Careers are journeys, and everyone comes to a fork in the road or the occasional detour where a sound guide goes a long way. In my 14 years in staffing, I’ve learned that to engage talent, you must learn as much as you can about their goals, skills and interests. Understanding and engaging our people in a way that furthers growth helps us propel them toward their desired career destinations.

Earning a two-way relationship begins with the very first conversation. Learning the skills a candidate has developed and the type of work they enjoy builds the foundation for an effective recruiter relationship. Often, candidates may not immediately articulate what they’ve done and where they want their careers to go. Going beyond what’s listed on their résumé to uncover their passions, interests and motivations gives us a clearer picture of their marketable skills and which opportunities align best to their goals.

Dig deeper. When a candidate applies for a forklift position, that tells me their short-term goals. By asking questions designed to uncover their long-term interests, I might learn they ultimately want to go to maintenance school to work on forklifts as a career. Knowing their long-term goals enables me to present opportunities that will help them acquire the skills and experiences that will advance their career.

When I’m promoting the candidate, I seek clients hiring forklift drivers that can also offer mentorship or upskilling through their maintenance team. I paint the picture of how the candidate’s goals align to their business and how those ambitions can add value in both the short and long term.

Cultivate the story. That’s the value of working with Aerotek. Our recruiters help the candidates cultivate the story of their journey and where they plan to take their career. This is valuable information for our clients. Résumés alone don’t give hiring managers the best idea of how the candidate would fit into their company’s future.

Learning as much as you can about someone’s journey is an excellent starting point, but we also understand new experiences and growth can cause a worker to reconsider their future. Our recruiters want to be there when it happens and learn what caused the change. Consistent engagement helps us play a larger role in the worker’s journey. We don’t want to be there for just one job. We want to provide multiple opportunities that help our contractors achieve their career goals.

It’s all part of helping people realize how to create a story using the skills they have learned. Workers pick up various hard and soft skills at every job. When their career goals change, we help them identify the transferable skills most valued by employers in their industry of interest.

Eliminate ambiguity. One of the biggest threats to engagement is lack of feedback. Ambiguity and assumptions ruin relationships. One of the ways Aerotek fights ambiguity is through routine touchpoints with talent and performance feedback from clients. The idea that “no news is good news” should be put aside. Engagement is about communication and expressing concern or praise helps everyone involved. We want to be the catalyst for bringing performance and potential together. We accomplish this by fostering opportunities for feedback in all our relationships.

Eliminating ambiguity is important for the success of workers and our internal employees. Author and public speaker Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do or how you do it. They buy WHY you do it.” At Aerotek we live by the phrase, “Our people are everything.” That’s our WHY and there’s no disconnection between the message and how we handle our relationships.

It’s this people-focused mission that keeps me engaged with Aerotek. We’re a group of passionate folks who want to help advance people’s lives. Connecting great workers to great companies is how we get that done.

Learning about our people’s specific challenges and ambitions earns engagement and inspires growth. We’re in the business of advancing people’s lives and we do it by understanding their journey.