I was in Sydney yesterday meeting a new client. Unusually for me he doesn’t run a recruitment agency. He met with me as he is looking for someone to grow his very successful Management Consultancy business in Australia, and his thoughts were that it would be a great opportunity for a recruiter looking to do something a bit different….but not your ‘typical’ recruiter
“I generally don’t like recruiters. They just tell me what I want to hear and do what I ask. I want to meet a recruiter who tells me what I need to hear.”
He went on to explain that the success of his Management Consulting business was due to providing clients with the best advice, regardless of whether the message is good or bad. It is not about telling them they are best and everything is great with their business. It is about being brutally honest about what is wrong and what they need to do to fix it. The clue is in the title, he said…it is about being consultative.
The obvious implication he was making is that the typical recruiter isn’t consultative…….and he is probably half-right.
In my experience, I would say we recruiter’s air on the side of caution when it comes to being brutally honest with our clients. My early career was all “yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir “ I was so grateful to have them as a client I didn’t want to do anything to risk that. I was afraid of offending them, knowing that in such a competitive industry it doesn’t take much for them to walk away if they don’t like what they hear. Sometimes I just felt it was easier to go along with my client and do what they want. (This all sounds like the relationships I had with my girlfriends!).
Whilst this passive behaviour is not necessarily typical of all recruiters, it is probably how a chunk of the industry has always operated. And if you are then you need to stop, and start actually consulting. Sure it can be a bit scary to tell your client something they don’t want to hear, or that they are wrong. But if you are not prepared to step up and do this, then you are only doing half the job…. and your need to remove Consultant from your job title.
Of course just because you talk, it doesn’t mean that they will always listen…. although I guarantee you will surprise yourself how often they do. I advised my client that he needed to pay about double what he suggested to get the person he needed, so he is. I advised him that if he wanted to wait until the perfect candidate came about then he might still be looking in twelve months time., so the brief is now more flexible. I advised him that a 4 stage interview process is unnecessary; so now it is two stages. And I told him that to get the best result he needed to retain me…..but he didn’t (but then you win some and lose some).
P.S. Not wishing to make this an advertorial, but if you are reading this and interested in discussing the above opportunity, please feel free to contact me. It is something a bit different.
Luke Collard – 0408 633365