Recruitment partner

There is a constant battle over agency  rates when negotiating with clients,  and recruiters will often find themselves having to justify their fees. You don’t want to be the cheapest, you want to be the best value for money and this requires you to prove your worth.  

You need the client to understand that they need your services and cannot possibly recruit without you. The question is, what do clients want from their recruitment partner?

There are a couple of main qualities that clients look for in a recruitment partner; think of the qualities you look for in a partner, you will notice the similarities.


Clients need reassurance that you really understand their company and their requirements. When starting up any relationship you need to be on the same page, if you don’t understand them then they won’t want to pursue a relationship with you.

Take the time to research their company and their current employees to gauge an understanding of who they hire and the experience and skill set they have. By doing this you will reassure the client you understand the company culture and can find the right people to fit their organisation.


Clients need to know they can depend on you to deliver the most unique candidates on time.

When clients receive the same CV from multiple recruiters they see agency fees as pointless – they want unique candidates which they have never seen before.

Any agency can troll through mainstream job boards and push out generic adverts online in the hope they find the right people. You must prove to the client they can depend upon you to deliver the best talent by telling them the various resources you currently use to source candidates: CRM System, your website, email marketing, Social Media, in-house job board.

The client also depends on you to ensure the right talent accepts the position and to do that you need to have flawless market knowledge and of course, great negotiation skills.

Special (ist)

Everyone is looking for that special someone, the same goes when looking for a recruiter!

Very few clients will use generalist recruiters as they do not have the skills, experience and knowledge to deliver the talent they are looking for.

You need to prove to the client you are a specialist in their market: show them past assignments; discuss large clients you’ve worked with; present them with your in-house job board in their specialist sector.

By proving you are a specialist in their market they will be reassured that you can provide them with the unique talent which they are unable to find themselves.


As in life, no one wants a new partner to be the same as their last one; they’re an ex for a reason after all. It’s the same in recruitment, clients do not want to use a recruitment partner who is the same as they have previously used – they require something different.

So offer them something different in the way you work. Talk to them about Social Media campaigns, your blogs about the industry, targeted ad campaigns or your in-house job board. Clients want you to highlight how you are different from the rest.


As in any relationship, trust is vital! Clients need to know that they can trust you and rely on you to deliver upon your promises. Break that trust and the relationship is broken.

Clients expect the same from you as your partner would. Showcase these qualities to the client and nurture the relationship and you will have a prosperous future in your new partnership.

Do you have anything to add? Maybe you have been asked some really obscure questions from prospective clients, whatever it is we would love to hear from you, pop a comment in the box below. 

Carl Thomas

Carl Thomas, an expert in employment law with 15 years of experience, advises firms on UK recruitment legislation. An LSE graduate, he writes for top legal publications and mentors law students.

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