I’ve been in the recruiting industry now for nearly 19 years. I had no experience doing anything like this, as this is my first and only job out of college; however, I knew that one day my gift for gab (which got me in AND out of trouble) would pay off.
My style has always been a bit off the beaten path from others. I know the goal of my job is to gain business by learning about my clients’ department and their staffing needs (and I do that), but I make sure to infuse just as much time into getting to know that person as I do asking about their “needs”. Learning about someone on a more personal level builds trust, and trust is the most crucial part of gaining a long-term relationship with someone.
I truly enjoy learning as much as I can about every person I come in contact with. I don’t do this because it will pay off for me somewhere down the line, though I know it will in some form or fashion. I just love learning about people! What makes them tick? What are their interests? Are they married? Do they have kids? Where are they from? What are they doing this weekend? These are some of the questions I like to ask that aren’t too forward to ask in initial conversations and most people are quite happy to answer. These lead to other topics in which you can continue to learn more.
I have the most fun with what I do when having these conversations with my clients. I think they do too, or at least they put on a really good act for my sake, which is a good thing also! The other day I was talking with a Technical Support Manager, who I’d only spoken to once before, and we were on the phone for an hour and a half! The time just flew by. She made the comment several times during our call how when I left a message for her she just HAD to return my call because she really enjoyed talking with me. I learned all about her and her family, where she’s from, and much more.
My co-workers find my conversations quite colorful and always ask me why I would talk about some of the things I talk about (i.e. shaving my legs). I just answer, “Because we’re friends and we can talk about crazy stuff like that.” In the long run, these friends of mine turn out to be great clients and advocates for what I do! So my advice is don’t be shy about building a deeper relationship with your client. Don’t make every call all about “what can I be helping you with today?” Have fun and in turn your clients will have fun. Plus, they’ll keep coming back for more because they like YOU and not just what you’re helping them with in their business.
Kara Strong, CPC, is a Senior IT Sales Executive with Aureus Group. She is a leader with nearly 19 years of extensive and progressive experience in the human capital management industry. Kara currently works in Aureus Group’s IT/IS division placing talent in direct hire, contract with option to hire, and contract opportunities. The IT/IS division specializes in all facets of IT/IS, including Developers, Network Engineers, Systems Administrators, Project Managers, Business Analysts, PC Technicians, and IT Management.
Kara is a member of the Human Resources Association of the Midlands (HRAM), Lincoln Human Resource Managers Association (LHRMA), the Help Desk Institute (HDI), and Women in Technology (WiTH). Kara has held roles such as VP of Membership for LHRMA, VP of Membership for HDI, VP for the Women in Sales & Business organization in Lincoln, and for many years was on the planning committee for the Nebraska State SHRM Conference. Kara has won awards such as the Lincoln Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, Presidents Club, and Employee of the Quarter. Kara also passed the Certified Personnel Consultant certification in 2006 and continues to keep it in active status. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is married, has three wonderful boys, and is an avid karaoke singer (probably why ‘kara’ is in the word).