The Power of Relationships

Expert AdviceWith all the opportunities there are to keep in contact with people I see that there is a real danger of some recruiters losing their relationship building skills. I agree entirely that things like Twitter and Linkedin et al are really cool tools that can help build networks and platforms to broadcast from. (I do think that there is a bit too much broadcasting and not enough listening and engagement from much of the recruitment community). The real skill and strength of the best recruiters (in my honest opinion after 16 years in the business) is relationship building skills.

RecruitmentDad.com is now four months young. Not a long time in the world of recruitment blogs though I do think from feedback and visitor numbers it has proved to be quite popular. Looking back over the subject matter I have written about, so much of it has revolved around new business. Yet, any business we get is new in that it could have been given to somebody else. I was reminded recently how important relationships are to us as recruiters when I bumped into an old client in an Asda carpark! I haven’t spoken to this guy for over four years yet it was like seeing an old friend rather than an old client. Having recruited a number of key staff for him in the past and also having placed him he was keen to see if I was back in the “recruitment saddle” – interested to see if I may have something in his area. When I told him where I worked he dropped me a referral as his wife is now a director for a large retail group and I am sure will be worth a call. This reminded me how important relationships are in building a business. So, how can we build relationships consciously? This of all the things I train can be the hardest to perfect as it requires a high degree of emotional intelligence, which for some can be quite elusive.

Here are my thoughts on what it takes to build long lasting high quality business relationships.

Genuinely Care. Recruiters have a reputation for only caring about the placement and the money. If you want to build strong relationships with your customers you need to be interested in them. Take the time to call your best clients, even when they are not recruiting, to let them know that you are out there and “thinking of them”. Call them to let them know what is happening in their market. Keep them up to date and they will do the same for you.

Sell Solutions, Not Candidates. Lots of consultants out there are regularly beating clients over the head with new candidates that they have recently found, without thinking about how they could add value to their department. Take the time to get to know what your client’s vision is for the future of their team/department/company and approach them with candidates who can help make it happen. This really takes you into the realms of consultancy that will leave the competition dead and buried.

Be Flexible. To build stronger relationships we need to focus on our clients’ ideas, thoughts, wants and needs. Visiting clients with an agenda to “sell” our “latest” service is old hat and quite often likely to create client resistance. Great consultants have the ability to meet their clients’ wants and sell outside of the box.

Cross Sell. Being in a partner relationship with your client means you know when and how you can add value in areas other than your core business. This means cross selling other services your company offers and being able to do the work to get them in contact with the right individual who can genuinely help them. Sometimes it may even be putting them in touch with another business you know of who could help them solve particular problems they are facing.

Add Value. True partnership relationships are all about added value. They are win win. This means as a consultant you need to know how you can add value for your client and how they can add value for you. This also means having the ability to know when you cannot help them and when you can. Genuine trust is developed and your clients’ loyalty can be much stronger than any formal PSL because they genuinely wish to work with you exclusively.

Related Articles:

How to Stand Out From Your Competitors

The 7 Deadly Sins of Recruiters

How to work smarter, not harder, as a recruiter


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3 Responses

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  1. Keep up the good work, this is my favorite recruiting blog.

    James Galvin 5 May 2010 at 3:50 pm Permalink
  2. Good news James! You keep reading and I will keep writing. Let me know if there is anything you would like to hear Recruitment Dad’s thoughts on.

    RecruitmentDad 6 May 2010 at 10:10 am Permalink
  3. This is an excellent Blog. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and expertise.

    Heidi Burkley 11 May 2010 at 8:14 pm Permalink

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