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Talent Acquisition

Recruiters, Do You Secretly Envy The Millionaire Matchmaker?

Okay, I don’t usually watch The Millionaire Matchmaker.  I only happened to catch it last night because (and I’m totally stealing my co-worker Craig’s lame excuse here) I lost my remote somewhere in my house last night, thus crippling my efforts to change the channel and forcing me to watch it.  If you’re not familiar with this Emmy-worthy show, it’s about professional matchmaker Patti Stanger‘s adventures in finding love matches for single millionaires.  

Anyway, somewhere between scenes of awkward date #1 and awkward date #2, it occurred to me how much Stanger (baby doll dresses and generous use of bronzer aside) is like a headhunter.  After all, what recruiter can’t relate to the pressure to deliver the best matches possible to a customer in hopes that one of these candidates will be become its happily-ever-after?

Stanger’s often faced with the dilemma of trying to match up men who are a far cry from the Jonas brothers with their hearts desires – that usually being tall, leggy models who are decades their junior and way out of their leagues. (Seriously, one 40-something bachelor described his ideal woman as “Cindy Crawford, 20 years ago.”)

But whereas Stanger has the luxury of using a “tough love” approach to give her clients a reality check about how prospects actually see them (“I’m like, ‘Who the hell do you think you are? You’re not Brad Pitt meets George Clooney. You’re not a big wheeler-dealer on TV, loaded and gorgeous. Get over it,’” she recalls telling a client last year); you’re likely forced to take a softer approach.

Think about it: Could you ever get away with directly telling a client, “You’re not Google meets Zappos! Get over it!”?  Or what about, “You ask stupid interview questions!”?  Not likely, I’m guessing.  (A part of you wishes you could, though, right?) 

At the end of the day, when all cuss words have been said and spray tans done, Patti finds the best possible match she can for her clients.  Now, these matches don’t always turn out to be the Giselle Bündchen lookalikes these men initially want, but they’re often, Stanger believes, what these guys need (say, a woman who would tolerate a stripper pole in her boyfriend’s living room, perhaps?) – that is, if these men are sincere in their stated desires to find long-term love with women with whom they have common interests.

And maybe it’s her tall stature or the overpowering shine from her raven hair, but when Stanger yells talks, her clients listen (for the most part).  She gets to give her clients “emotional makeovers” (see above George Clooney reference) as well as physical ones to sufficiently position them to woo prospects and transform a first date into a lasting relationship.  

But (as much as you might be inclined to at times), you can’t exactly walk into a client’s office and tell him that his bleeping company culture is the reason he can’t retain a bleeping employee for more than six bleeping months (exclamation point). 

So how do YOU overcome the dilemma when clients ask for the types of candidates they want (but whom you know won’t be interested/affordable/possible to retain) and the types of candidates you feel they could attract (though they might be less than ideal)?  How do you keep your more, ahem, difficult clients happy?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
11 comments
James Gibson
James Gibson

I Have a wish to be part of her crew. lol

James Gibson
James Gibson

I Have a wish to be part of her crew. lol

Susan Duva
Susan Duva

I haven't seen the TV show but I think the candid and blunt advise given to the Matchmakers clients is most likely good for TV ratings and not a real business tool. However, as an experienced Recruiter we have all faced this dilemma. I agree with Jeanne, we must politely advice the client of realistic expectations. If we accept the assignment without realistic expectations we end up with a fall off and have to do it all over again and again.

Susan Duva
Susan Duva

I haven't seen the TV show but I think the candid and blunt advise given to the Matchmakers clients is most likely good for TV ratings and not a real business tool. However, as an experienced Recruiter we have all faced this dilemma. I agree with Jeanne, we must politely advice the client of realistic expectations. If we accept the assignment without realistic expectations we end up with a fall off and have to do it all over again and again.

Jeanne Miller;  San Diego
Jeanne Miller; San Diego

I think it is our responsibility as experts to counsel a client on their expectations. Frank, candid, yet ALWAYS professional advise/feedback is one of the most important aspects of our service.

