People—and Personal Relationships—Really Matter

on 11 | 29 | 2012

“The hills have eyes,” as the saying goes, meaning that everyone knows everyone in Silicon Valley. At Riviera Partners, we realize that our success hinges on people’s interaction with—and often perception of—our company.  To that end, we strive daily to build and nurture relationships with people that matter, whether they are clients, business partners, or colleagues.

We like to say we have healthy relationships with the “A-level” talent and unintentional catalysts throughout the Valley. This reputation, along with our culture of service to simply do the right thing, is why we make sure to deliver on our promises. Not just because it’s best practice, but also because we understand the implications—good and bad—our actions have on current and future business.

Perhaps the single most critical factor in developing strong relationships is trust. Once a person has your trust, he or she is more likely to pick up the phone, listen to a deal, negotiate with integrity, and come to a decision with you.

Relationships are also about taking interest in and getting to know a person, particularly when it comes to candidates. The more you know about them, and what’s important to them, the better feel you’ll have for whether they are ready to make a change or fit within a particular company’s culture.

Old-fashioned, personal communication is another key element. We live in a “noisy” society, with technology ruling how we live, work, and play. While innovation is great—and the reason Silicon Valley is what it is today—there’s risk of losing that human touch if we’re not careful.

We see it happening in our industry, with recruiters relying more and more on digital communications. Social media has made it way too easy to interact with individuals and groups through video, photos, text, and the like, versus traditional conversation.

Even at Riviera Partners, we pride ourselves on being leading-edge, using the latest tools, technologies, and devices to improve our efficiency, productivity, and connections. But we also hold strong to the belief that our business is about people and personal relationships.

Relationships, and building networks, do not emerge overnight. They take time, patience, and persistence. A candidate might not be interested in your current opportunity, but when they are looking a year from now, you want them to remember the positive interaction they’ve had with you. And it certainly helps to stay in touch, providing them with information that’s relevant or interesting to them.

For example, if you know a candidate is into cycling, and you come across an interesting article on the sport, send it to them. Demonstrating a genuine interest in both their personal and professional lives goes a long way in strengthening that relationship, and keeps you top-of-mind when that right time arrives.

Social events and hosted activities are another great way to connect with and get to know people. We will often hold casual gatherings with clients, partners, and colleagues simply to bring people of similar interest together. The connections and shared experiences born from these activities are memorable and invaluable and establish relationships outside the professional setting.

At Riviera Partners, we benefit by focusing on specific disciplines, enabling our recruiters to really understand their space—the key people, the trends, the cultures, and so on. We’ve found that our specialists can develop much deeper, personal relationships than a generalist.

Lastly, there’s something to be said for sharing your relationships, especially in the tight-knit Valley. Our philosophy is to go “six degrees,” sharing our connections with connections of connections. Leveraging our trusted relationships with people who are “hubs” in the community gives us even greater access to more people—and more relationships.

After all, that’s what really matters.