Can we be exclusive?

Can we go Exclusive? The eternal question for young star-crossed recruiters to a new client they have just engaged with.

Most consultants across the industry are measured on “exclusivity” & their sales managers have exclusivity as a KPI to be reported on, set targets, and incentivise their staff around but are they just kidding themselves?

Is “Exclusivity” a realistic concept that can be reciprocated between client and consultant, it is certainly not a legally binding agreement, so is it just a desperate need for some consultants & their managers to inflate their ego’s?

Let’s just consider this from a human perspective. You are having a drink with friends and someone comes over and offers to get you a drink from the bar in return for not speaking to any of your friends again for the rest of the evening and then goes one further in asking you to sign an agreement confirming this. This may sound like a dream depending on your disposition although I am sure most of us would be offering a short 2-word response.

So why should this work in a recruitment scenario? However your business categorises or dissects its job data, statistics will show that the greater the commitment level on jobs the better the chances of making a placement & therefore justifying the act to continue to push for the perverse request for exclusivity when courting clients?

As a consultant are you more energised, motivated or focused by securing exclusivity based on your understanding of the formula >Exclusivity = >Placement or is a simple yes in what can be a world full of “no’s” enough motivation to perform better and speak to more candidates required to fill the job regardless of knowing deep down that the client could still be looking at CV’s from other agencies

As a client does the mental commitment of exclusive agreements prepare you to be more open to filling your vacancy by freeing your diary time, seeing a wider range of candidates or just more acceptant of the candidates delivered by the agent you have committed to?

Whatever the reason the numbers don’t lie and exclusivity does provide better returns from an agencies perspective however what does exclusivity offer you as a client?

Access to better candidates? No. The candidates you will be provided will come from the same job board, database or networking search that would have been carried out on any normal vacancy worked.

Increased service levels? In most cases No. Despite what you may be offered when being sold the notion of exclusivity, you will be more than likely dealt with in the same way as all other clients.

Better rates? Not necessarily. If anything, you could potentially open to pay more by agreeing to exclusivity without a firm fee structure in place.

Consultants exclusively working on your requirement? No, or any resource team you have been promised.

Limiting the number of consultants, you have to speak to? Yes, if all calls are filtered back through the agency you have agreed exclusivity with although this will not stop others attempting to sell you candidates in the knowledge you have a live vacancy.

So why sign up exclusively with an agency?

In the case of the agency and consultant the motivation it is obvious. In most cases by offering very little in the way of extra’s you will quadruple the chances of a making a fee by securing exclusivity on your vacancy.

From a client’s perspective, and taking into consideration the points above is there any reason to offer exclusivity on your role other than limiting the number of consultants you wish to speak to?  In the short term, no, much the same as you wouldn’t agree to being exclusive with someone after just meeting them in a bar.

Longer term exclusive partnerships are where true value lies. A true reciprocated exclusivity built on the inherent knowledge an agency and client have built up over time. Whether it’s the trust derived from continued successful delivery of candidates or the mistakes you have made in hiring cycle previously. Be it a refined interview process achieved through analysing ratios and continuous improvement or shared partnership goals established from regular reviews and objective setting sessions. The point remains that exclusivity isn’t achieved overnight or off the back of a single call, it’s organically grown from expertise earned within a field or sector or an understanding of your business department and personal goals built up over time.

The next time you are told “the best way for ME to fill this job is to work exclusively” it may be prudent not to commit too soon or at least ensure you receive the added value from the commitment you are offering.

Engenerate Ltd provides a growing network of professionals within the Energy and Engineering sector. For more opinion about the industry or sector please follow me on LinkedIn our blog @ENGenerate or

Can we be exclusive?

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