One major task of executive recruiters—or any recruiters—is to develop relationships with potential candidates. It’s crucial to maintain these relationships so you’re prepared with a top tier talent pool when you need one most. While these relationships are professional, executive recruiters can still use the principles of maintaining healthy, personal relationships to keep potential candidates in the pipeline. Doing so isn’t just a nicety. It’s intrinsically necessary for success in the executive recruiting. Here are some best practices for building and strengthening professional relationships with your potential candidates.

Put Others’ Needs First

The most successful and satisfying relationships usually have one thing in common: both parties put the needs of the other person before their own. In executive recruiting, this can be practiced in the following ways, for example: shortening the application process so candidates don’t need to spend hours on end before they see any return on their time, personalizing the candidate process, seeking to understand their interests, and keeping them updated on new opportunities.

Many times, giving a potential candidate what they need will be mutually beneficial to both you and them. For example, by keeping in touch frequently, you’ll maintain their interest in future positions. Similarly, giving potential candidates as much information about your clients’ companies as possible benefits them as they interview and vie for the position. Lastly, as a side effect, it will also benefit your own reputation as you’ll become known for finding top tier candidates that secure companies success.

Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated

Another foundational principle that works for any relationship is known as “The Golden Rule,” or treating others the way you want to be treated. Everyone desires to be treated with respect and fairness. They value honesty, commitment, and follow-through.

As an executive recruiter, it’s crucial to keep up with communication and get back to people when you say you will, and be honest about a candidate’s chances and qualifications. When you treat potential candidates the way you want to be treated, you’ll gain their trust, and they’ll want to work with you if the right opportunity comes along.

Set Boundaries

A third foundational relationship principle that executive recruiters can practice with potential candidates is to set healthy boundaries. You may find that some executive candidates are not shy about making demands. However, in being fair, honest, and respectful, it’s imperative that you respect your own boundaries as well by clearly communicating your expectations as well.

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Essential Skills of Successful Executive Recruiters