The Future of Recruiting is Trust Agents

I’m currently in the middle of reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Combined with reading Inbound Marketing I can’t help but think more about how inbound marketing and trust are related to recruiting.

The reality is that the future of recruiting is trust agents.

Trust agents are experts at relationship building, personal branding, networking, giving (before getting), and creating social capital for themselves. They’re changing how businesses market, sell and provide customer service. And in all three disciplines – marketing, sales and customer service – trust agents can (and will) dominate.

As organizations re-think how they market, sell and service customers, they should be thinking about recruiting existing trust agents. There aren’t many out there so competition for them is fierce. But luckily, more are on the way.

In an ideal situation, the people in charge of marketing, sales and customer service would already be trust agents. That would make the transition from an old way of doing things to a new way that much easier. But if they’re not interested, capable, or in a position to be trust agents they damn well better hire them and provide those people with the necessary freedom and power to do their jobs. That means giving marketers, salespeople and customer service representatives the ability to blog, engage on social networks, respond transparently and devote a portion of their working day to personal branding, reputation building and networking. The time these people invest “in themselves” is going to pay huge dividends for their employers — and companies need to not only understand that, but foster it.

And what does this mean for new recruits, fresh out of college or early in their careers?

Simple: Become Trust Agents.

That’s not going to be easy, and you have to realize that being a trust agent is a lifelong endeavor. You don’t have to be Chris Brogan, Dharmesh Shah, Mitch Joel, Scott Monty, Kelly Groehler, etc. Actually, you can’t be. Because you’re you. The point is that you don’t need to be at the top of your game, serving as a leader in your space, with 20,000 Twitter followers and an ultra-active blog. But you do need to start. Right now. This very instant.

Demonstrate your interest in growing as, and becoming a trust agent. Demonstrate your understanding of new technologies and how they can be leveraged to meet business goals. Demonstrate your fighting spirit and willingness to get engaged with the world in a dynamic, honest way. Become a Trust Agent-in-Training. For the visionary employers and leaders in marketing, sales and customer service (along with a host of other company departments / functions) that’s going to be a tell-tale sign that they need to hire you as soon as possible. And then they need to foster, nurture and train the trust agent in you.

In the next 10-20 years many more trust agents will move from being mid-level employees to upper management, C-level executive roles and running their own companies. That’s when we’ll see a true transformation in how business is done. But now is precisely the time for people entering the workforce or early in their careers to commit to becoming trust agents and finding opportunities suited to their needs. And it’s precisely the time for employers to start shifting their mindsets on how and who they recruit.

November 23, 2009 Posted in Recruiting by

  • http://indir-koxp.blogspot.com/ indir-koxp

    Have a very good site, good luck

  • http://indir-koxp.blogspot.com/ indir-koxp

    Have a very good site, good luck

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  • http://www.autodialerforsalespeople.com/ pThomas

    wow…i've noticed this on facebook over the past year or so. I didn't know what i was seeing until i read your article. It sure is great incentive for people to behave nicely and help others on social networks.
    Great Post, thanks.

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    Isn't this one of the greatest books? So much useful stuff they touch on. I think this industry of trust agents is about ready to explode. More and more people are realizing how effective a good agent can be. I think that consumers are more concerned with what businesses have to offer now. They want honesty and transparency while still meeting their needs, and trust agents are great at doing all of this.

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  • http://www.twistimage.com/blog mitchjoel

    Ben,

    This post is filled with all kinds of wisdom. When I talk about personal branding, I love using the Oscar Wilde quote, “be you because others are already taken.” People always diminish the uniqueness and perspective that they can bring to a conversation, and how that perspective really does separate them from the pack. Thanks for reminding us of this.

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    Amen to that. I've recently hired a few grad students to do social marketing for me and it really paid off..

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    With the ever changing world you'll surely find ways to make your business profitable. And this article shows that we should be rational and creative.

  • http://www.ibizbiz.com/ Khate

    In an ideal situation, the people in charge of marketing, sales and customer service would already be trust agents. That would make the transition from an old way of doing things to a new way that much easier.

  • http://www.ibizbiz.com/ khate

    In an ideal situation, the people in charge of marketing, sales and customer service would already be trust agents. That would make the transition from an old way of doing things to a new way that much easier.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Agreed, but there aren't that many trust agents around, so it's unlikely that the people in charge of those departments are already as “with it” as we'd like.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/demetrius.pinder Demetrius Pinder

    This is exactly what I'm striving to become to all my web design clients! I find myself linking them to other clients of mine and other contacts to help their business grow.

    I always say that building a strong network is the most important goal for marketers. Money will come, building a solid network and being known as a trust agent will ensure future success.

    Awesome post!

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    This really works well. I have experienced it in my profession as well.

  • clintcarlson

    I'm reading both books right now as well Ben! Seth Godin led me to Chris Brogan, and then Brogan to Inbound Marketing. Great, inspiring books! I've been having a blast applying these ideas to recruiting in higher education. No longer is the idea “sell, sell, sell!” Instead I'm just trying to connect potential students with resources that will help them overcome obstacles and make decisions. If they end up wanting to come to Herzing, great. If not, hopefully I've given them some useful information.

    Great post!

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Clint – Congrats on moving things forward and starting to change the approach Herzing uses. I expect you (and Herzing) will be better off for it. I'd be interested in hearing what you're doing, how, and what results you're seeing. Makes for an interesting “case study” in a specific industry like higher education.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Clint – Congrats on moving things forward and starting to change the approach Herzing uses. I expect you (and Herzing) will be better off for it. I'd be interested in hearing what you're doing, how, and what results you're seeing. Makes for an interesting “case study” in a specific industry like higher education.

Ben Yoskovitz
I'm VP Product at GoInstant (acq. by Salesforce).

I'm also a Founding Partner at Year One Labs, an early stage accelerator in Montreal. Previously I founded Standout Jobs (and sold it).

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