One of my professional colleagues posted a question about earning trust over on LinkedIn. It got me to thinking about a conversation I had yesterday with the CEO of a niche recruiting board. He was running through the half-hour sales spiel on the service. And the more he talked, the more of my trust he lost.
He made the sweeping statement that “job postings are the most valuable source of candidates for any organization.” Um, not true. When I asked him about the candidate resume database, he dismissed it as being rather unimportant. (He obviously failed to note that my title is “Sourcing Specialist”.) But the absolute kicker, to me, was his lack of response to *this* question:
“How does your service handle OFCCP compliance functionality?”
Dead silence for about ten seconds. “What’s that?”
Then there is the email and phone call exchange I had with a contact from a local networking listserv we both belong to. She is employed, but not 100% happy at her job. One of her friends sent her a JD at a local startup that piqued her interest. She used LinkedIn to connect up with the hiring manager, had a phone screen, and he requested an interview ASAP as he was leaving for vacation. He put her in touch with the external recruiter they had hired to help with their talent management. My contact’s interactions with this recruiter were so bad that she reached out to me to see if recruiting had changed *so drastically* in this economy that she would have to put up with some very disturbing behaviors. (Recruiter asked for her *current* manager’s contact info for a reference prior to the interview, told her that her references were all male therefore she obviously didn’t get along with female coworkers.) My contact knows that I am very active and well connected in the local recruiting community and reached out to me for a confidential reality check.
The upshot of it all is that this recruiter is going to lose the organization a very qualified, well-connected passive candidate because of her heavyhanded and completely unprofessional behavior.
Conversely, I found out about a position that is opening up in our organization, and I reached out not only to two candidates I know personally and sent along, but also to one of my trusted industry contacts. He had contacted me earlier this week for candidate referrals for an opening at their firm, and I sent him over a LinkedIn profile. In turn, he not only sent me several candidates, but also the LI profile of someone that will be laid off at his company at the end of this week, with the request not to contact her until next week.
I use a metaphor for trust, be it personal or professional. I consider relationships akin to a learning environment, or a class. Everyone starts with an A, and by our own actions, we either keep a high grade, or we get a lower grade. Beyond a certain point you have forfeited the right to my trust (and in turn I’m sure the same is applicable), and once that point is reached, it’s nigh impossible to re-establish former levels.
And trust is at the foundation of your professional reputation. As I mentioned in my last post, reputation *is* your business right now. Grow it, nurture it, and guard it well.