Let's Talk About Trust

[Guest Blog by Erin Buchanan, Director Talent Acquisition at AutoCanada and Owner of RedSphere Consulting Services Inc. in Edmonton, AB]

Erin is also a nominee for Canada's 2019 Top Recruiter Awards.


I recently interviewed a candidate for a relatively entry-level role; perhaps not the most glamorous set of responsibilities, but an incredible opportunity for someone to gain meaningful work experience on a team that is consistently evolving and creating developmental opportunities and new roles for team members. During the interview, I spent a lot of time painting a picture of how the successful candidate should expect to spend their day. The hiring manager highlighted the cool parts of the role, the team, and the company, but also very clearly articulated the day-to-day expectations of the role – again, nothing overly glamorous. The interview ended and a few hours later I received a phone call from the candidate thanking me for being so honest about the role and not overselling the position. You see, the candidate was looking for a new opportunity because his current employer misrepresented the job duties and painted a totally different picture during the job interview.

Great recruiters know that there is nothing more important than establishing a foundation of trust with our clients and candidates. Candidates trust the recruiter with understanding their career aspirations, and employers trust that recruiters understand the goals and the outcomes the business is hoping to achieve. Trust within both relationships should be respected and taken very seriously. Matching talent with opportunity is not possible without fostering an environment of trust.

There are three (3) fundamental elements of trust, which are integral to my recruitment brand, and which I draw upon when building relationships with my clients, candidates, and coaching and developing my team. They are:

Integrity – BE HONEST! Nothing will break trust faster than dishonesty. Sometimes recruiters are not provided all the pertinent information about a role or company. When this occurs, optically the recruiter may be perceived as being inaccurate or dishonest. Let's face it, this does happen sometimes, even though the recruiter may have asked all the right questions, and we know that this kind of situation is not intentional. Recruiters can work to avoid this by getting curious about every role they handle. Learn as much as you can about an employer, ask the right questions about the role, the company, the team, and collect all the requirements. Then, try and match the best candidate for the role. If you're missing the mark, then recalibrate with the client, but don't delay. When a recruiter is intentionally vague or dishonest about variables in the recruitment and selection process, trust deteriorates or is broken and ultimately the relationship will fall apart.  

Benevolence – ACTUALLY care, because (spoiler alert) candidates and employers can tell when a recruiter cares or worse – when they don't! Somewhere along the line, recruiters got a bad rap and there are still some perceptions that recruiters just want to make a commission or simply fill seats. While this may be true in some instances, great recruiters care about their clients and candidates. When a recruiter cares about the services they provide, has passion and integrity for their craft, they take an interest and genuinely want to help their clients and candidates succeed.

Competence – Be AUTHENTIC, and sell clients and candidates using the skills and abilities you truly possess. There is something to be said about being willing to try and learn new things, but this should not be done at the expense of the relationship with your client or candidate. Being honest (there it is again) about the ability to find /place a candidate based on the needs of a given role and your corresponding level of experience and skill set is an important ingredient in the recipe for trust and success. Letting a client and, or candidate know that you may be less experienced or knowledgeable about a role or particular skillset can go a long way with building credibility, trust and being afforded the space to build up your knowledge and gain greater clarity about a role. When recruiters mispresent their skills and abilities it not only reflects poorly on them it also reinforces a misperception that recruiters don't understand, or care to understand a client's business, and is not serious about matching top candidates with opportunities. This is a narrative that I seek to abolish at every opportunity, through action and coaching, and I am so fortunate to have met many like-minded and passionate recruiters who are doing the same! 

Ensuring that career opportunities are right for both candidates and employers and that employment arrangements are mutually beneficial to both parties has been and will continue to be my recruitment brand promise. Recruiters, who aspire to be trusted advisors should ask themselves, "What is my recruitment brand promise? And why should I be trusted?" Matching great talent with opportunities means that all parties win and getting there is well within your control, as long as you have the passion and the drive to do so.


Erin Buchanan

About the Author

Erin Buchanan has almost 20 years of progressive Human Resources Management experience. Over the last 13 years, Erin has been dedicated to leading teams and building and executing recruitment strategies. Erin’s specific passion and expertise center around implementing process and utilizing best practices related to recruitment, selection and retention. Over the years Erin has worked in many different industries including Information Technology, Financial Services, Government Services, Oil & Gas, Engineering and Heavy Equipment. Erin lives with her family in Edmonton, Albert. When Erin is not working, she enjoys volunteering at her local community league, spending time with her family and pets and travelling. View her full TopRecruiter profile here.

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