6 Factors To Consider Before Accepting Or Rejecting Job Orders

recruiting recruitment staffing Jan 06, 2022

 One of the most critical aspects of recruiting firm success is determining whether to accept or reject job orders. Successful business development for recruiting firms is not about how many job orders you bring in per month. It's about how many job orders you fill in that period. As a recruiting industry practitioner and coach to recruiting firms, I’ve discovered that:

  • The less successful firms primarily rely on emotions to make this key decision. For example, “this is a good client, so I’ll say yes even though the job order is not fillable, and they won’t consider my advice to fix the shortcomings.”
  • The most successful firms start with an objective process as the foundation of their decision to accept or reject business. For example, “the client is not willing to make a commitment to us, so I’ll say NO.”

How should you decide on what business to accept or reject? The best recruiting industry business development decisions come from starting with an objective, rational evaluation based on the merits of the opportunity. Then you should consider feelings and judgments such as your relationship, your recruiting bandwidth, future business potential, etc. Recruiters are often driven by their clients' desire to be liked and approved of. This can lead to the fear that rejecting job orders will alienate their clients and prospects.  However, saying YES to the wrong job orders may make you feel good in the short term but leads to lower client satisfaction in the long run.

An objective process to evaluate a job order on its merits includes considering the following criteria:

  1. Job order fillability. Do you really want to be a “unicorn hunter”? If the job is within your niche, you’re better positioned to evaluate fillability and provide expert advice to correct issues that hamper your ability to fill the job. If you have little or no experience with this job order, you’ll want to know how many positions of this type they have filled in recent times and the challenges they’ve had in filling them.
  2. Level of motivation to fill. When there’s no sense of urgency from the client, the "Goldilocks Effect” is likely to emerge, and you’ll hear things like, “ your candidate is very good but just not quite perfect…..let’s keep looking”. 
  3. Exclusivity: You want to swim in a clean pool with no other swimmers. When prospects are already engaged in other efforts to fill a position, you’re beginning the search as a commodity. The exception is if you learn that
  • There are no viable candidates AND
  • The position remains open due to a low level of recruiting competence by the other parties AND
  • You possess the required expertise to fill the position 
  1. Upfront Retainer: This is where the rubber meets the road in most cases. Clients who are willing to pay you a retainer demonstrate a genuine commitment to partner with you.
  2. Client characteristics: Your evaluation here is a judgment call based on your experience. Below are some of the critical things to consider:
  • Attitude: If the person has an offensive or disrespectful attitude, you’re usually better off rejecting the business. Jerks and “A-holes” harm your success and job satisfaction.
  • Collaboration:  This characteristic is demonstrated by their agreement to provide you with prompt feedback after submittals and interviews and openness to your advice regarding issues that impact your ability to fill their positions ability issues. 
  1. Recruiting Bandwidth: This is the X-Factor and is a moving target. If you have few or no job orders to work on, it makes sense to lower your standards to some extent. It makes sense to raise your normal standards when you are at capacity. Be very careful here since you can fall into the trap of using available bandwidth to justify poor-quality jobs. It’s good to have bandwidth available since it frees up business development time. It also creates the space to bring in higher-quality jobs without overwhelming your recruiting staff or yourself. Remember, the most effective recruiting industry business development strategy is to have a high success rate/fill ratio. This leads to repeat business and client referrals. Failed attempts to fill jobs rarely work in your favor!

My experience as a recruiting industry coach, advisor, and owner has taught me that If you work with the wrong clients and job orders, it will be difficult for you to succeed despite any other strengths you bring to the mix.

I know that it’s difficult to say NO to new business opportunities. But the fear of missing out (FOMO) can push you to accept bad deals. The truth is that by saying YES to the wrong prospects, you end up saying NO to the right ones. And this will consistently cost you time, money, resources, and frustration! 

Stay in the loop.

Subscribe to our recruiting insights to grow your business sent directly to your inbox.