Warren Bennis, often referred to as the father of leadership, once said, “Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.” But, a trusting relationship doesn’t just happen overnight –– it takes time and effort from all parties involved. In the workplace, trust is the result of actions, behaviors and communications between employees over time.
However, when interviewing a potential candidate, time is not always on your side. Instead, it is critical to build trust quickly to not only ensure you are selecting the right applicant, but also give your candidate the confidence they are choosing the right opportunity. Fortunately, when you work to build trust with your top candidates during the interview process, you can attract strong leaders that enhance your culture and impact your results immediately and over the long run.
This trust between you and your prospects begins to form from the very first interaction you have with them, so it is vital that your organization realizes its importance at the start of your hiring process. But, how do you build this trust? Continue reading to learn six ways to build trust with your top candidates and develop a relationship that fosters growth for both the organization and the newest members of your team.
Each candidate has a distinct set of wants and needs that they are looking to fulfill in their new position. At the very beginning of an interview, focus on understanding who they are and what they are seeking in their next position and company. Ask questions about what they value in a company and culture, what do they want to develop and get exposure to in their next position, what are their longer term goals, and under what type of leadership style do they deliver their best results. By taking the time to understand who they are and their expectations and motivations, not only will you have a better understanding of their fit and interest in your company, but you will be able to demonstrate how you can meet their needs.
The recruitment process is your opportunity to express to potential candidates precisely what your organization is targeting in its next leader. The only way to do this is through full transparency. Be honest about the critical competencies and deliverables, culture and leadership and details of the predecessor, as well as the potential challenges/downsides. By laying out a very clear picture of what they would be walking into on day one, you automatically establish trust.
Don’t stop there: Take it one step further and allow finalists the option of speaking with current employees. This gives them a chance to have a candid conversation about what it’s like to work at the organization and ask any questions or concerns they may have. If you are remotely assessing talent, this part of the process is especially critical to building trust with your top candidates.
As trust and communication go hand in hand, having clear and consistent interaction with the people you are hiring is always important. When you first start the recruitment process, begin by establishing a dialogue rather than jumping right into interview mode. This helps even the most passive candidates open up. By establishing rapport at the start, you begin to build trust with your top candidates, opening the door for them to share their capabilities, experiences, opinions and concerns more freely.
More often than not, recruiters get caught up listening for the “right” answers or making judgements when certain responses are or are not provided. While it is essential that the candidate have specific experiences, competencies and technical knowledge that are fundamental to successfully executing the position, you may miss out on valuable information or new perspectives if you aren’t listening attentively to each of their responses –– no matter how simple the question may be.
Active listening is a skill that requires you to show an understanding of what is said to probe further for additional details and provide feedback to the speaker. It is also important not to jump to conclusions too quickly in the interview process. Instead of using the next answers to prove your conclusion, try asking additional questions that work to disprove your conclusion. By doing so, you open yourself up to additional data points that allow you to make the best decision possible. These simple techniques keep you engaged in their thoughts and ideas –– leaving them feeling valued and appreciated. In a business relationship, this will translate into a higher level of commitment to the relationship and strengthen the connection naturally.
When you first begin the hiring process, you will inevitably have a large number of applicants, making it nearly impossible to personally interact with each one. As you begin to narrow down your options and focus on the top candidates, your organization should make the hiring experience as personal as possible.
Simply put, no potential hire wants to feel as though they are just another transaction –– and many of the commonly asked interview questions can leave them with that exact feeling. One valuable technique to use is an experiential interview. By asking interesting and personalized questions, it will help you gain more valuable information quickly. Although custom-tailoring the experience will take more time and effort on your part, the return on investment for your organization will be evident as you attract the leaders that are the best fit to the position and culture and significantly eliminate the risk of a hiring mistake.
Related: How An Executive Search Partner Impacts Your Bottom Line
Another way to build trust with your top candidates is to openly provide them with feedback and suggestions as they progress through each stage of your process –– after all, a relationship is a two-way street. By offering them helpful advice and honest feedback, you can improve their overall experience with your company and keep them engaged in the process. This will also set the tone for the relationship, allowing you to work more closely with your new hire from the beginning.
The decision to change jobs is a significant milestone in a person’s career. While it can be an exciting time for some, they will naturally be feeling anxious and stressed as they search for a new position. Showing empathy will go a long way as you foster the relationship and build trust with your top candidates. Ask them questions about how they’re feeling about the ongoing process and take this as an opportunity to assess their emotional intelligence –– which is a good indicator of their ability to lead and collaborate with other members of the team.
In addition to showing empathy, expressing your appreciation for their time and effort throughout every step of the process will also help your organization build rapport. While not every person you interview will be a good fit for your organization, they should be approached as networking opportunities with the potential to spread the word to other talented individuals. Choosing to treat every candidate this way will also make them advocates which can prove beneficial when organizations, such as Glassdoor or LinkedIn, seek their feedback on your process and company.
If your organization is looking to fill a vacant position based on trust, Kinsley Sarn can ensure you find the right person for the job. Our comprehensive executive search process addresses each step of the recruitment process in a way that begins to build trust with potential candidates on your behalf.
We begin by developing a detailed and engaging candidate profile that will transparently convey to prospects your company values and what opportunities you have to offer. This helps attract candidates that are best suited for your workplace and are excited about growing with your company. Once we have determined what qualities and behaviors will attract top talent, our experienced senior partners begin to narrow down the selection until the position is filled with the best quality fit for your business.
While many other search firms stop once the position is filled, we believe in a different approach: providing our clients with assimilation and transition services that improve their new employee’s chances of success. These methods continue to develop trust, long after they have committed to your team. By advising and supporting both you and your new hire, we mitigate the risk of a mishire and reduce your hiring costs. We even provide you with a 12-month guarantee to protect your investment.
Don’t let another day go by with an open position looming in your organization! Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help.