Headhunter Loyalty: Is There Such A Thing?

July 31st, 2014

Toronto Executive Search & Marketing Recruiter Bruce Powell
By Bruce Powell

It’s not surprising that an ethical headhunter would be loyal to the client hiring them to perform a search.  If you’re a recruiting professional committed to building relationships for the long term, loyalty to your client is essential to long-term success in business, and that translates into consistently finding the best quality candidates for a role. 

But does that loyalty go the other way? Are clients loyal to the recruiters they partner with?

In my experience as a recruiter, the answer is yes.  Many clients are loyal to their headhunting partners and have discovered the rewards that loyalty brings.  But that loyalty and trust, which is the foundation of a good relationship, has to be earned.

For clients that want to ensure they’re getting the best value from their headhunter, they have to work with you as a trusted partner.

As recruiter, if you’re working on a search and the client tells you that they have you and 10 other people working on filling the same job, there’s a disconnect somewhere.  Perhaps you’re not doing something right or you’re not communicating the value add that you can provide by being exclusive on the search.  It could also be that the client is not really invested in the search process and is merely shopping the market to see what’s available.  

IQ PARTNERS Headhunter loyalty

How do recruiters build loyalty with a client?

To gain that loyalty with your clients, you have to demonstrate your value add to their organization and show how you can make their life easier.

It’s essential to have an open line of communication to foster the trust that we are going to follow through and do what we say we’re going to do.  On the flip side, the client needs to step up to the mark and move the process along in a timely manner.

That’s really where loyalty and relationship building in the partnership comes into play.

Loyalty doesn’t come overnight.  It takes time.  Often you’re given a shot.  A client will say “Okay, we’ve got this job and if you perform well, we’ll give you another opportunity.”

It’s like any business, a client becomes warmer and warmer and if you do a good job you’re going to get repeat business.  A lot of our clients do come back to us.  Over 85% come back to us because we do a good job.

Your initial interactions with a client, your initial conversations, really will determine if you can build a good relationship together.

What happens when there is no loyalty?

A bad relationship would be one where a recruiter phones a client and says, “I’ve seen this job, I can fill it and I’ll have two resumes over to you by the end of the day.”  That doesn’t show any partnership or loyalty on either end.  Without doing your due diligence on the company and asking the right questions, you’re essentially just throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it will stick.

What we try to do at IQ PARTNERS is build that relationship on a human level.  We speak to a client about their needs, and try and address those needs.  We do our due diligence and work up front and don’t waste their time.

To get the best person on board there has to be a process and there has to be structure … structure and good relationships will come through loyalty.  It all comes down to asking the right questions and demonstrating your value to build that loyalty and trust … and from there the rewards will be evident. 

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For more suggestions on now your business can maximize your relationship with a headhunter, check out our Dealing with a Headhunter section.

IQ PARTNERS is a Recruitment Agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have teams of specialist recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations, Energy, Mining & Engineering, Life Sciences, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Bruce Powell

Bruce co-founded IQ PARTNERS in 2001 and currently operates as Managing Partner. His personal background includes hands-on management experience in sales, marketing and marketing services. He has built management teams for a wide variety of marketing, communications, media and technology companies. He has also participated in several M&A transactions for service-based companies and is frequently called upon as a resource in the planning and negotiation of such deals.