Look for clients in pain!

Every great recruiter knows how to triage their job orders, and understands the importance of prioritising.

By and large, we only get paid for the people we place, so we have to work exclusively on committed clients and committed candidates.

One thing I am fond of telling the recruiters everywhere, is that a client in pain is a very good thing. This does not mean we are sadists, or that we enjoy seeing our clients under stress. But it is true, that when a client is under pressure, when a client is facing issues, when a client has deadlines, they are more committed to getting an outcome, and therefore more likely to be committed to our process, and to us.

So what does this mean? Well, as you make your judgement on which clients to work with, and where to spend your time, include in your assessment clients where one or more of these situations exist:

  • Just had a key person resign
  • Suffering from high turnover in her team
  • Just won a huge piece of work from one of their clients
  • Shared with you that he or she is under pressure to perform or deliver results
  • A direct competitor has just launched a new product or service and you know your client is under pressure to compete.
  • The clients’ high season is just about to start and the pressure is on
  • It’s salary review time, and you know your client’s staff are underpaid, and will be asking for raises
  • Your client has a massive personal workload with many deadlines, just at the time they’re starting to hire
  • Your client has no HR support, maybe no admin support, and yet is clearly no expert in interviewing, recruiting, hiring or on-boarding

There are no doubt many more examples, but I think you get the picture. Look for a client under pressure, a client with deadlines, a client with workload issues, and you will find a client in pain.


Just as when we are in pain we seek help, and pretty much don’t care how much we have to pay to fix the problem, so it is with your clients.

They need a solution. And you are there to ease that pain


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About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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3 Responses to Look for clients in pain!

  1. Alan Allebone July 24, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Sometimes it is like fishing with a fishing net rather than a rod and line!
    A real good catch!

  2. Neil Bolton July 24, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Sometimes I ask a potential client, quite literally: “Where does it hurt?”

    It is rare that I have to explain.

    We love making the hurt go away.

  3. GB July 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Amen Greg. Their pain is our gain.

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