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Nick Boulton: Why turning down business is a strength, not a weakness

Posted on 16/09/2019
by Nick Boulton

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After 14 years in recruitment, you see it all: the good, the bad and the ugly.

It’s something I bang on about, but Client Server’s business model is consultative, not agency-driven. I truly believe that we try and help clients and candidates make the best possible decision for their business or career.

And sometimes, the best decision is to hold up your hands and say, “We’re not the ones you’re looking for”. The best business decision you can make is to say no to business.

There have been times where we’ve told clients they don’t need us for certain hires. We’ve sometimes connected them with others – no strings attached – because it was the right thing to do.

Recruitment is an industry where respect and understanding go a long way. If you are upfront, open, honest, you will be rewarded in business and in life.

Sadly, ours is an industry whose value is treated incredulously. You see grimaces and sideways glances about needing a recruitment business’ help. I can even hear the tuts start as soon as you begin to discuss fees or the work involved in finding the really best candidates.

Funnily enough, it’s usually ex-recruiters on site who tell you with a hint of apathy: “I’ve been on your side of the fence, I know how to find these candidates, and I did this for years and was top billers at *insert name of any number of agencies*…”

It raises the question of why engage with a business if you don’t see it as being mutually beneficial?

My memory is a bit sketchy and my Biology A Level was quite some time ago, but I think a mutually beneficial relationship is called a symbiotic one. A relationship that is only beneficial to one party and is detrimental to the other is parasitic. Eventually, it inhibits both parties.

One of the big reasons tech businesses struggle to hire the best talent is that they alienate their recruiters and don’t form a strong working relationship. They put up too many hurdles for the sake of process, usually to justify someone’s job in the business.

If that’s how a business wants to behave, then I have no interest working with them. It’s a big fat “NO!” from me. If it’s more about flexing your proverbial muscle and showing who’s in charge, then run, run as fast as you can and find a client that actually wants to form a partnership.

If you don’t have a relationship that is open, free flowing, devoid of unnecessary bureaucracy, then you don’t have a viable working relationship in any walk of life.

A symbiotic relationship where you both benefit and share in each other’s success. When you do find that, hold onto it, nurture it, and show them why they hired you in the first place. That’s what it means to be a consultant.

Don’t be desperate to pull on any business; that’s just ugly business.

Photo: Freepik.com


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