It’s All About the Relationship February 16, 2021
Right now, we’re watching the deep south get pummeled by an unprecedented winter storm while we’re trying to come out from under the heaviness of a pandemic that has pushed us all to the limit of what we thought we could handle.
Having been blessed with a resilience that surprises not only me but my doctors and loved ones as well, I can only imagine what this time is like for those who are not hard-wired to power through and get stuff done. Because I am tired and spent.
What’s gotten me through are my relationships. A year ago, I started attending a weekly zoom meeting with three friends. I’ve known two of these friends since we were 2 years old and the “new” friend joined our circle in 9th grade. Obviously that span of time provides opportunity for a great deal of trust, more than our share of laughter, and a deep understanding of the intricacies of what makes each of us tick.
Relationships have gotten me through the last year and I honestly wish I hadn’t needed a pandemic to see the value in this level of connection.
These relationships have driven home for me the importance of relationships in business. While plenty of businesses proclaim to be relationship based, most are still focused on the transactions required to stay in business.
Businesses that thrive in good and bad economies are those that put a priority on relationships – with staff, with vendors, with customers, and with their communities.
As much as technology has helped us speed up transaction satisfaction it has made us all wary of relationship building. Please tell me I’m not the only one who wonders why that financial planner or life coach is randomly sending a LinkedIn request!
Kidding aside, you and I know that big-ticket items like inviting a stranger into your business to help you tackle frustrating recruiting, hiring, and retention challenges can be scary.
How do you overcome that fear? By building a relationship!
It’s likely that you’ve had recruiters pitch you a million times and you may have bitten once, a long time ago, only to be disappointed by the results. Unless you and the recruiter had established a relationship, this is not surprising.
What do you do if you’re staring at a backlog of work, a list of frustrated clients and still don’t have the time or energy to effectively recruit, interview, and on-board the new employees you need?
While it’s unlikely that you’ll have the depth of relationship that I have with my three friends, here are some tips to get you closer to that level of understanding with a recruiter for your organization.
- Take the call. If you struggle to hire and retain top talent, call the recruiter back and start a relationship. And if you’re a one-person shop who has no intention to grow your organization, call the recruiter back and let them know.
- Tell the truth. You don’t need air your dirty laundry in your conversations with your recruiter – but let them know the current situation. Why do you think you struggle with hiring?
- Bring in key players early to the conversation. If you will have another person on your internal team working with the recruiter, invite them to your call. If scheduling precludes this, take time to gather their thoughts, concerns, and wish list prior to your meeting. This way everyone is in alignment from the start.
- Ask good questions and answer the tough ones. Relationships are built with understanding. Questions get to the heart of what matters. As your recruiter asks questions about your culture, or past recruiting efforts, they aren’t trying to make you look bad. They want to know what has tripped you up in the past – so that they can help you navigate your hiring process more smoothly. In addition, don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter to answer your questions. Great questions are specific – so feel free to ask questions that help differentiate this recruiter from any you have used in the past.
- Ask for what you need. Be specific and let your recruiter know how you prefer to communicate – weekly updates by email, phone, or text? Would you like to have them wait until there are two or more candidates to present to you or do you want them to send a candidate once they’ve been fully vetted? Finally, are you expecting your recruiter to administer assessments and conduct reference and background checks? The more your recruiter knows the better your relationship becomes.
- Relationships take work. If one party or the other is the only one putting in time or effort the relationship won’t last. Establish a time and preferred method for check-ins. A good recruiter will continue to check in after a hire is made to understand how the candidate is working out and to keep up to date on internal changes as your company continues to grow. A great recruiter will check in occasionally just to see how you’re doing too.
Relationship building is your number one tool in business – continue that with your recruiter and breathe easier knowing that they care as much about your success as you do!
Written by: PEGGIE ARVIDSON, Account Executive
Peggie Arvidson started recruiting in junior high school when she convinced her classmates to join her in creating a ski club. Since then, she’s held many positions from sales to recruiting to non-profit leadership and quality assurance. Her focus in her life and career is helping people to find their right work for the right pay because she believes that when people are happy at work, they are secure in life, and happy people change the world for the better.
Peggie has moved more than 30 times across 5 states and three time zones and is not a military brat. Before Covid she spent her free time traveling with her friends and husband and now you can find her making beautiful things out of yarn, found objects, and her imagination.
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