The Big Three

I had a great conversation with my mentor, Richie Harris, the other day. I blame Richie entirely for my success and tenacity as an Executive Recruiter these past 25 years. Now retired, Richie was a Recruiting Maverick in his time. Often profane, always unique, he was a star player on the sales and marketing search front. He still speaks at industry functions occasionally and his principles still apply.

During our wide ranging chat, he asked me if I remembered the three ‘must haves’ of assessing, building and maintaining any relationship. Markedly, he applies these same beliefs towards his business and personal relationships.

He reiterated these three guidelines once again – I am always a student when it comes to improving my relationships – and they started me really thinking about what they actually mean and how they apply.

First – all parties must have a common goal. As a Recruiter, it is essential to establish that each party is looking for the same thing – ultimately, the common goal will result in everyone feeling satisfied with the process. Common goals translate into commitment and a more likely end result.

Secondly – Trust. This is a two part deal. Do you trust the client’s intention? The candidate’s? And can they trust yours? And in addition, can you trust their capability and are they confident they can trust yours?

Intention is crucial in establishing credibility and the common goal. If I’m clear on a client’s intention, I can recruit with confidence and deliver to the candidate what was indicated. And in return, a candidate who is honest in their intention, is a candidate I’ll fight for.

Capability in my mind, is a much more subtle proposition. Is a client capable of making critical decisions, delivering on promises, closing the candidate? Can I trust that the candidate is capable of making the decision to leave their current employer or ready to move into a new role and title. And of course, am I able to deliver the results? Interestingly, I’ve found the smoothest and most successful placements have been with clients and candidates who I can trust, who are trustworthy and who trust me. We are clear on goals and communicate effectively and honestly about expectations and goals.

Lastly – and maybe the most important, though least adhered to, is that you care about each other as people. Way too many people in the recruiting profession are perceived as more interested in making money, than doing the right thing – and too often, rightly so. The same can be said for clients and candidates. When you treat an individual as a tool to do your bidding and objectify them, you lose all sense of empathy. When you lose empathy, you lose humanity. Give respect and expect it in return.

Richie told me that he applies these three ‘must haves’ in his personal life as well. Imagine how much less divorce there would be if common goals, trust and treating one another as people were top priorities?

Hey, maybe that’s unrealistic, but one can always hope.