Every independent recruiter experiences it, a valuable but pushy client who tests the limits of your tolerance. And it’s in those moments that your professional and interpersonal skills are tested. How can you set limits with a pushy client and still keep the relationship? Below are a few tips:
- Set expectations clearly and early. Before entering into a business relationship with any client, spell out the terms of your agreement in writing. What do they want you to do? And what are they giving you for your services? Don’t allow any vague language to replace what should be very specific. Everyone should know the expectations upfront.
- Don’t let them violate the rules. Pushy clients will always try to get more out of you than the agreement states. To avoid being taken advantage of, enforce any rules and penalties you have in place. Remember, being too flexible will send a pushy client the message that you’re a doormat.
- When bending the rules for a pushy client, ask for concessions. For example, if a pushy client wants you to do a rush job, charge a rush fee. Whenever you consider giving a little slack to a pushy client, make sure they’re required to give something back.
- Avoid making threats and stick with limits. When dealing with unreasonable demands from a pushy client, avoid making empty threats. Simply restate the terms of your agreement, why you can’t concede to their demands, and enforce any punishments you have spelled out in the agreement.
As a legal recruiter, you’ll be forced to deal with people who want to take advantage, but it’s up to you to set expectations, enforce rules, and be willing to walk away from abusive client relationships.