Should I Take That Search Assignment From This New Client

Before you start calling those candidates, ask yourself a few of these questions. Use this matrix to test each prospective client. Rank it on a scale of one to ten, with ten the best rating, one the worst. Add up your score and judge the likelihood of you filling the position and getting paid for it.

1. The client has worked with recruiters in the past.

2. My fee is not discounted below my normal fee range, or it is not below what other recruiters charge.

3. I have positively worked with this client successfully in the past.

4. When I ask “What steps have you taken to fill the assignment?,” they say, “Nothing yet.”

5. I am the only recruiter working on this assignment.

6. I have an exclusive on this assignment.

7. When I ask them to describe their urgency level and how soon they need it filled, they say “yesterday.”

8. When I ask how many candidates they have seen so far, they say “none.”

9. I am dealing directly with the person who signs the agreement.

10. I have a signed agreement and they have agreed to the fee.

11. I am not dealing with human resources and am working directly with the person who feels the pain from the open search, a line manager or an executive up the food chain.

12. I have clearly defined expectations of communication and they have agreed to cooperate with respect to communication and to me extending the offer to the candidate.

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13. The client has agreed to meet with the candidate for lunch or breakfast after he has turned in his resignation to his current employer.

14. I have made my guarantees dependent upon getting paid ten days after the candidate’s start date.

15. The client has given me time on his calendar to interview candidates, or we have set a week to target to set up interviews and he will be available at that time.


130 – 150 Start making phone calls right now.

100 – 120 Questionable. It may work but it is a risk

100 or less – Find another search.

Remember that we have no control over other people, not even our clients. We can influence them. But before we start to influence them, we need to make sure we are strategically working on the right thing. We do have control over where we spend our time, and I hope this tool helps you question the quality of your search assignments so that you start working on those things that help you reap the reward that you deserve.

Scott Love increases company profit margins by working as a management consultant, author, and professional speaker with special emphasis in the executive search and staffing industries. He has been quoted in major city newspapers, national trade magazines, international business magazines, and the Wall Street Journal. He has his own weekly business column in the Gannett News Service. His free website for recruiters has over 50 free tips and tools to help you bill more.


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