Adding Value to the Client Without Filling the Position

by Mike Miadich on December 11, 2012 in Client Relationship

EdgeLink Strategic RelationshipThere is no better feeling for our team than the exhilaration derived from discovering an open consulting requisition from a client, especially if it’s a foot-in-the-door to bigger things. The euphoria can quickly turn into frustration and desperation if the right candidate isn’t discovered in a timely manner. Knowing our competition is hot on our heels to fill the same requirement adds even more stress to the situation, and may sway our competition to force a square peg into a round hole by presenting candidates who may not truly be a fit.  At EdgeLink, we believe that there are ways to add value to the relationship even if the open position is difficult to fill. Here’s how…

Adding value to a client doesn’t always come in the form of a living, breathing body intended to fill a chair.  Filling the position with the perfect candidate is always the goal, but if that is not a plausible reality, it’s not worth trying to force other candidates to squeeze a fit.  Offering lesser-skilled or differently-skilled individuals at a lesser rate can backfire and potentially ruin the relationship permanently. Promising that an under skilled candidate will ‘come up to speed’ or be ‘mentored’ by a co-worker can lead to disastrous consequences. A good rule of thumb that we use is to not submit candidates who are going to be paid to learn on the client’s dime, unless we all are under the impression that this is an agreed upon approach. Rather than take this risk, the most valuable thing you can do for your client is to be honest and confide in them that you don’t want to waste their time, money or corporate resources on someone who isn’t going to be a match for them.  They’ll respect your honesty, which will build trust that you have their best interests, not your own, in mind when the next opportunity comes around.

While passing on an open position may be a tough thing to do, it forces us to seek out other ways to become valuable to our clients.  At times, we analyze candidate pipelines to determine what resources we have and how those individuals might serve as subject matter experts in other areas, or to provide resource and education materials to the client.  We offer this as a way to demonstrate commitment and investment into the relationship. Many IT department resources are so overly committed to time-sensitive, mission-critical, strategic initiatives that they don’t have time to create educational, instructional or reference material for their projects.

Another valuable asset that often goes underutilized is the Account Manager.  This individual can be seen in many different ways, and is often perceived as a pushy order-taker by the client.  We work hard with our sales teams to break out of this stereotype and encourage them to engage more strategically with the client.  We prepare metrics, financial reports, historical data and industry trends for client meetings that will truly provide them with more than a company dog and pony show.  Demonstrating depth of industry knowledge, data and trend analysis skills, and a basic understanding of the client’s goals puts our reps leaps and bounds ahead of the order takers out there.

The ideal scenario is to find the right candidate for the right position, at the right time.  Although this isn’t always possible, there are more ways to provide value to the relationship if you’re strategic, willing, and creative. If this is how you would like to manage your relationship with a Recruiting and Staffing Firm, contact EdgeLink to make it work for you.