How to Set Realistic Targets With Your Recruitment Clients in 2023


If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there. Setting targets from a personal and business perspective is vital to getting to your end goal and understanding what direction you should be moving in – onwards and upwards, most likely! Without something to aim for you can fall into a trap of drifting along – however, setting unrealistic targets can also be detrimental. The moment you agree upon an unrealistic target, you are setting yourself up to fail.

With over 26% of recruitment agencies failing to meet their client’s expectations and 19% facing client retention problems, it’s no secret that managing expectations can be a huge issue. BOE forecasts show that the UK is facing almost two years without growth, starting in 2023 – which means that retaining your current clients will become an even more pressing matter.

Luckily, we come to the rescue! Here’s a fool-proof guide on how to set realistic targets with your clients in those uncertain times.

Understand their needs

This one might be obvious, yet too many recruiters still forget about making the needs of their clients the most important thing in their job. As much as it’s lovely to land that perfect placement and get a juicy fee, you won’t have many of those if you don’t fully understand what your client wants and/or needs! And one of the more difficult parts is, they don’t always tell you. Ask questions, listen (really listen), reply with genuine interest, and show your understanding. Know your client’s business, and bring new ideas to the table - it will benefit you both in the long term.

Keep them up to date – and be honest!

Always circle back to your client. With times being shaky, you need to show that your services are everything but. You’re the expert in the field, so speaking with confidence about the current market and making sure you’re transparent about the situation is the smartest move you can make. If you don’t highlight when times are tough, they’ll simply take the view that you can’t do the job you agreed on. Loop them in on the market – they’re trusting you to be the eyes and ears of the industry.

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Set realistic expectations

Communication and transparency will be your saviour. Sit down with your client and make sure they understand what they can expect from you, your company, and the market. Don’t sign terms that don’t sit right and set boundaries. And remember about clear goals and steps for the project (plus, ensure everything is in writing!).

Don’t be scared to push back – you know your field

One of the biggest mistakes I see recruiters make is not speaking up when the client or prospect is indecisive, rude, or trying to push opinions that simply aren’t true. At the end of the day, you are the expert in your field – and you are meant to know better than anyone what’s the right approach. So don’t be scared to stand your ground and show that you know what you’re talking about!

Follow through on your word

Don’t overpromise and underdeliver –that’s another huge mistake almost every recruiter has made at some point. It’s always better to be realistic about the market and your abilities. If the market suddenly shifts or you’re unable to provide the right candidate, simply say so. Or better yet – make the right research beforehand and ensure you’re giving your client the raw truth. They will respect you more when you are honest about not being able to provide them with what they initially wanted (and show them evidence and data that support your word) rather than promise to do something and then not deliver the results.

To learn about the details of planning a winning strategy for 2023, read our eBook below!

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Joanne Causer

Joanne is a Senior Growth Specialist at Firefish. She loves bringing on board new recruiters who are looking to recruit smarter.

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