Competencies of a recruitment consultant

10/12 – Client Relationships

Client Relationships


This blog is written to aid both managers when recruiting and appraising staff and consultants in the recruitment industry, so that they can determine their own level of competence in what they do – this is the 10th post in a series of twelve. 

The definition of relationship in the dictionary is as follows: – ‘the way in which two or more people (or things) are connected, or the state of being connected’.

 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a term that’s only been around in the mainstream during this century really, but it’s always been there. Building a relationship with a client takes time and effort, from both parties. It’s important that when contact is made that it is beneficial to both.

 When training recruitment consultants, I see that too often they are either lazy or uncomprehending of the fact that they have to put effort into building the relationship with the client. Calling every month and asking “Have you got any vacancies?” is just not going to cut it!

They need to create a strategy that lasts at least 13 weeks, whereby they have specific activities that they pan to do with that client… and then carry them out. After the quarter, they can review their progress and plan the next quarter. Each time aiming to improve the relationship.

The consultant – client relationship has 6 stages: –


  • Contact
  • Acceptance
  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Loyalty
  • Advocacy


What are you doing to move your client to #6?


Purpose: – The purpose for a recruitment consultant is to establish rapport by demonstrating a clear understanding of the client’s changing business.  Relate confidently with the client, whilst giving and receiving information on the solutions to be put in place.

    • Tell me about some clients that you have had working relationships with:
    • How do you define a working relationship?
    • What are the key stages when building a relationship?
    • What do you see as the benefits of longer term relationships with clients? 
    • Describe a client that you have successfully developed a relationship with over time:
    • How did you start the process?
    • What specifically did you do to ensure that momentum was maintained?
    • What have you learnt about building client relationships from this?


    • Give an example of a client that you would like to develop a relationship with currently:
    • What has made you select this client?
    • How are you establishing their needs?
    • What specifically is your role in this process?



High level of competence shown

  • Enhances the relationship through continually improving the levels of information and service.
  • Appreciates the need to maintain the relationship in the longer term, (reliability, regular communication, keeping promises)
  • Utilises the open relationship with the client to enable them to resolve manpower issues which are of value to their business

Each week I’m tackling a new competency and I will follow the same format of purpose, questions and three examples of what a high level of that competency would look like.




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About the Author

Angela Cripps is a globally experienced trainer, Managing Director of the Recruiting Gym, management consultant, executive coach, board advisor, mentor and performance specialist who has been working within the recruitment industry for over 30 years.  

Her aim is to make companies more successful and profitable through the development of their people and processes – with a current focus on APac companies. She has worked with over 150 SMEs throughout the world in 16 different countries and her LinkedIn recommendations are a testament to the impact she can have on a business.