If you speak the truth out of a genuine desire to help your client it can make even sensitive topics easier to approach. Understand they may not change (for various reasons); but my bet is if handled correctly, they will respect you for being straight with them and you will gain their respect.

Jeanne Miller; San Diego
Jeanne Miller; San Diego

I think it is our responsibility as experts to counsel a client on their expectations. Frank, candid, yet ALWAYS professional advise/feedback is one of the most important aspects of our service.

If you speak the truth out of a genuine desire to help your client it can make even sensitive topics easier to approach. Understand they may not change (for various reasons); but my bet is if handled correctly, they will respect you for being straight with them and you will gain their respect.

Prorecruiter for high end candidates
Prorecruiter for high end candidates

I've been doing this long enough to know to run from the difficult clients. If the client doesn't get it and won't listen to you FIRE THEM. If they don't jump on your candidates when you advise them to do so FIRE THEM. If they can't pay the required salaries for the talent then they probably can't pay your fees either. Let some newbie knuckle head recruiter waste their time searching for the impossible. Then the client can get flooded with resumes that match only by words. Now the client’s time is wasted sorting through nothing but garbage. May be they need that to see the value in a seasoned recruiter that knows the market and skill set. If you don’t have any clients then by all means take what you can get but an experienced recruiter knows to focus on viable business; business that can close. What so many recruiters forget is that we offer a service that you can’t put a price tag on. We get the people in the seats and without that the company could not function, projects would not complete and money would be lost.

Prorecruiter for high end candidates
Prorecruiter for high end candidates

I've been doing this long enough to know to run from the difficult clients. If the client doesn't get it and won't listen to you FIRE THEM. If they don't jump on your candidates when you advise them to do so FIRE THEM. If they can't pay the required salaries for the talent then they probably can't pay your fees either. Let some newbie knuckle head recruiter waste their time searching for the impossible. Then the client can get flooded with resumes that match only by words. Now the client’s time is wasted sorting through nothing but garbage. May be they need that to see the value in a seasoned recruiter that knows the market and skill set. If you don’t have any clients then by all means take what you can get but an experienced recruiter knows to focus on viable business; business that can close. What so many recruiters forget is that we offer a service that you can’t put a price tag on. We get the people in the seats and without that the company could not function, projects would not complete and money would be lost.

Michael Long
Michael Long

This has and will continue to be a dilemma in the search business. My approach has always been to hear the client out first and then make suggestions. Those suggestions should be based on market insight. If the client doesn't like your response... well, perhaps you need to move on. It's a tough conversation to have, but it must be done.

One thing that must be considered in these less-than-favorable economic times, is that our reputations will follow us when things go back to normal. You can accept a bad search now, but if you do, you run the risk of hurting your reputation in the long run.

Dating and recruiting are so similar!

Thanks for the post!

Michael Long
Michael Long

This has and will continue to be a dilemma in the search business. My approach has always been to hear the client out first and then make suggestions. Those suggestions should be based on market insight. If the client doesn't like your response... well, perhaps you need to move on. It's a tough conversation to have, but it must be done.

One thing that must be considered in these less-than-favorable economic times, is that our reputations will follow us when things go back to normal. You can accept a bad search now, but if you do, you run the risk of hurting your reputation in the long run.

Dating and recruiting are so similar!

Thanks for the post!

RecruitStar
RecruitStar

Great article.

I watched the show last week and was literally jealous of her ability to be so candid with clients. I wish as recruiters we could be as blunt.

Thinking about a career change. I wonder how much matchmakers make? LOL

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  2. [...] recruitment and talent management…I’m referring of course to TV’s Millionaire Matchmaker, who I’ve once likened to a talent recruiter in how she is often challenged with finding a happy medium between giving her clients what they [...]

  3. [...] recruitment and talent management…I’m referring of course to TV’s Millionaire Matchmaker, who I’ve once likened to a talent recruiter in how she is often challenged with finding a happy medium between giving her clients what they [...]

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