Ask Barb: My Clients Make Slow Decisions

Dear Barb:

Is it me or are employers just unable to make hiring decisions? I have lost four candidates just this past month due to delays. My clients drag their feet and my candidates accept other offers. The clients are then angry when I tell them my candidates are off the market. It was their fault in the first place for not moving faster. When I try to get the process to move faster I’m accused of hard selling. I feel like I’m caught between a rock and a hard place with my clients. How do I tell them it’s their fault and if they don’t move faster there is not one thing I can do about preventing these candidates from accepting other jobs?

Jason T., Kansas City, MO

Dear Jason:

We have to address a few issues here. First of all, it is not your job to agree or disagree with your clients. If you blame your clients, you will only put them on the defensive and that will not expedite the hiring process. From your question, I believe you are currently viewed as a vendor vs. a trusted advisor by these clients. You have not yet established a strong relationship based on trust which has to be your ultimate goal.

To begin accomplishing this, share a list of expectations with your clients. Put in writing what they can expect from you and what you expect from them. Stress the benefit to them throughout the list of expectations, which clears up confusion. You need to send your candidates on multiple interviews so if they take another opportunity it is through your efforts. The Internet has made it easy for job seekers to search on their own, and most candidates want choices, not just one job offer. You also need to back fill whenever one of your candidates is screened out. The goal is to have 2-3 of your candidates going into the final interview process. It’s important that your clients know your candidates are actively interviewing.

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Also understand that time kills deals. Review the caliber of candidates you are submitting to your clients. When you send in a rock star the process often speeds up. When there are unexplained delays it’s often due to average candidates being presented.

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


2 Comments on “Ask Barb: My Clients Make Slow Decisions

  1. May I suggest you look at Barb’s material on qualifying your job orders? It’s easy to determine the clients true sense of urgency IF you do what Barb advises!

  2. Likely along Ellen/Barb’s suggestions, making sure your client understands your expectations from the start is key. I always make sure they are at least aware that candidates are actively interviewing and they have about a 48hr window to lock in a screen or they there is a strong chance of losing them. Remind them of this again when you submit each person. If/when they lose someone, you can share your message trail/reasoning and the urgency. Sometimes you have to have the “Help me help you” conversation. If they still don’t get it, find new clients. Jason

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