Can you build meaningful relationships without meeting people in person?
As an executive recruiter and coach, I’m amazed at how quickly the pendulum has swung. A few years ago, clients wanted to understand how we could do our job well if we didn’t meet candidates in person. How could we possible assess someone through a video, and more importantly, how could we build a relationship with someone over video?
Implied in these questions is the fundamental belief that you must build relationships to work with senior level executives and that this can only be done in person. As I listened to how other recruiters talked about this subject, I found it interesting to hear the word “meet” expanded to include video meetings. For recruiters trying to maximize income, this was awesome because they no longer needed to fly around the country to actually meet people.
As LinkedIn provides everyone with the ability to “go direct”, companies have also raced to build their own talent acquisition activities. While every company needs a highly effective talent acquisition function, the focus on volume, speed, and efficiency has further highlighted the “value” of video interviews. Why should you spend money on in-person interviews if you can “filter” candidates through video?
In this new environment, the central question has shifted from one based on how to build effective relationships to whether it really matters. The innovation in recruiting and talent acquisition has diluted the value of relationships, and the next generation of executive recruiters will have been raised on Facebook. When you accept a friend requestor accept an invitation on LinkedIn, you haven’t built a relationship…you’ve simply made a connection.
So, what does this mean to the companies who will compete for the best senior level talent? Should companies redefine what constitutes a relationship and how to build one or does it even matter?
For all of you basketball fans out there, remember the Allen Iverson interview? It was funny and a great video clip, but what is practice really about?
That’s the question I’d suggest more people should think about as they practice for an interview. After all, interviewing is all about preparation, and some would say, “practice”. But practicing is too often viewed as rehearsing for a performance.
That’s where people at all levels miss the opportunity…and that’s what an interview really is. It’s an opportunity. We don’t rehearse for an opportunity. We prepare for it, and yes, thinking about how we’ll answer questions is good preparation. We’ll be asked about why we left one company and joined another. We’ll be asked about our accomplishments and how we achieved those things. We may even be asked why we’re interested in the job and what we’re good at.
But all too often, the most important question isn’t asked, and when it is we miss the point. Have you ever been asked, “What do you want?” If so, you may have thought to yourself. “Well, I want a job!” Or, “I want to make a lot of money”. Or maybe we thought, “It’s not about what I want, it’s about what I need.” Sometimes the question gets asked and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always a question we need to answer.
What do you want? If you can’t answer that question in an authentic and compelling way, what does that say about you? Do you know what you want? This is the question to answer that transcends all of the interviewing practice. Think about what you want and what you are prepared to do to make it happen. Think about how that translates into the role, the company, and the people with whom you will work, and why that matters.
If you know what you want and why, take it a step further and think about how that matters to the interviewer. Be honest and empathize, and remember the interview is an opportunity. It’s not about practice; it’s about knowing ourselves and not being afraid to tell the truth!
When I started down the road of becoming an executive coach, I didn’t do it to get an additional degree or to build my resume. I did it because I’m passionate about it.
But I didn’t arrive at this point by simply making a decision and charging ahead. I started a journey several years ago to do the work of figuring out what I wanted to do with this next chapter in my career, and more importantly, in life.
“Coach thyself” was my mission with a commitment to follow whatever road presented itself. It was a little scary and it required that I let go and have an open mind, and it brought me and our firm to this moment.
For me, the journey of becoming more self-aware confirmed that I love what I do. I’ve been blessed to have a very successful career as an executive recruiter, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of wonderful and talented people.
So, I’ve recommitted to being the best recruiter I can be, and I’ve also embraced the opportunity to work with leaders as their executive coach. I retained two coaches to learn and work on the changes I need to make, and I became a certified executive coach through The Hudson Institute.
It has been a life changing experience for me and I’ve enjoyed working with leaders at critical moments in their careers as their coach. We are complicated people and making meaningful change in our lives can be hard, but one thing became crystal clear to me.
All of us are different but there are a few simple truths at the heart of coaching. As you engage with us, I hope you’ll enjoy reading some of these truths and take away something that helps you in making the meaningful changes you want to make.