From the earliest days of Insight when it was nothing more than a vision of how recruiting could work, we’ve believed in doing things differently. The core of the Insight vision is the need to take a personal approach to recruitment, and the extremely effective nature of focusing on building relationships by cultivating the highest levels of trust.

Trust that goes both ways.

 

The Problem With Standard Recruiting Methods

Anyone can talk a good game. All you need is a little charisma, a lot of guts, and you can bluff your way into a role – or at least into an interview.

Telling the difference between a candidate who looks good on paper, but is unsuitable in reality, is one of the most important elements of recruitment. Yet so much of recruitment relies on assessing candidates and making recommendations based only on their CVs.

This can cause problems, as people can look good on paper, and interview really well, but turn out to be a nightmare once they’re hired.

The ability to give a good interview is a skill in itself.

Many highly skilled individuals actually interview really poorly. It’s a peculiar truth of human nature that the more accomplished a person is technically or academically, the less capable they can be of dealing with social and highly stressful situations, like going for a job interview.

Even the most experienced hiring manager can fall into the trap of picking a candidate who interviews incredibly well, but isn’t the person best suited to the job, and most capable of effectively filling the role.

A hiring manager knows their role inside out, yet they often still pick the person who says the right things and seems to know the job the best. HMs can assess people technically well – what is more difficult to assess is attitude, practical capability, and whether they actually deliver or just take credit for those around them. Managers will certainly struggle to spot if the candidate is self-centred, has machiavellian or even schizophrenic traits, or is devoid of emotional intelligence. And so they turn to recruiters for help.

But recruitment consultants are often in a difficult position. Unless you’ve worked in a role yourself it can be tough to tell from an interview alone the difference between someone with real substance, and someone with great sizzle. If the people intimately familiar with their industry can fall for that sizzle, it stands to reason that recruiters can also, and probably do on a regular basis.

And that really shouldn’t happen.

Employers hope that by coming to recruiters they will avoid this very issue. They want us to ensure that everyone they interview is as suitable for the role as possible, so that even if they don’t correctly identify the best of the bunch, they still end up with a great new employee.

They place their trust in us to find them the best people.

Hopeful candidates also place their trust in us to find them a perfect new role, one that will enhance their careers.

The recruitment industry is built on that trust, and the professionalism of recruiters.

So why wouldn’t we place trust at the core of the recruiting process?

What Is Trust-Centric Recruitment?

Insight operate differently to most recruiters in that trust is the heart and centre of our recruitment method.

From the start we have invested a great deal of time, effort, thought, and feeling into developing an extended network of trusted professionals operating within our specialist niches.

These consummate professionals have two vital functions:

  1. They recommend potential candidates to us.
  2. They sense-check candidates we discover through our research, and those who come to us via an advert.

Our network consists exclusively of people we trust, who trust us, and who only recommend trusted people.

When you have a relationship with another professional based on a solid foundation of trust, they don’t recommend anyone to you they aren’t 100% confident in. Someone they trust as much as they trust you. If they were to recommend someone untrustworthy, who disappointed you, their relationship with you would be damaged.

And they value that relationship. It’s important to them professionally, and often on a more personal level – real friendships develop within professional networks.

 

How Trust And Recommendations Work…

When your friend asks you to recommend a great plumber, you would never recommend someone you knew had done a poor job in the past. Instead, you’d tell them about the local guy who fixed your boiler and did a cracking job. And if you didn’t have first-hand experience of someone good, you wouldn’t recommend anyone at all.

You might ask around and see if someone you trusted knew a good plumber, but in the absence of a solid recommendation, you’d keep schtum.

If you knew someone but the job they’d done was average, you wouldn’t go as far as recommending them, but you would make your friend aware of them. You’d tell them about your experience, and let them decide for themselves if it was worth the risk.

And if you’d had a truly terrible experience with someone and that same friend mentioned they were thinking of hiring them, you’re going to share your experience, and recommend they look for someone else.

Sometimes a warning is as valuable as an endorsement.

Sometimes it’s of even more worth.

When you consider the care you take when making recommendations to friends, it’s easy to see how trusting professional networks can function.

 

The Impact Of Professional Integrity

If you’re interacting professional to professional, the stakes are much higher.

You’re not only risking a possible friendship, but your professional integrity.  

