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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Client and Candidate Relationships – The Key to Building Trust

It is a commonly held belief that trust is the most important component of building successful relationships. Everyone knows this is true of personal relationships, but is undeniably true for professional ones as well. It is particularly critical for recruiters who are often trying to build strong connections with multiple stakeholders – candidates looking to make career moves, and client companies looking to leverage a recruitment firms’ expertise. Establishing trust in these relationships is critical to a recruiter’s ability to provide high quality service to all relevant patrons.
When a candidate trusts a recruiter, they readily offer full transparency. They tend to disclose other opportunities that they are exploring, or give their honest opinions about a given position or company. They are likely forthright about whether or not they would accept an offer should it come their way, and are blunt and sincere when explaining why. When a candidate maintains such open lines of communication, it helps their recruiter assist them in in finding the most ideal role for them.
Similarly, when a client company trusts their recruiting partner, they tend to disclose highly relevant, albeit sometimes sensitive, information. They may note some potential flexibility on compensation, or divulge organizational changes that could hinder or promote a new hires’ career trajectory. They have a tendency of interviewing submitted candidates more readily, and offer candid feedback about those individuals. When a client maintains these open lines of communication, a recruiter is far more equipped to find the ‘right’ person for a given role.
Trust is the key to open communication and information, and these two things are vital to effective recruiting. This begs one very simple question – how does a recruiter build trust?
In my opinion, the answer is relatively straightforward. A recruiter builds trust by taking the above paradigm and flipping it on its head. To build trust and earn open communication and information from candidates and clients alike, a recruiter must initiate this trend. They cannot expect their counterparts to start this style first. When a recruiter partners with a company to fill a role, it is infinitely valuable to communicate openly and honestly about the upcoming search. Recruiters should communicate the genuine truth about past success in a similar market or with a similar search. This shows a client they are willing to be honest and humble, which in turn builds trust. Recruiters should set clear and realistic expectations about search time frames and strategy. This sets the tone for transparency and candor. Additionally, keeping the conversation open and ongoing, and noting each success as well as any setbacks, enhances the trust already built.
This is also true with candidates. When a candidate is being considered for a role, they are eager to receive an offer. With that said, an offer does not guarantee a long standing and trusting relationship. Instead, keeping someone abreast of exactly how a search is progressing is more likely to affect the depth and longevity of a relationship. Even contacting a candidate to tell them that you do not yet have an update illustrates your commitment to maintain direct and open communication. This in turn increases a candidate’s willingness to offer full transparency and obvert communication.
Above are just some of the instances where recruiters have the ability to set the parameters around their professional relationships. There are many others and it would benefit recruiters and recruitment firms to spend time thinking about how to identify where they can establish this foundation of trust.
Trust is the key to successful recruiting relationships, but it is up to recruiters to ensure trust is established at the beginning. And, in the slightly paraphrased words of Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) from renowned baseball movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, [it] will come”. 
Eli Gladstone, Associate

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