Recruiting Relationships: Helping People Reach Their Full Potential

February 2016 | Riviera Partners

One of the things that’s exciting and rewarding about being a recruiter, is that we can play a significant impact in changing people’s lives.  Most of us spend the majority of our working hours at some kind of a job, so the level of job...

One of the things that’s exciting and rewarding about being a recruiter, is that we can play a significant impact in changing people’s lives.  Most of us spend the majority of our working hours at some kind of a job, so the level of job satisfaction has a huge impact on each person’s overall well-being. Even when we may not be involved in the ultimate change of jobs, we can still play a part in how they think about their career development by coaching candidates and  helping them think carefully about their next career moves. There’s a bit of an art to the process, and it requires investing time to get to know and genuinely care about people.

As a recruiter, it’s important to ask yourself the following: Why do we reach out to potential candidates, what’s the objective and what do we hope to get out of it? What are the best practices before reaching out? You should always put yourself in your candidate’s shoes.  Do your research, figure out what they want and be respectful of that. Think about why a new role might be interesting to them, and why they should invest any of their precious time and effort to look at it. Most importantly, go in thinking: what is the kind of long-term relationship you would like to build with this person?  This is a very different mindset from just reaching out to folks on a transactional basis, because they appear to have the requisite requirements of the role and you are under pressure to fill a role.

When I meet with candidates, I like to come prepared, having read all internal notes and any other information I can find. The point is to make the meeting a mutually beneficial one, that is  good use of both of our time. Remember that a big reason candidates come to Riviera is for a deep and informed view of the market with unique insights, and a strong eye when it comes to judging talent.

Given that we specialize in VP Engineering and CTO roles, many people who engage with Riviera are looking to move up into leadership roles. To help people in this phase of their career development, it is important to spend time to dig deep into their background, and why they chose this career path. This involves asking the right (and sometimes tough) questions to really figure out their motivations, aspirations and concerns. We can then give an accurate assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. I’m a big believer in giving honest and constructive feedback, and that’s a lot easier to deliver once you’ve established a certain level of rapport and trust. Once we understand their career goals, we can give advice on ways in which he or she might get there.  There are times when a candidate gets offered a dream job but hesitates due to family, commute or other personal reasons. We work with them to find creative solutions to these stumbling blocks.

Having insight into people’s career goals also means we can refine our future communication with the right options for them. At Riviera, we work on a ton of diverse roles at any one time, but what we want to avoid is sending candidates random opportunities which don’t match what they want or kill them with deal fatigue.  Our goal is to only send each person a carefully curated list of deals.

When you build long term relationships, people end up approaching you for advice. We want all potential candidates to think of Riviera as a great resource and to feel free to approach us for information on the market, a company or compensation-related questions–and many do. Some candidates for example ask us to look at their offer letters from companies that Riviera doesn’t even work with, and we’re happy to do that for them.

There can be an overwhelming array of job choices and information overload out there in the market. We provide the service of filtering through the noise for people, so that they can identify the best opportunities for themselves and reach their full potential.

Cheryl Liew is a Director within Riviera’s executive search practice.