This post originally appeared on Staffing Talk: 3 Things Millionaire Matchmaker Teaches Us About Recruiting.
By Pamela Laksana
With a new season of The Millionaire Matchmaker upon us, it seemed like a timely reminder of just how similar the worlds of matchmaking and recruiting are. For those who’ve never seen the Bravo reality show (or won’t admit to it), The Millionaire Matchmaker follows the professional adventures of Patti Stanger, a New York-based matchmaker who caters specifically to millionaires.
One might argue that this show is just another “reality” series that
draws its audience from those who enjoy watching a good train wreck. But isn’t that sometimes how this high-pressure industry feels sometimes? When it comes down to it, the responsibilities and challenges Stanger faces in her job are not far from those of recruiters. Stanger is often faced with the challenge of setting expectations with her clients, trying to understand their needs, and acting as a consultant to help them attract better candidates. She is also often under great stress to deliver the best matches possible to her clients in hopes that one of these candidates will be the perfect match – a feeling to which many recruiters can relate.
Sure, she may not always act like the consummate professional (she’s lost her cool more than once while cameras are rolling), and she gets her fair share of criticism from clients and candidates, but every once in a while, she offers some surprisingly insightful observations about relationships that apply to the world of recruiting. Given her “VERY high success rate” with matches – and the success of her own business – recruiters could stand to take a page or two out of her proverbial handbook.
Consider the following relationship advice Stanger has given on past shows, and then see how you can apply them to your own job in the recruitment industry.
- “The problem with men looking for the Holy Grail is: the Holy Grail doesn’t exist!” Stanger knows how to set realistic expectations with clients. Likewise, as a recruiter, you need to do the same. We’re in the midst of a talent gap, and sometimes that “ideal candidate” clients are looking for just isn’t within arms’ reach. No matter how good your sourcing skills, if the talent isn’t there, it isn’t there. You need to make your clients aware of this reality (be ready to show them statistical data of the supply and demand of talent in their area and industry), and suggest they assess which skills they’re willing to train for, expand their search criteria, re-evaluate their compensation package – or all three, depending on the particular issue.
- “I don’t care who you are. If you treat women like crap, you’re a narcissist or a bragosaurus, you’re out.” Being a narcissist is the dating world equivalent of having a terrible workforce culture that only sets employees up for failure. Stanger refuses to take on clients whom she knows are not going to treat those she sets them up with well. The lesson? Know when to walk away. Good recruiters take the time to really understand their clients’ organizations. If you know your client has a terrible culture and treats employees terrible, you may want to reconsider working with them. If you’re recommending candidates to work at a company where you know the culture is toxic, you’re only creating a terrible brand for yourself – clients blame you for providing them with candidates who do not stick around, while candidates start to mistrust your recommendations.
- “Unless you’re a movie star like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, or Michael Douglas, you’re not getting action in the real world unless you’ve got bank. The buck brings the beauties.” Albeit, not the most inspiring quote about love and dating, but when it comes to clients who want to bring in the “beauties” of top-notch talent, money definitely talks; however, it’s also important to know that if your clients can’t afford to offer the most competitive salary, they may be able to compensate for it in other areas: for example, do they offer flexible work hours, ample opportunities for advancement, a fun, laid-back work environment or unique office perks? Help your clients see their employee value proposition and use that to sell candidates.
While there’s a laundry list of things Stanger says to clients that no sane recruiter would ever say (outside of their own dreams, at least), she does know the value of telling clients what they need to hear – even if it’s not always want that want to hear. There’s something to be said about being up-front and candid with clients. Stanger realizes that simply telling clients what they want to hear doesn’t do them any favors. Instead, she gives them information they can use to make changes that will attract more desirable candidates – a practice all recruiters should practice (just, again, with less colorful language). Not only will you build trust with clients, you will also enhance your personal brand, as they recommend you to others and keep you around for future needs.
Pamela Laksana is a regional sales manager in CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting Group. She leads a team of account executives in providing effective recruiting solutions to mid-to-large size staffing and recruiting firms throughout the West Coast. Pamela graduated from DePaul and worked in P.R. before joining CareerBuilder in 06.