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Managing & Leveraging Recruiting & Candidate Relationships

Learn the techniques to influence candidates if you’re a recruiter and recruiters if you’re a hiring manager. These simple yet powerfully effective communication and management techniques can be quickly implemented for powerful results.

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Presenter: Jim Coughlin (Creative Director, ClubVMSA)

Recruiting is a business of relationships: relationships with candidates, with clients, and with other team members. The success of any firm depends on how smoothly these relationships are established and then influenced to create business opportunities. 

While “influencing relationships” or “influencing people” can sound cold, the reality is that spheres of influence are always at play. In fact, influencing people can be a tool for good, helping your firm achieve greater profitability with fewer resources. 

The Credibility Continuum

Credibility is defined as “the quality of being trusted or believed in.” In a recruitment context, it can be helpful to think of “credibility” as a continuum, or one long line. On one end of the line is “zero credibility.” This means you have no influence with people—they don’t know you and don’t trust you. On the other end of the line is “total credibility.” This means that if you tell someone to jump off a bridge, they ask which bridge.


Every relationship you have can be charted along this line of credibility. As a recruiter, your goal is to move your place on this continuum of credibility so you’re established with recruiters and candidates. The more credibility you establish, the more easily you can influence those around you to move business forward.

Establishing Credibility

Ultimately, establishing credibility boils down to three things: what you say, what you do, and time. If you only met a candidate yesterday, you won’t have as much credibility as their mother, plain and simple. But just because a relationship is new, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to quickly establish a credible rapport. 

The American author, L. Ron Hubbard, outlined an easy process to help people establish credibility quickly. Called the “ARC Method” or “The Components of Understanding,” this process is broken down into three parts. 

  • A: Affinity. Before you can establish credibility, you must first create an affinity between you and the person. This is as simple as identifying things you and that person has in common. Maybe you went to the same college, like the same football team, or have a mutual interest. Whatever the case may be, establishing this affinity towards one another differentiates you in the eyes of your interlocutor, building credibility. 
  • R: Relationship. From affinity comes relationship. Now that you have an affinity for one another, you’re able to speak more freely, establishing the intimacy required for a real relationship. This relationship need not be particularly serious—e.g., it could operate as a co-worker relationship—but the key is that it’s functional. You and your interlocutor have enough trust and affinity that you can speak to one another. 
  • C: Communication. And finally, from relationship comes communication. Only once I’ve built a certain amount of affinity and trust with a person will they be willing to really listen to me and take me seriously. Without the relationship, I’m just another talking head. I may as well be talking to a wall. But once the person and I have a relationship, they are more likely to really listen to me and consider what I say. 

Positioning Statements

So now the question becomes: how can you take the first step and establish an affinity between you and your interlocutor? 

The answer is by crafting a positioning statement. This positioning statement positions you in the mind of your prospect so that you appear different than anyone else. For example, if you’re a recruiter, you need a positioning statement that separates you from the hundreds of other recruiters calling that candidate. 

Crafting a compelling positioning statement is difficult. But a few tips to keep in mind are: 

  • Make it disarming. The entire point of the positioning statement is to differentiate you from others. That means your statement must be disarming. It has to catch the person off their guard and pique their interest, so they’ll keep listening to you. 
  • Make it comfortable. Often, when people hear “disarming,” they think the statement needs to be negative. This is not the case. Your positioning statement should put the person at ease while catching their interest—a tricky combination!
  • Make it polished. If you’re a recruiter, you’ll use this positioning statement on dozens of candidates a week. You don’t want to trip up. Rehearse your positioning statement. Think about it, write it out, and practice. That way, when you have the ideal candidate on your phone, it trips off your tongue easily. 

Recruitment and Relationship

Relationships are the foundation of all recruitment. Whether you’re influencing one of your recruiters to call another candidate, or influencing a candidate to take a job, understanding how people work, and incorporating this knowledge into your recruitment process is only going to make your firm more successful and more profitable. 

About ClubVMSA

ClubVMSA gives Extended Workforce Buyers and their partners a safe place to connect and engage. Learn more about ClubVMSA and their services here: https://clubvmsa.com/.

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