4 things to remember when building professional relationships

Susie IsphordingStrategic Talent ExecutivePosted April 24, 2019

In the digital age, communication and interaction are all too accessible. We have countless ways to connect, message, like, follow, etc. and this has saturated the value of relationships. It almost feels like because of the ease of communication, we have forgotten the importance and power of meaningful interaction. 

In staffing and recruiting, there’s a common trend of “transactional” conversations that keep people from going beneath the surface of purely focusing on business. I recently saw a post on Instagram that said, “Having contact information and having a real relationship are not the same thing.” This got me thinking about my professional relationships.  

How do we form them and how do we capitalize on the relationships we deem good? Over the last 6 years, I’ve spent my time learning how to recruit and [thankfully] how to recruit in Columbus, Ohio well. I have formed a list of 4 items that I use to evaluate every interaction and conversation I have. These not only help me navigate my way through discussions and partnerships but also serve as a friendly reminder of why I do what I do and how to do it well. 

1.      Open and honest communication: 

By exercising open and honest communication from the start, everyone tends to be on the same page. This principle can be applied to most human interactions. If at any time the opportunity at hand isn’t working for someone, use open and honest communication to inform the other party. This allows everyone to happily move on if something isn’t working OR to continue working together with a clear vision. 

2.      Define the value: 

Is there value in us working together? i.e. as a candidate, does this recruiter have jobs/companies I’m genuinely interested in? As a recruiter, does this candidate embody what I’m looking for in the job I’m trying to fill? By communicating regularly and openly/honestly, this value definition should make itself apparent. 

3.      Two-way street: 

The communication that happens between a recruiter and a potential candidate is very much a team effort. I can’t count the number of times a candidate has told me that they spoke to a recruiter and then never heard from them again OR the number of times a recruiter has had a candidate lined up for an interview/offer and then out of nowhere, they’ve been ghosted by the candidate. This is frustrating all around. Always keep in mind the simple fact that this is a two-way street and for it to work well, it takes both parties to be actively engaged.  

4.      Determine next steps: 

Figure out the best way to maintain a relationship and continue keeping each other’s best interests in mind. Whether it’s in the short term or long term, this industry (and Columbus, Ohio in general) is too small to not look at every conversation as a networking opportunity. 

As we continue to navigate the ever-changing technology field, the one thing that remains constant is human interaction. As a recruiter, I’m biased, but want to reiterate that recruiters are amazing people to network and connect with. Not only do we have insights into the health of the market, but specific companies as well. I challenge everyone in this field to emphasize the relationships you have and the ones you wish to build. Take advantage of the network and community and find a way to win! 

Susie Isphording Susie is a Strategic Talent Executive at Agility Partners. Her recruiting specialties include project managers, scrum masters, product managers, and project leads.