Monthly Archives: October 2014

Part 3- In the Digital Age of Recruiting, Relationships are Still Top Dog

Relationship building is not about how fast you do it, it is about how well you do it. Chances are, it took a lot of time and a lot of interaction for you to call someone a best friend, the Godparent of your child, or a trusted colleague. Relationships take time. An email is fast and efficient, but searching for top talent is not a speed dating model. You need to take the time to get to know and gain a deeper level of understanding of a candidate to truly know if their skills and characteristics are a fit for the role.

New relationships can equal new successes, even if they are not for the original reasons that you had in mind. A candidate may not always be a fit for the current role, but a new relationship is never a wasted bond. New relationships can help create even more new relationships. They can help develop your network, your company brand, your personal image, and maybe even some form of a relationship on a personal level.

After you have identified your target market via Social Media, getting in front of them is the best way to build relationships. Grab a cup of coffee with top talent from a competitor even though you may not have a need for them at the moment. That conversation could be a building block for a future need. Attend trade shows, participate in the annual ALTA Conference or National Settlement Services Conference, go to local and national real estate events, or get active in the community. All of these are opportunities to build relationships and open doors for market intelligence, client or candidate referrals, or future conversations about joining your team.

The introduction may have changed, but the art of relationship building is still fundamental. Relationships will always take time and effort. You still need to be human. Ask business questions and personal questions. A candidate is a person with interests outside of their day job just as you are. It is a lot easier to have a meaningful conversation when you can ask how their football team did this weekend with a clever grin and a laugh instead of words on a screen with no weight or emotion. And to think that this new relationship and the opportunities that it presents might not have happened because they did not respond to an email or LinkedIn request.

Social Media has provided you with more profiles to sort through, but you still need to paint the whole picture to ensure the best fit. You still need to take the time to find your target market. You still need to put in the effort to build the relationships. Finding talent on paper may have gotten easier, but finding the right talent has not changed.

Part 2- In the Digital Age of Recruiting, Relationships are Still Top Dog

There is an old business adage that people do business with people they like. It operates under the assumption that there is almost always another product or service in the market that may offer better features or a cheaper price, but it is ultimately the relationship that comes out on top. In the hustle and bustle of the world today, it seems that the convenience and ease of an email or text message is becoming the standard for communicating. This is fine and dandy for maintaining current relationships. I email my colleagues and text my friends just as you. But when you are looking for a new business partner or recruiting top talent, words on a screen may not be enough to build the type of relationship necessary for them to do business with you.

When searching for top talent, Social Media is a tool in the tool belt, not the entire belt. The majority of talent in most markets will be active on some platform online whether it is LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Not to mention places outside of social platforms such as organizational websites, alma mater groups, and community engagement boards. You need to know the talent in your market beyond your team. Is there an abundance of talent or are you in a precise niche? Utilize Social Media to gain insight into your candidate pool. Social Media is a necessary and great place to start creating relationships, but you still need to establish a relationship with your candidate pool that does not involve clicking a mouse or buttons on a keyboard. How many times have you gotten an email that you ignored or an invitation to connect that you declined? Words on a screen can fall short, no matter how well the message may have been constructed. You will want to use these online resources to your advantage to identify your candidate pool and market to these individuals when you can, but the true relationship building is yet to take place.

You have identified the candidate pool. The informational emails and messages have been sent. It is time to start putting the human back into human interaction. Find a way to communicate with your candidates that allows you to use your personal strengths to deliver your message and start building a relationship. It is no coincidence that the name of the device in your hand that can send texts and emails is called a phone. Use it to your advantage. You can use the tone of your voice, be assertive or passive, make a witty joke, or offer a sincere compliment. The characteristics that allow you to thrive can be made evident to your candidates. Your words are no longer ambiguous sentences on a screen, they have weight and power. And you are not the only one with this advantage. Your candidates can also let their qualities shine through. Chemistry has a chance to build, bonds can begin to form, and you are awarded the opportunity to get to know an individual on a deeper level. After all, isn’t a deeper understanding of someone the foundation of a relationship?

In Part Three we will identify the keys to building relationships outside of Social Media.

Pay Raises: Who Shoulders the Responsibility?

Pay Raises: Who Shoulders the Responsibility?

This week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told attendees at an event for women in computing that when it comes to raises, they shouldn’t ask; instead, they should “have faith that the system will actually give [them] the right raises as [they] go along.” Wow. Really? He said those very words right there, sandwiched between quotation marks? Yep. Really.

Of course, with recent reports stating that women currently make about 81% of what men do, Nadella’s comments did not go over well—either with his immediate audience or with the broader national audience that caught hold of this remarks. He quickly backtracked and labeled his comments “inarticulate,” but the damage had already been done.

Some, like Nikki Waller of the Wall Street Journal, have tried to point out the elements of truth in Nadella’s statement. Her argument is that the most successful people don’t have time to negotiate for raises (and indeed have never had to) because they’re too busy getting promoted and climbing the ladder. They focus on getting ahead instead of getting a raise, and that has seemed to serve them well.

Ok, fine, the powerful elite may not need to ask for raises (though there are plenty of counter-examples for that argument), but what about the rest of us? Nadella’s comments focused on women, but let’s extend this question to include all employees. When it comes to pay raises, who shoulders the responsibility—the employer or the employee?

An employer that wants to attract and keep talented individuals should pay attention to pay equity within the company/organization and find opportunities to reward star performers. It just makes sense. That said, this doesn’t always happen, and when it doesn’t, employees should be prepared to make a well-reasoned and well-supported case for why they deserve a raise.

We could write a whole separate blog article on how to negotiate (hey, maybe we will!), but the key to a successful salary negotiation is presenting it as a win-win scenario. It ultimately comes down to value, and if both parties can see the value in a raise, then it stands a pretty good chance of happening. There are always hurdles to overcome, and there’s always risk involved, but in the end, for employer and employee, it’s a conversation worth having.

In the Digital Age of Recruiting, Relationships are Still Top Dog – Part 1

Social Media has made it easier than ever to connect to anyone, anywhere in the world. Whether it is through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or email, chances are you have some sort of relationship with someone through these online portals. These may be old friends from college or business associates in different regions of the country. The majority of these interactions are done with a keyboard and a screen, often in the blink of an eye while juggling several other engagements.

Is it easy? Yes.

Is it convenient? Absolutely.

Is it relationship nurturing? This is where it becomes a bit more complicated.

When you connect with someone online, are you connecting with a person or their online persona? People construct their own profiles in their own choice words to describe who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Some people will embellish traits and boast accomplishments. Some will be more confrontational in an online exchange compared to an exchange in person or via telephone. Can you truly establish a meaningful and beneficial relationship with someone when exchanging digital messages?

While we have access to a multitude of ways to connect to each other and expand our personal and professional networks, true relationship building is hindered in the Digital Age. Rarely do you get to experience if someone you “know” is soft spoken, assertive, funny, or easy going. Communication can easily be misconstrued. We do not have a sarcasm font, some people see “ok” and “okay” as two different responses, and smiley faces in a business email are generally seen as unprofessional.  You see the person in the way you react to words on a screen based on a digital story someone has told you about themselves. Are we starting to call that human interaction? A deeper connection is needed to establish a true relationship. We need connection beyond the hardware and Wi-Fi.

In Part Two we are going to dig into the reasons it is necessary to reach beyond Social Media to establish meaningful relationships.