At our firm (and I imagine in organizations everywhere), we’ve been talking more and more about how to do our parts individually to contribute to the firm’s continued success – meaning business development. And as I sat through a marketing discussion, the theme was obvious – business development comes from making relationships. Very rarely do you blindly submit a proposal (as in, without any relationship with the potential client) and win the project. It just doesn’t happen that way. When you have a connection with the decision makers, you’re more likely to get the award. And the longer you’ve had that connection and the stronger that connection is, the likelihood increases.
I’ve got two lessons we can take from this, but because they hit at the point from two different perspectives, and in the interest of driving the point home, I’ll save the second one for a separate post.
Let’s look at this with an HR lens. As someone looking for a job, the more you know about the company and the better you know someone who works there, the greater your likelihood is of getting a job. If you can find a way to get in with a company and make that personal connection, your chances are infinitely better than someone who blindly applies. This isn’t rocket science – you’ve already heard this. But it’s the common sense stuff that too often gets lost.
But let’s not forget that this is a two-way street here. As an employer, if you’ve got a candidate you really like, the more you can personalize the relationship, the more likely it is that that potential hire will pick you when the chips are down. There are candidates that we have been talking with for months and even years in the hopes that we’ll have an opening and can entice them to come join us. It’s happened before with a hard to fill position. Many times, when stellar candidates are floating around in the market, they’re not just getting calls from one place – everyone wants them, and they know it. If you invest in that person in time and genuine interest, you have a greater chance of successfully convincing them to join your team. Take them to lunch, learn who they are, get them a chance to know you and you and your organization better. The best recruiters know this and have invested the time with the candidates they seek to place or hire. It’s just good sense.
And think about the potential when social media gets involved in the conversation! But that’s a preview for what’s to come…Any thoughts on how that would play in? I’d love to incorporate them in my next post!