Hiring managers can be like family—sometimes they drive you insane, but you still want to do your best for them. In my own family, we have mutual respect and a sense of trust in each other, knowing that we have each other’s best interests at heart. When I’m establishing a relationship with a new hiring manager, I first build a platform of trust that becomes our foundation for working together.
Here are three trust-building tactics that have worked for me.
1. Have a “what keeps you up at night” conversation.
Understanding the client’s pain points is the best way to know how to help. Most sales professional are skilled at figuring out what initiatives and responsibilities fill their clients’ plates. For me, this conversation always includes the key probing question, “What happens if you can’t hire this person soon?”
It’s the answer to this question that lets me know whether they’re truly ready to hire. For example, if they can’t hire soon, will the project fail? Will a milestone be in jeopardy? Or, are they apt to simply funnel the work to another resource?
2. Ask, “What kind of people do you hire?”
This question goes deeper than skill sets. I find that people are usually in one of two camps: those who hire people “like themselves” and those who strategically choose people unlike themselves to fill gaps. Sometimes the company culture is about people who “fit” the mold, and sometimes it’s a matter of balancing the team. An example would be whether to hire someone who challenges the status quo versus someone who champions the current mode. Understanding the manager’s intention helps me make a match that fits beyond the resume.
3. Hang out with the hiring manager’s team.
One of the most fun parts of my job is going out with a hiring manager’s team and looking for clues about the group. Often a group lunch will reveal team dynamics, giving me even more information about the psychology and culture of their workplace.
I’ve found that partnering with hiring managers really comes down to knowing and understanding the nuances and personalities. As with a family member, you can learn to understand their tendencies and needs, and how you can support them through thick and thin.