As a small agency – we find ourselves in an interesting “predicament” at the moment: Which assignments should we work on? Now while I’m personally overjoyed with the opportunities at hand – I’ve got to make some tough decisions here.

Normally the clients that get our attention are the ones with the highest CUE ratings. For those that haven’t heard of it – CUE is pretty simple. We look at three things: Cooperation, Urgency and Expectation. When one of these areas is lacking it makes the decision pretty easy. In fact – without either cooperation, a need to hire NOW or a realistic expectation of salary vs. skills vs. availability – it’s nearly impossible to be successful.

But what do we do when there are several clients who need to hire NOW and offer every bit of cooperation we could hope for – combined with having realistic expecations of the talent available?

I’m in a quandary……

So as I’ve thought about our situation this morning I’ve come to the realization that another level of criteria needs to join the CUE. I’m going to add an “S”: Strategic.

What placements (if made) offer the biggest strategic impact for the future? How should we look at this? Multiple hires? Is this client in a marketplace that is expanding? If they are contract roles – which ones should last longer? Are there any critical hires that would help us strengthen our role with the client? What about recruiting on the positions in HR? Or for the leadership team…..placements which may offer a stronger client relationship in the future?

Oh my. So many things to consider. I love this profession!

Thoughts anyone?


3 thoughts on “Choices….

  1. Great message. The success of in-house recruiting campaigns and small agency effectiveness sometime boils down to a partnership toward a common goal. I’m sending your CUES criteria to some corp recruiters who need to know what goes on in the minds of their partners…some don’t get it. Congrats on your “predicament” and for the sake of all of us I hope this is a sign that the economy is making a turn for the best.

  2. I found my self in this predicament about 3 years ago, so I started working with my clients in the same capacity as some lawyers do. I asked existing clients a very simple question: Have I earned the right to do business with you? (not my preferred vendors) I changed my contingency contract to include an “engagement fee”. The fee is based on an agreed daily or weekly rate, so no matter the issues arising from budget cuts or hiring freezes etc, I am always paid for my time. This allows me to concentrate and work with only serious clients and make sure they understand my time is not free. Im not working on as many assignments as before but Im earning more for the time I put in on new searches – and its a great bridge to retainer work.

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