The Importance of Building Partnerships
This week marks the start of my twelfth year of working as a recruiter. Like most milestones it’s been a good time to look back over the time I’ve spent working in this industry and that of my customers in the Social Housing sector.
My impressions of recruitment on day one were fairly straightforward. I remember when I was interviewed, my soon-to-be Director described recruitment as three things, sourcing candidates, sourcing jobs and putting the two things together. In its purest sense that description is pretty accurate. However, if things were truly that simple then I think I’d have quickly tired of it and found myself another career. What interests me now is improving things, creating good experiences for clients and candidates, and the individual stories that help make every role unique.
For me, the most interesting things in recruitment involve my customers. Working with Housing Associations was not my burning childhood ambition, but I was too tall to drive in Formula One (obviously that’s the only reason that dream didn’t come true). When I started my recruitment career the specialism I took up in Housing was decided by a process not far off rolling dice. Once I was allocated my sector though I took it as a given that I should educate myself in it.
Working alongside the staff in the housing sector has been a great way to broaden my awareness of wider social issues and the work that is put in to help tackle inequality and create genuine opportunities for social mobility. Getting to know my customers resulted in me increasingly specialising, working more intensively with a smaller range of customers, transitioning from spot business contingency work, to retained permanent recruitment, to recruitment process outsourcing.
Following this journey also widened the working relationship. By working so closely, I ceased to simply fill jobs. The scope of my role touches areas like marketing, branding, systems, process improvement, diversity, corporate social responsibility and HR. In the last fortnight some of our staff became involved in a mentoring scheme with the customers of one of our customers, residents that are looking for guidance as they return to the world of work after taking breaks for a range of reasons. The initial feedback has been great, from our staff and the people they are mentoring.
In addition to the direct benefits, the work is also giving us the chance to deepen our understanding of our client’s day to day work, by getting to know their customers. Seeing things from that viewpoint, understanding our customers relationship with their customers, allows us to mould our services, to produce something truly bespoke.
It’s initiatives like these that help make business relationships truly interesting, going past transactional business relationships and developing true partnerships, where the expertise of two businesses can be mutually beneficial on a range of levels. Journeys like these are worth thinking about as a goal when you next go to meet a prospective client.
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