.

While it’s probably not something we boast about, one-night stands with recruiters happen more often than we’d like to admit. You need a fast hire, you canvas the scene for who can jump in and help you, make a quick decision in the haze of the moment and then once it’s all done and dusted you realize… this isn’t the Recruiter for you. You promise to call for the next role and then – just don’t.

If you’ve been accruing a few notches on the Recruiter post lately, don’t feel guilty – we’ve all been there.  In every business’s life, however, there comes a time to settle down into a committed relationship. Why?

Long-term investment into a relationship with one recruiter or recruitment company will allow your brand to flourish under the tender loving attention of someone who truly cares about your business – and not just the rush of a one-off commission check. The stronger a recruiter knows your brand, the better value you are going to glean from the partnership. Over time, communication increases, they become familiar with your culture and the style of people you like and maybe even start finishing your sentences for you.

Here are 9 tips to finding – and keeping – the right recruiter for your organization.

1. A Little Respect

It’s easy to see recruiters as just another “number” or simply a voice on the end of the phone.  Remember that every recruiter you speak to is a person. While they might give off the impression that they’re up for something quick and dirty in order to get your business, deep down they just want R.E.S.P.E.C.T. They, too, would much prefer to be a committed partnership and will give a little on their terms and conditions to make that possible. Both of you get the most out of a committed relationship.

2. Be Open & Honest

Trust is the #1 key for any successful relationship.  Be upfront about your activities with other recruiters and your intentions for the ongoing relationship. This empowers the recruiter to make a choice before they get too involved. If you feel it’s appropriate, disclose your past behaviors and admit that you want to change moving forward.  Working together on these things will strengthen the bond and empower you both to attack challenges head on as a team.

3. Never Cheat

If you’re using another recruiter for a role, be upfront and let them know about it. Explain when you first engage the recruiter what your expectations are re: the exclusivity of your relationship. If you’re worried that this might scare them away, that’s a sign that perhaps you’re not ready for the real commitment involved in a relationship. It’s okay to use one Recruiter for some types of roles and use another for different types – just be honest with both of them and don’t try to hide them from each other.

4. Make Sure You’re Compatible

Recruiters are wonderful sales people and can often come in all razzle-dazzle, leaving you breathless and a little giddy. Before you jump into bed with one, really ask yourself; is this right for me? Outline the qualities you are looking for in a recruiter and don’t be afraid to ask around about reputation before you make a commitment.

5. Make Time for Them

How will a recruiter ever get a proper understanding of whether a candidate is a good fit for your culture if they’re never able to spend time in your business? Too often these relationships can get to a point where it’s all about ‘business’. Open time in your calendar when your recruiter calls and introduce them around or take them for a drink. Invite them to your end of year parties. Show them they are a meaningful part of your organization by giving them time in your day.

6. Appreciate Them

Recruiters can often feel a little used at the end of a hire – one week you’re in touch every day and the next it’s as if they don’t even exist. Nothing goes further than a bunch of flowers or a bottle of wine to say “We Love You!” If you want your recruiter bending over backwards to find the right person for you, appreciate them when they do a great job.

7. Work on How You Deal with Conflict

No relationship is perfect and conflict can be a healthy way of working together towards a strong connection. Perhaps you would prefer if they phrased the way they talk about your company a little different – don’t bottle things up. Speak honestly about your concerns and give your Recruiter ample space to listen and respond before you run off into the arms of someone else.

8. Don’t Fight about Money

Research has shown that the number one source of conflict in any relationship is financials. In the case of working with your recruiter, the more communication the better. If you have reservations about their price or how much they’re charging, talk about it immediately. Similarly, request that they communicate costs to you verbally first rather than just sending through a surprise invoice. That way there’s plenty of room to discuss alternative solutions.

9. Remember Why You Chose Them in the First Place

Years into a relationship, the spark can disappear. You can get so used to having your recruiter around that you start to wonder what else – or who else – might be out there. Maybe you feel like the energy is gone from the relationship and your recruiter isn’t as into it as they used to be. Remembering why you chose your recruiter in the first place can combat this feeling. Ask yourself if they still possess all those wonderful qualities you saw in them. If they do, refer to point number 6 and perhaps appreciate them with a bottle of wine to bring that spark back into your connection.

What do you do to keep your relationship with your recruiter strong?  If you’re a recruiter, what works for you in keeping a client relationship going over the long-term?

Image courtesy of Max Patzig.


Jenn Steele

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Find Your Next Hire Out Of Over 5 Million Candidates

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Topics: Elastic Recruiting, Recruitment, Talent Professionals