Recruitment Clinic: 7 Rules of the Business Relationship

We’ve discussed Business Development previously in this series, and today we go more in depth. How many recruitment businesses talk about Partnerships?

Mutually beneficial, staffing relationships?

Beautiful, two way, recruitment love-ins, where the business is almost an afterthought, because you’re all so busy just enjoying each other?

There’s a reason why this features within the core values of 92% of Recruitment Businesses (according to unconfirmed stats) and it’s not because they want everyone to be really, really happy.

Let’s push the rainbows aside for a minute and address the cynical truth. More business is done when there’s a real relationship in place. Your client is more likely to work with you if you’ve been to dinner together. And even more likely if you’ve been to a concert. Or met their spouse.

Before you get all giddy and send out a circular to your whole prospects list, inviting them and their children to Glastonbury, there is something you need to consider.

A photo by Aranxa Esteve.

The Relationship will have to be real

Don’t imagine that you’re going to be able to call your candidate or client and be bezzie-mates when there’s a placement available, having not spoken to them for the preceding six months.

That’s as transparent as the new £5 note, and worth slightly less.

Now, you don’t need my advice on how to make friends. I’m sure you’re very popular already.

But sometimes even being friends isn’t enough. One of the best Recruiters I’ve ever worked with built an incredible relationship with one of his clients, to the point where he taught their kids how to swim! But he missed the chance to do a handful of deals because he forgot one of the key rules to combining real relationships with business.

So here’s a non-exhaustive list of rules that you should apply to your blossoming business partnerships:

Be Exclusive

OK, maybe exclusive is a bit strong. But you’re not going to be able to build and maintain real relationships with everyone you meet. Choose carefully, so that you have the time to make it work properly. In this context, obviously business is important. But you don’t want to have to fake it the whole time, so start with people you actually like too!

Be Regular

Not every contact has to take hours, or involve some kind of event. But you need to have regular contact with people if you’re going to try to build something worthwhile.

Get Personal

In order to build a relationship that you both enjoy, you’re going to want to talk about something outside of recruitment. Life, family, interests. Be prepared to give as well as take. If you’re going to create something real, you need to be prepared to share your holiday snaps on Facebook.

Make Invitations

Take the initiative. Invite that special person out to events that might interest them. Be that coffee, a conference, dinner, or just round to your office to see how the other side lives.

Be Yourself

This should go without saying, but it’s going to be tough to maintain any kind of act for very long. Be yourself, and build business relations with people who seem to like who you are.

Bring Value

Make sure you find out what’s important to the person you’re engaging with. That’s both on the business and personal side of things. And never stop trying to bring them value in those areas, interesting pieces of information, articles, recommendations etc

NEVER stop asking for Business

Once you have actually built that relationship, it’s going to feel good. And it’s likely to be something that lasts longer than your current job. However, don’t forget to ask for business. Because they may forget to give it to you.

Reading back through this list, it does look like points 1-6 would be just as appropriate on eHarmony as they are here. Point 7, not so much.

Perhaps that’s the whole point of this article.

Maybe the best way to look at this would be the other way around. Do any of your friends have need for Recruitment services?

If not, maybe it’s time to make some new friends. 

Martin Jones is a Recruiter. From 1999 onwards, he’s worked across multiple sectors and geographies, generating revenue and leading teams. He is a Partner at KnownFour, building a pioneering recruitment business.

Take a look at some of the rest of our Recruitment Clinic right here to perform a health check on your career.