I had a telephone conversation with a client who heads a very successful consulting practice. He informed me that I should curtail my recruiting efforts on his behalf because he is getting pushback from upper management concerning the number of placements that I have made with him. It appears that upper management is taking a close look at operating budgets, specifically placement fees.

Sure they are interested in growing their business and they have enough prospects in the pipeline, some could pop at any moment, however they feel that it makes more business sense to bring new consultants onboard only after the new business is onboard. The real concern is that they have seen too many sure deals fall apart at the eleventh hour and they are very cautious about having new hires sitting around with nothing to do because of a lack of work.

I told him that I completely understood the situation, but before I had a chance to explain, he became very defensive and told me that I didn’t quite understand.

As I listened, I realized that I heard only half the story!

Here’s what he said: what do you think would happen if one or two of those prospects in the pipeline pop?

Before I could respond, he interjected, the situation would be worst; my staff would be overworked. And when your staff is overloaded with work, they become unhappy and some will end up going to another company. When you have a group of unhappy workers they will under perform. And when they under perform, they produce inferior quality work. Inferior quality work will adversely impact one’s reputation and a bad reputation will generate fewer clients. Fewer clients generate lower profits. And lower profit will certainly gets upper managements‘s attention. Upper management will agree that we need to “right-size” and add more consultants to our staff. We will then reach out to you to help us find some good candidates; and only then you will understand the difficulty of recruiting candidates for an organization that is perceived as a sweat shop in the marketplace.