The professional relationship between a candidate and a recruiter is a delicate thing. As CEO and founder of a successful executive search firm, I have spent my entire career building relationships with professionals in the tech-industry and maintaining a robust network of developers, engineers, designers and more. One of the most challenging aspects of my career was establishing a strong level of trust among the various people that I helped match with my clients.
To be successful in the executive search industry, one must posses a completely selfless attitude. In many cases, what is best for candidates may not be what is best for the recruiter. Recruiting and placing top talent is challenging and very, very competitive. The pressure is always heavy and the demand for hiring in the technology field is incessant. Over the years, I have witnessed the pressure getting the best of recruiters who resort to yielding the best interests of their candidates to fulfill their own goals.
Such a path, does not lead to success and eventually both parties get stuck with a short end of the stick. I always tell my team that the biggest goal they can achieve is establishing trust with their candidates.
The number of highly-placeable candidates in the tech industry is slim. Once a recruiter is lucky enough to establish a relationship with a professional interested in a career change and meets our high standards of qualifications, it is important to nurture that relationship. One of the best ways to do this is by providing that person with space. This may sound crazy but keeping an appropriate distance is important. Why? Highly sought-after professionals in the tech industry are incredibly busy and are likely getting pinged by recruiters constantly. Nothing is more impersonal than clogging someone’s LinkedIn message box or phoning at a random hour.
Executive recruiting is an art. Good recruiters will have the ability to narrow their lists of possible candidates to a certain position so they do not have to blast everyone in their network. Anyone can cast a net but it takes someone with skill to reel in a good catch. Having this ability eliminates the need to excessively waste someone important’s time and jeopardize the relationship.
Honesty is also critical to maintaining trust with a candidate. Recruiting is a tough business because people are emotionally invested. It is easy for recruiters to feel guilty about letting a candidate know they were not selected for a position. Despite the awkward phone call, it needs to happen as soon as possible. Leading on a candidate is the best way to break their trust. Honesty is also crucial when discussing a candidate’s resume or likelihood of getting placed. It is the job of a recruiter to be frank, not to boost egos or raise false hopes.
The recruiters who are also well trusted are known in the tech community as being, for lack of a better term, picky. They do not work with everyone and pride themselves for selecting only the top professionals in the industry. Candidates trust recruiters if they know they are valued and are not identified as a number in a large database.
Recruiters simply cannot be successful unless they adhere to such standards of trust. Acting as loyal representatives who put their candidates first is the best way to build strong relationships with the right people.
Amish Shah has worked in the recruiting industry for more than 18 years. After years of working for a leading high-tech boutique search firm, he started his own company,and currently presides over Millennium Search, one of the top executive search firms. Amish resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his family.