All relationships are built on an exchange of perceived value.

We trust someone because they have shown themselves to be trustworthy.

We listen to advice from someone who has either given sound advice previously or is a perceived expert.

This why relationship selling is so effective. Even if the features of a product are the best in the market or not, we trust the input from someone we already trust because of our past experiences with them.

When we want to foster a relationship, we must find ways to add value to another person and it must be in a form that they perceive as valuable.

This has always been a challenge in the recruiting business.  By virtue of the industry’s nature, things move quickly and finding ways to help a candidate that we cannot place right away drives us to move onto the next candidate – it has traditionally been very transactional.

Consider that, statistically, the best recruitment professionals do not place 10% of the candidates they interview.  Obviously, placing a person in their next career step is a huge value but falling short of that, how can we add value to the 90%+ of candidates we do not place?

I have been on something of a journey for over fifteen years now, exploring ways to add value to a candidate’s search process.  Here are some of the ways I have found to add value for candidates along the way:

  1. General resume advice around formatting, presentation and content.
  2. Sharing market intelligence on companies, reputations and changes in the market.
  3. Interview prep (usually just on a point or two like preparing for behavioral questions.)
  4. Referrals to other respected industries colleagues in different geographies or with specific niche areas that we usually do not work.
  5. Making non-competitive connections to other service providers like CPAs, attorneys and even connections into the PE space for candidates with great business ideas for a next step.

These are just a handful of ways I have identified to add some level of value to a search process for candidates.  Stay tuned, though, I will get another blog out on adding value to the client side of the equation soon.

– John Light, Partner at Evolving Talent Group

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