Qualithoughts by: Arlet Villanueva, People4People, Former Business Development Executive

How many times has it happened that you endorsed a seemingly perfect profile to a client, only to be ignored in the next couple of days? You waited and waited for their response knowing that their requirement is urgent – but to no avail. It then becomes very easy to drop the client and label them as unresponsive and insincere.

This is a dangerous approach in the corporate world. Dropping a client unnecessarily could mean a big opportunity cost for your organization. Consequently, if a competitor gets the client’s trust, then you lose all kinds of future leverage from them. Hence it is very important to handle clients’ concerns carefully – even if they are initially perceived as unresponsive and insincere.

Besides, most hiring managers’ reasons for being unresponsive to their headhunters does not always boil down to sincerity or the lack thereof, but one of the following:

1. The hiring manager is so busy that he overlooked your email.

We all have that moment when we thought we replied to an email or message but actually didn’t. Afterwards, we passively wait for a reply that never comes. As a recruiter, the best thing to do is follow up immediately after sending an email. Inform the other party of your message and tell him that you shall be waiting for his reply. Additionally, ask when you can call back for any questions or clarifications.

2. It took you too long to reply that the hiring manager found another partner whom he finds as more reliable.

Always acknowledge your client’s message. If he asks you to do something that would require time on your end, tell him. Inform him of when he can get feedback and do so when the time comes. Failing to do so would trigger your client to look for someone else to rely on.

3. The endorsements you gave him was obviously not what he was asking for

Before endorsing a candidate, make sure that the candidate is qualified according to the client’s instructions. If ever you find an exceptional profile, but has qualities that are a mismatch with your client’s preference, then be upfront about it and don’t just passively wish that the client will notice that such a mismatch would be insignificant considering the candidate’s other qualities. Otherwise, the hiring manager might feel that you are disregarding their preferences.

4. There have been changes in the client’s priorities

It can’t be helped, sometimes there will be clients that become passive aggressive when it comes to responding. They will not reply or give constructive feedback. If you have exhausted all means to get in touch and the client is still withdrawn, then send them a final email asking if there have been changes since your initial talks. If there have been, ask how you can help and if help is still needed. Respectfully inform the client that you shall be refocusing your efforts if help is not needed anymore. Make sure to end in good terms so as to keep the relationship favorable for any future negotiations.

Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of the context and regard for the other person is lost. If things don’t go as planned, we then become incline to shift the blame to the other party – the client is unresponsive, insincere, etc. Such is a dynamic that we must try to avoid as we mature. It’s time we put matters into our own hands.


Think about it from another perspective – say your relationship with your candidates whereas you stand as the client. How many times has it happened that you were unable to get back to them? Was it because you were insincere