QUESTION: How do you reduce the risk of failure when presenting multiple candidates to multiple clients? I have 2 similar clients with the same type of opening. I have presented multiple candidates for both. Candidate A and candidate B both like client #1’s opportunity the most, but are not opposed to client #2.  

Client #1 would hire either, but prefers candidate A. Client #2 prefers candidate B and is not sure about candidate A.  

Perfect scenario. Client #1 hires candidate A, and client #2 hires candidate B. Of course, it all works if I can convince candidate B that the opportunity with client #2 is the best for him, which on paper it is. Client #1 is an exclusive engaged search. Client #2 is straight contingency.  

Confused yet? – Pete

ANSWER: To be honest, I did have to read that a few times to fully grasp your situation.  

My question is why are you sending a candidate to another opportunity if client #1 is exclusive and engaged? Meaning, I am assuming that means in our world that you and I share together money upfront.  

One of the big things I sell when I sell money upfront is a right of first refusal on a candidate. I will not send any candidates to another client prospect if you engage me until you say he or she is no longer viable for my opening, by the way a huge selling point in selling engagements.  

The other question I have gotten in similar scenarios, and Pete, I have not forgotten yours, is recruiters feeling really guilty when they are on contingency and a potential client who they are working a job order with asks if are you sending this person to more than one opening. They were almost ashamed to say yes. 

I would probably say “Absolutely. You did not believe in exclusivity. I am surprised why you are asking for it in your candidate. Let me ask you, if you hire somebody else, how much money do you send me? Nothing. That is the deal and I am okay with that. I took it. So I have to leverage and mitigate my risk meaning we all know Joe is outstanding. I have got Joe interviewing at 3 places. You better hurry up because he is going to get an offer from at least 2 of them”. Be proud of sending candidates to multiple people when on contingency.  

But in this situation, I am not sure why you would send a candidate to another opportunity when it is money up front. But having said that, in this situation I am dealing with human beings and I am not going to try to persuade somebody what is in their best interest. I am going to help them identify what is in their best interest, and I do not want to skew it, meaning yes, in a perfect world you would cash 2 checks here. But I am sensitive to the fact that this human being has to go to work every day and hopefully be fulfilled for the next few years. So whatever conclusion they come to, they come to it by themselves.  

Now, if the opportunity for candidate B is better with #2 I am going to ask a series of questions. I am going to do a lot of prep work.  

I am going to remind them of their vision for their career was these 3 or 4 things you really wanted going forward were A, B, C, and D, and ask if that still true, candidate B?   

If that is still true I would explain, “When we look at the 2 opportunities and again it is a horserace, there is you and another, I just have to be honest, I have 2 finalists of which you are one for position #1, but when we look at position #2 – I only say this by the way, Pete, if it is true because you said on paper it is better – these areas make position #2 appear better paper, what are your thoughts on that?”  

Another question you can always ask people is, and I forgot where I got this from, but have used it for over 20 years, “Imagine you are walking down a street and you have both opportunities on either side of the street, company #1, company #2, which one is most appealing and why?”   

Because it is not uncommon at the end of this process for emotions really to take over. The only thing you have at the end of a process is the data you have collected at about their wants, needs, and desires at the earlier part of the process and through the interview process where they were probably more open with you than at the end, which if they are trying to negotiate they might be a little bit more guarded. 

So I do not know if I am giving you the answer you want, but the answer is continuing to ask really, really good questions and helping them uncover what is best for themselves, but then saying, holding out the threat which is not a threat, it is the true possibility that they will not get the job with company #1. It is 50/50.   

Hopefully, that helps.

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