If you have a network of people who all have a high-level of professional integrity, with whom you have a high-level of trust, who hold high-calibre positions themselves, then you have a recipe for successfully recruiting outstanding candidates.

Your network will only recommend trusted individuals.

At Insight we rely on our network as much as possible when it comes to matching the perfect candidates to the positions that are perfectly suited for them.

Whether we’re on the hunt for an exceptional individual to fill a role, or an exciting and prosperous new challenge for a candidate, our first (and often only!) port of call is our network.

When we send people to interviews we have recommendations from people we trust, who tell us a candidate is a great fit for the role. Sometimes this means we only provide one option; but that option will almost certainly be the best person for the job.

We have complete confidence in that.

We coined the phrase ‘trust-centric recruitment’ to reflect the fact that our method of recruiting is so different, and trust lies squarely at the centre of everything we do.

 

The 8 Pillars Of Trust-Centric Recruitment

So how exactly does a trust-centric recruitment network work in reality?

There are many forms of trust. That’s no less true when it comes to the recruitment process. We use eight different trust-based principles as the building blocks, or pillars, of the trust-centric method:

Trusting The Candidate

In order to have complete confidence in the candidates we recommend, it’s essential that we understand and trust their intentions, credentials and abilities. We need to feel confident that they are genuine, and have the right motivations for seeking a position.

Trusting The Employer

While we’re extremely conscious of the need to find the right people to fill the roles employees have, we’re equally dedicated to ensuring candidates are placed in roles that are right for them. We don’t look at one side or the other, but consider the whole.

For this reason, we need to trust the employers seeking candidates as much as the candidates themselves. Is the culture of their business sound? Are they willing to pay what the candidates are worth? Will they invest in the successful candidate and care for them in their new role?

Trusting The Recruiter

Ensuring that everyone involved in the process trusts us is just as essential. We pride ourselves in cultivating highly trusting relationships with everyone in our network. This is partly because it’s difficult to have much trust in someone who doesn’t trust you in return – people are guarded and skeptical of individuals they don’t trust, even if they are working with them on a professional level.

Beyond that we feel it’s important to demand the same high standards from ourselves that we require in the people we work for and with.

Trusting The Referees

One of the reasons we put so much time and effort into establishing a trusted circle of contracts is the value we place on referrals from people we know. A referee with a poor reputation in the market does not have an opinion we value.

In order to judge whether references are valuable we need to know the people making them.

Groups of underperformers often stick together – we have seen entire departments of mediocrity across our professions. This results in low calibre people recommending other low calibre people, often without realising that those they are recommending aren’t actually desirable candidates.

If a referee is not known to us, we will typically look to find someone within our trusted network who knows that referee.

Trusting Other Professionals

As a result, our network is considerably wider than people who are interested in hiring us to find them a new job, and individuals who are (or may at some point be) in need of our help hunting down the perfect candidate. Due to our preference for finding trusted references for the candidates we recommend, we have a large number of other professionals in our network.

These are individuals who will most likely never use us for their own needs, but we cultivate relationships with them anyway. Their knowledge and contacts in certain industries are exceptionally valuable to us, as are their recommendations. They are happy to help us because they are helping those people that they have respect for.

Trusting Those You Already Trust

This helps us to find candidates using a ‘two degrees of connectivity’ system. When we don’t have a direct referee we still know people, who know and trust other people, who can act as referees.

This may sound somewhat elongated, but the common statement is, “You don’t need to know the person highly recommending the candidate, as long as the referee is well respected by someone you whose opinion you trust.”

Knowing Who To Trust

Knowing who can and can’t be trusted is the trickiest aspect of the whole process. It’s never easy to know who you can trust. It requires a certain amount of gut instinct and inevitably a leap of faith.

Growing A Trusted Network

The real key to this whole system is not allowing the network to stagnate. We are continually growing and expanding our pool of trusted contacts. This network is our most valuable asset, allowing us to reshape the way recruitment works, so we can work in a different way.

A better way.

A way that gets results, with market-leading interview conversion rates – saving you time and maximising the chance of success.

 

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Richard Collins, Managing Director at IEG. Originally a design engineer, Richard has clocked up 10 years’ experience as an executive level recruiter within public sector procurement, finance and commercial management. Career highlights include generating circa £1.2m gross profit from two start-up businesses in five-years, but he also thrives on delivering and building teams. Post 5pm accomplishments include extreme sports and being Daddy to two beautiful daughters.
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