Guide to Improving Recruitment Client Retention

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 10/07/2022
recruitment client retention

This article is written for recruitment agencies that are looking for ways to keep their clients on board for longer. We live in a time when recruitment client retention is only possible by combining the human touch with automation technology - and this is the topic we’ll be exploring.




It’s not a secret that it’s cheaper to keep the existing clients than to attract new ones. Although some may argue that if a recruitment firm keeps a client for too long it means they aren’t doing a great job - we digress. No agency is the same, and therefore the understanding of recruitment client retention differs. To some, it means the continuous supplement of candidates through the years. To others, it means multiple one-off collaborations throughout the years. But all in all, all kinds of recruiters agree that it’s much easier to work with a company they’re familiar with than starting fresh with a new one. 

Regardless of what type of recruitment firm you are, there’s one universal client retention formula for the industry. Having worked with a huge selection of agencies throughout the years, we have realised what it was - and we are eager to share it with you. So, if you’re struggling with recruitment client retention, you should carry on reading.

Client Retention in Recruitment 

While client retention is crucial in every industry, it can be a particularly sore topic in recruitment, where the competition is always growing. With plenty of options available on the market, clients have more power than ever. Simply put, the smallest miscommunication or a less-than-expected delivery can make a client take their business right to your biggest competitor. While naturally, this means the recruitment firms should be going out of their way to bettering their services and client treatment - this is not something we observe. It’s worth pointing out that the problem here isn’t malice, but the fact most firms aren’t sure where to begin. 

The answer is simple - begin with the client. In this article, we will guide you through the creation of a more personalised and intimate experience for your clientele, understanding their needs better and adding value beyond the scope. All that without sacrificing our firm’s productivity or authenticity. Did we get you intrigued? If yes, carry on reading…

Relationship Maintenance Makes the Difference

Building a relationship in which both parties are proven to collaborate as opposed to providing and receiving services results in long-term partnerships both parties benefit from. The recruitment agency gets to retain a client, whereas the client receives services tailored specifically to their needs. That leads to clearer and better communication with the longevity of the partnership. The key to retaining your recruitment clients is proving to them you are genuinely working with them towards their success. 

Stay in Touch and Be Proactive

The most common mistake observed in recruitment is that client communication is only planned up to the point of closing the sale. And let’s face it - no one likes to feel like they’re a cog in a revenue-generating machine. Therefore it’s important to keep the communication going even after the client becomes a client. Depending on the size of your agency, you should always aim to get to know your clients personally and prove to them you care more than to collect their money. There’s no need to go out of your way and host fancy dinner parties - small things like birthday or holiday cards go a long way.

Another frequently seen recruitment client retention mistake is not being proactive in meeting the client’s needs. Sure, most clients come with a specific problem they want to solve, but to secure yourself as a trusted advisor and a long-term partner you need to go an extra mile to keep on adding value. You should always be ready to shoulder any potential problem that may arise in a client account; in fact, you should make sure to have it dealt with before it even becomes an issue. When client feels they are getting more than what they’ve originally asked for and are continuously cared about, they will be more likely to stay with you.

Set, Communicate and Meet Expectations

There is nothing more damaging to a professional relationship than disappointment. In turn, dissatisfied clients are more likely to walk away from you, blowing a hit to your retention rates. The best way of preventing it from happening is to set clear expectations early on. For this, you first need to understand what the client is after, separating musts from nice-to-haves. Of course, it’s not up to you entirely as your client knows their business best - this is where it’s important to communicate and explain your standpoint being a specialist opinion they can take or not take on board. 

An approach we would suggest is requesting a client to put their expectations on the list, alongside the goals they wish to achieve. In other words, instead of telling the client what they need, your stance should be focused on listening to what they need, then judging whether something you can do or not. It’s crucial to estimate your capacities and not overpromise - the only way to ensure your partnership works out is to deliver exactly what you said you will, on time or earlier. And, preferably, with a little extra on top.

Personalise with Automation

Many still believe that personalisation is impossible when the processes are automated. We rush to ensure you that’s untrue. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Very often it’s thanks to automation you can understand the needs of your clients better, therefore leading to more accurate communication the moment a living person steps in. That is true for both, internal and client-related automation. So, let us elaborate…

Automate for the Client

Your clients hate mundane repetitive tasks as much as you do - and thus instead of looking for candidates themselves, they are turning to you for the services. While you won’t be directly automating any of the processes of the client’s business, you can and should automate some of the tasks you run for them. Such would be job posting, infrastructure management, candidate screening, and many others. 

Not only will this help you work quicker and more efficiently, in turn delivering better and more accurate results, but it will free a lot of time for you and your staff. The time that can be repurposed into developing further unique relationships with the clients. A combination of all these factors will give your client retention a massive boost: and all that’s needed is a selection of good automation tools.

Automate Internal Processes

Client-oriented processes aren’t the only ones you should automate. If anything, there are plenty of internal processes to be addressed too. For example - new employee onboarding. The quicker you bring your new hires up to speed, the faster they’ll be able to start contributing to your agency’s growth. An increased workforce usually leads to scalability (client attraction) and more even distribution of work (client retention). 

Other areas to automate could be invoicing. Instead of relying on your accountancy department spending hours on client invoicing, you could equip them with a tool that does it for them within minutes. Additionally, especially with number-sensitive processes like billing, automation will reduce the chance of human error. This means that you won’t be exposing jeopardy of client retention by accidentally charging them the wrong amount; nor will you be losing the money if the mistake works in the client’s favour. In other words, automation is as beneficial for completing client tasks as it is for bettering your business operations. 

Client Success Brings You Success

Everything good starts with the right mindset. If you want to improve your client retention for the sake of generating more revenue as opposed to serving them better - you’re not on the right path. What we’ve been trying to communicate in this article so far is that a recruitment firm truly excels and scales by understanding and prioritising its clients. Simply put, the more success you bring to your clients, the more eager to continue working with you they will be - making you just as successful. 

Investing In Future Together

It may sound corny, but you need to become customer-centred in order to maintain high levels of client retention. This doesn’t mean following the mantra of the ‘customer is always right’, but rather adopting a level of flexibility in which every prospect (not even a client!) feels they are personally cared for. While it is certainly challenging, the results are going to be worth it. 

Additionally, with a wide range of different automation solutions available at your disposal, this is not an unrealistic goal at all. Taking over simple tasks like employee shift scheduling or timesheet management, utilising intuitive tools, may seem like a small gesture but it will go a long way with the client. Instead of focusing on attracting as many new clients as possible, rather invest in improving your level of service to the existing ones by putting them first. This will enable you to grow and strive together. 


While client retention is more financially profitable to recruitment agencies than bringing new clients on board, this shouldn’t be the reason a company should focus on it. Working with the same client for a lengthier period of time builds mutual trust and therefore leads to better collaboration - and this is the reason you should have for wanting to improve recruitment client retention. 

There is no secret as such. All you have to do is add value to the services you provide by being human and caring personally. In the modern age, we are blessed with software that supports this approach and therefore leaves you with no excuses. So, what are you waiting for? Your recruitment firm is as successful as you make your clients be. 

Are you ready to bring them success? We are

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