Client Damage Control
by David Mandar
You find the perfect candidate for your best client. Everything is going great. After the interview, you follow up with the candidate. They say it went great and they really want the job. Happy, you call the Hiring Manager. No answer. You leave a brief message to call back and discuss the interview. Nothing for 2 days, and then you get a short e-mail that says they are not interested in your candidate. The reply doesn’t include any details, just a very brief ‘no thanks’ statement.
So, you circle back with your candidate and really dig into the details of the interview and see several signs of a poor interview. You follow up for days with the client and even submit another candidate with no response. They have gone dark.
It’s now clear that the candidate that you put your company stamp on has failed the interview. This usually shouldn’t be a problem, but for a client to completely drop you from the process, there must be something more to it than just a poor interview. Do you need damage control or something more serious?
Let’s assume all is not lost (remember this is one of your best clients). Let’s also assume that the Hiring Manager is still in need of a resource. So time is important. What should you do?
STEP 1) Make contact.
Get communications open again. Call. Email. Relay the urgency of you speaking with them as soon as possible. Request a face to face meeting. Once you get in touch with them, evaluate the damage. Whatever it is, use this opportunity to not only repair the damage, but to improve your relationship to a point where this kind of situation “should” not happen again. When you meet, you want to explore the process and discover where the disconnect is.
STEP 2) Check the requirements.
Now that you are speaking, you begin the discovery process with your client. Make sure they understand that a poor interview can be caused by many factors. Let them know that having unclear requirements is the usual culprit and throws the process off before it even starts. Somewhere in the requirements evaluation process, something was missed. Go back and re-qualify. You’ll find now that the Manager has met with one or several candidates, their perception of what they need will have changed. Even the original requirements are now outdated.
STEP 3) How was the interview conducted?
While talking, also review the Manager’s line of questioning and make sure it matches with the requirements. You will be surprised at some of the questions and the interviewing styles when you dig deeper. A Manager’s poor interviewing style can blow up even the best candidate. So review the interview to assess if it was your candidate that was unprepared. Bad answers to questions and other poor techniques will surely lose the attention of the Hiring Manager.
STEP 4) Win the business back
Now that you have a well-defined process for working with your client, tell your client where it went wrong and why you can now fill the role. Use that new set of requirements and your client’s renewed confidence in your ability, to find the right candidate and to prepare them adequately for the interview.
Following a well-defined process with all hiring opportunities will ensure you know exactly what the client wants and find the right candidate fit, minimizing the need for future client damage control. Plus, make sure you cover off all of the steps in the process. Cutting corners is the fastest way to get into trouble and could be what got you there in the first place.
Want to know more about a sure fire process that you can use with all your clients? Curta’s Marketing Candidates half day training covers these steps and more on creating winning and solid relationships with your client and finding the right candidates.