Building Trust in your Professional Life

Recruitment is a sales business and as such the pressures of targets greatly outweigh the consideration given to building trust and relationships. The general perception of recruiters is that they are looking for a quick win fee at the expense of service quality.

As with any industry there are some service providers out there for whom this rings true but when you find the diamond in the rough hang on to them; this is a 2 way relationship not a one way streak to place someone.

How do you identify the diamond?

  • They won’t immediately try and sell their services;
  • Knowledge of your business should indicate they have done some basic research;
  • Shared business contacts will demonstrate relevant knowledge in your sector;
  • Something is offered for nothing upfront including market insight or opinion;
  • They will want to understand your business;
  • There will be no immediate offer of advice but rather a view to build trust.

Trust is fundamental in every relationship we have be that professional or personal; would you trust a stranger to hold your baby? Would you walk into a butcher’s shop that was filthy? Without trust even the best advice and support will fall on deaf ears because you won’t have the credibility to warrant an audience.

How do you build trust?

  • The bad news for those focussed on a quick win is that this takes time;
  • Update client’s with useful information that they may not have had time to read themselves;
  • Stand out as a thought leader in your field of choice;
    • You may not have worked in that sector but you have spoken to hundreds of professionals that have given you invaluable insight,
    • Demonstrate this knowledge at every opportunity.
  • Consult with clients and potential clients, for example:
    • Where is the business performing well,
    • What challenges are they facing,
    • Are they market leaders or caught up in the pack,
    • Do they suffer low engagement and high staff turnover.
  • Identify how your niche skills can add value for them and clearly articulate this.

The ultimate goal for client and service provider alike is to have a trusted advisor relationship, as with your personal life there will be very few. This works for the client because it gives them someone to confide in on matters that would not be raised within the business, as a counsellor would in your personal life. This is not a sign of weakness but rather having the strength of mind to admit you are not an expert in every field and that there is always room to improve and understand how your performance compares against the competition.

Creating Value

In an ideal world the perception of value is governed by the quality of service you offer against the price for which you charge. If I buy a watch for £5 I am not going to expect it to be of the same quality as a £2,500 Rolex. This is because I have preconceptions about the 2 offerings, the same is true in the service sector.

Initially the client will place the same value on you as they placed on the last business or individual they dealt with; this is not a reflection on your ability but a preconception created by a good or bad experience. This principle is by no means confined to recruitment; tradesman for example face the same challenges if a potential client has been ripped off previously by a rogue builder.

Where does this leave us?

Back where we started, to stand out and shine you must demonstrate that you are interested in building genuine long term relationships so that when the time comes for a potential client to seek a service or product they call you. This can take years and shouldn’t be jeopardised by temptation to seek a quick win for monetary reward to justify the time you are investing.

When the call comes it might be that this isn’t your area of expertise in which case you can demonstrate absolute credibility by stating this fact.

This is not something I have done before

There will be two outcomes:

  • If you have a relationship of trust you can explore the challenges with the client and enter unchartered waters, if you are good at what you do this should excite not scare you;
  • Advise them to consult with someone in your profession whom you trust to provide that service.

This article isn’t going to revolutionise your professional or personnel life but it will hopefully get you thinking about your relationships and trusted advisors. As a business leader if you don’t have any then there is a chink in your armour and as hard as that may be to admit perhaps it is time to do something about it.


Occasionally management teams want an expert, objective opinion.


Businesses require the best talent in the long run but often interim support is invaluable.


Active networking is a great opportunity to share ideas and best practice.

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