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Feb 14, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

As soon as I started writing Bot-Proof Your Career, I could tell it was going to be part one of two – or maybe even a trilogy. Let’s face it: Artificial Intelligence is really, really cool. So here’s some food for thought as you prepare for the world in which we’re competing with bots.

Build Relationships. In my opinion, the secret sauce that will ultimately differentiate you from a bot is this: building relationships. The ability to build these relationships and the capacity for empathy, passion, joy and other emotions is still uniquely human. We already knew that relationships with our hiring managers, candidates, team members and bosses could make or break us. And guess what? Robots can’t form human relationships (at least not yet). In essence, what was always your differentiator from other humans will ultimately become your differentiator from bots. And for that reason, the ability to forge long-term, mutually beneficial relationships is now even more critical to your ability to be successful.

Ask yourself these questions as a litmus test to determine whether you have some work to do on your relationships with key stakeholders and influencers:

  • Do your peers and team members think of you as a go-to person on the team for questions?
  • Does your manager ever seek your advice on how to approach a particular situation or problem?
  • Does your manager give you any of the really difficult situations or searches because he/she trusts you to handle it properly?
  • Do candidates see you as a “trusted advisor” to them throughout the process?
  • Do your candidates willingly and proactively share referrals with you because of the way they were treated by you?
  • Does your hiring manager send you referrals?
  • Does your hiring manager come to you and ask for your opinion on important matters?

You get the idea. If you don’t like your answers to some of these questions, it’s time to get to work.

Become a Thought Leader. I know, I know … this concept is so very overdone. I get it. I do. But here’s the thing: it’s true. We should all strive to be thought leaders in our chosen profession/industry. That doesn’t mean you need to write a blog or speak at conferences (though great for you if that’s what you want to do!) or whatever it is you think thought leaders do. For most of us, thought leadership is a much more subtle – and less public – daily exercise. It’s about happily sharing what you know about a topic with people who might need that information.

If you’ve been recruiting for more than three months, you already know more about the job market, and hiring process than the vast majority of candidates do. In my experience, most non-recruiters find the employment marketplace baffling. This lack of understanding is why candidates make some fairly common mistakes and missteps; they’re basing their actions and behaviors on assumptions, misinformation, bad advice and previous experience (or all of the above!). When you share your insights with candidates, not only is it helpful for them, it also helps solidify your position as someone who knows stuff and who cares.

And who among us hasn’t dealt with the inexperienced hiring manager? You know the one who only hires once or twice a year? Hiring is painful for most hiring managers, even when they know what they’re doing. Our job is to think about how we can help that person, so the process is at least slightly less painful for everyone. What insights do you have into the candidate marketplace and competition that would be helpful for him/her to know?

The only way your influencers and stakeholders will ever know about and value the knowledge, and unique talents you bring to the table is if you demonstrate them consistently. So, start sharing what you know, and you will see for yourself the impact it has on your relationships.

We may all be competing with bots in the very near future, so it’s an important reminder that while most transactions can be automated, the ability to create, nurture and sustain meaningful relationships is still uniquely human.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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