The truth behind meaningful relationships

This past weekend my wife and I went to Oxford, MS to watch the Texas/ Ole Miss game.  It was more like a David vs. Goliath scenario, yet 100,000 fans from Texas and Mississippi attended.  Miles of tents with elaborate spreads of food and drinks covered every inch of the tailgating area, better known as the Grove.  Truly, it didn’t matter to me who won or lost the game, it was just a phenomenal experience.  A sleepy southern town with 10,000 students was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of traveling alumni and Texas fans. 

We have had this game on our calendar for years and staying at the one star Super 8 motel was just fine with us.  There are college football rivalries all across the United States, but this was important to me because I am from Austin and I went to undergraduate school at Ole Miss.

When we arrived it would be difficult to see everyone I wanted to see.  I knew cell phone reception would be bad and finding specific tents would be challenging.  That being said I knew there were specific people I really wanted to see.  I graduated seventeen years ago and some of those people I haven’t seen since them. 

I am turning 40 this coming January and things have changed quite a bit since the fall of 1991 when I first stepped foot in Oxford.  Friday night I went to Clay Erwin’s house, a good friend, who was a fraternity brother of mine, where I spent the night catching up with old friends.  That along with spending time with my wife away from the kids were the highlights of my trip. Partying all night wasn’t as important as catching up and talking about old times and what new adventures life has brought them.    

As recruiters we strive for these kinds of relationships.  This could be a candidate/ recruiter relationship, a client/ recruiter relationship, a manager/ recruiter relationship or even a mentor relationship.  They are genuine and meaningful and will last.  They aren’t superficial.  Although my friends and I hadn’t seen each other in years, this weekend clearly reminded me of the times we did share with each other and how they have shaped me into the person I am today.  How do you build these types of relationships?  The “work smart not hard” could not be further from the truth.  Here are 5 ways you can find and maintain these types of relationships.  In the long run, a handful of these relationships far outweigh the mass number of relationships and can help you with your career in ways you never would have imagined.

1)      Release control.  Don’t force it.  Think of it this way, if you treat people the way you want to be treated and treat everyone with integrity then naturally you will gravitate to the people that have similar values as yourself.  You can’t force two people to love each other in a marriage- it just has to work. 

2)      Choose wisely.  Time is precious.  Spend time with people that will make you a better person.  Don’t waste time with people that don’t match your moral and ethical values.

3)      Determine if they are a champion.  Will they go to bat for you and do anything for you to help your career and you would do the same thing.  This needs to be a two way street.

4)      Commonality.  Do you like to do the same things and hang out with similar people?  If not, it may not be worth investing that much time.  Do you like to go hunting?  Do they?  Do you play golf?  Are you a marathon runner?  Are they?

5)      Trust.  Is this someone that unequivocally can share the most confidential information and you can be each other’s’ shoulder and a mentor.

My wife, a few college friends, some colleagues of work, and Austinites I have known forever fall in this category.  I am truly blessed to have people like this in my life.  Who can you consider?  A handful of meaningful relationships will get you so much further in your career than any other relationship.  As a recruiter or a candidate you have to understand and recognize this.  You will advance quicker and will be more satisfied with your life and your work when you have these people in your life.

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Comment by Martin O'Shea on September 18, 2012 at 2:48am

Have to agree, i treat all conversations as if they were a friend of mine, as this is how I would like to be treated. 
Working as a rec-to-rec has me a little bit confused though, as I am speaking to recruiters all day and often speaking to someone who is being incredible rude, and a lot of the time get the assumption that they don't want to speak with me and they are thinking to themselves "I don't care, why is this person bothering me?! I have a job already". So I am sat there thinking to myself this is what I have to do for work but wait you do the exact same thing as me! So why do they act like this, even though they know! not to matter if they are not interested nor will I be. 


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