How to Create a Win-Win Partnership with New Clients

October 15, 2020
Author: Mara Zemicael

Whether you have been a successful recruiter for decades or your firm is trying to break into a new vertical, you’re likely aware that providing an excellent client experience is a great source for generating new business.

So as you take on new clients, here are three things to consider that may make it easier to “get the win” with repeat business and client referrals.

Getting to know clients can make it easier to earn their repeat business and get client referrals.

What a Job Description Won’t Tell You

The beginning of a new client relationship often starts with a job description sent over by the client. If one of your firm’s goals is to be put on a retainer for a client’s talent acquisition needs, then your approach to your first placement with the client really matters.

Having answers to the following questions can reduce the chances of unnecessarily extending the candidate selection process.

Who does the hiring manager envision in this role?
While most job descriptions will include the required hard and soft skills and a summary of the role, recruiters frequently need more information to find outstanding clients that are also a good organizational fit. This is particularly true for filling permanent roles where cultural fit matters as much as skill set.

Below are questions that can help you gain useful information when working with a hiring manager for the first time.

  • What are your performance expectations for this role in 90 days and a year from hire? – This will give you insight into what type of work style and personality will thrive working for this hiring manager and on the existing team.
  • What is your onboarding process? – This will give you a deeper understanding of how the hiring manager operates and can give you more insight when answering prospective candidates’ questions about the client’s hiring process.
  • What traits are needed to fit into the department and/or company culture? – This will shed light on the work environment and views of work/life balance, which may be something candidates ask you about.
  • What does the career trajectory look like for this role? – For highly specialized and mid-career-level roles, professional development and opportunities for promotion will be important to many candidates.

Why does the client's HR team need your help?
While understanding a hiring manager’s expectations is crucial to placing the right candidate in the open position, understanding the reasons why the human resources team hired you can help in your bid to become the client’s go-to recruiting firm.

Related: Why Using Outdated Salary Data Negatively Affects the Recruitment Process

There are usually two reasons that an internal HR team outsources recruiting. The first is lack of time for sourcing and searching. The second reason is because the role may be highly specialized, and a niche recruitment firm will find qualified candidates more quickly than the internal team can. Equipped with this information, you can tailor your sales pitch to describe exactly how your firm can best meet the internal team’s present and future talent acquisition needs.

For instance, if the internal HR team lacks time or resources, providing them with accurate salary data for the open role based on market value can go a long way. If the company is in a growth phase, performing a useful market analysis about their industry or specific job markets will set you apart from the competition.

Exceed Client Expectations


As a professional, meeting client expectations is a given. However, no one turns down an opportunity to go above and beyond when presented with the possibility.

For highly specialized or mid-career-level roles, candidates who show genuine interest in the role or the organization will probably be more impressive to the client. This is especially true when working with clients that often promote from within or whose employees feel personally connected to the organization’s mission. Besides having the required skills, professional accomplishments and excitement over the role or organization may be the deciding factor between impressive candidates and merely adequate candidates.

When working with a client that needs multiple candidates for the same role, individual accomplishments may be less important. Instead, possessing high levels of reliability and professionalism may be the deciding factors on who is seen as an outstanding candidate. You may need to implement more thorough pre-screening measures, though, as both the hiring manager and you likely will have less one-on-one time with each candidate.

Now that You’ve Filled the Job, Build on Momentum

During your check-in to verify a successful candidate placement, this may be the time to inquire about future hiring needs of the firm and next year’s talent growth plans. At minimum, it provides insight into what matters to the client from a talent strategy perspective, which helps you construct a plan to alleviate their recruitment pain points, creating a “win-win” for you and your clients

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