One of the books trending on the internet these days is Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. The New York Times best seller stresses that one of the most common drivers of engagement, more than ever before, is age-old trust.
Who or what is a trust agent? Trust agents are experts at relationship building, personal branding, networking, giving (before getting) and creating social capital for themselves. And, in today’s digital world, trust agents are those people who’ve mastered the new online and social communication tools to build relationships.
Whether you are in looking for a job or already employed, trust is paramount. Candidates who can rethink how they market, sell and service customers, by building trust, will dominate.
If currently unemployed …
Here are four key features that define a trust agent in the job search context.
Even if you feel that you are a perfect fit for the job, it is necessary to build confidence in your abilities at every stage of the hiring process. Ultimately, every offer of employment should be seen as a hiring manager’s statement of trust: “I trust you and believe you can do this job better than anyone else I can hire.”
You need to demonstrate why you should be taken seriously. Your communication should present a clear message that conveys your value as a true professional. Think about ways in which your cover letter, resumé and interviews all play into that larger trust-building objective. Make sure your reference checks are in order. Make it possible to earn the trust necessary to be hired.
Do you claim expertise in your portfolio, or do you build the case to show you have it? Are you boisterous in your assertions, or do you back them up with facts? Are the promises you make for the work you can produce realistic? Can you show the credentials necessary to claim expertise in your field?
Are you honest enough to admit your flaws when asked for your areas of weakness and show how you turn them into strengths? Are you willing to shoulder your share of responsibility when talking about something that didn’t turn out the right way?
What do you say about the boss you hate or the co-workers who fail to live up to your expectations?
During the interview, frame your stories and messaging to demonstrate this critical personal characteristic of trust. In order to show that you will be reliable in the future, demonstrate how you have been so the past. CAR (Challenge-Action-Result) statements or STAR (Situation-Tactic-Action-Result) statements on a resumé can go a long way toward establishing this.
Explain what you were mandated to do within what limits, how you went about the task and what you achieved. Who wouldn’t want to hire a candidate who has a record of being on time and under budget on a regular basis?
If currently employed …
If you are currently employed, here are four steps to demonstrate trustworthiness in the workplace. Trust is about the right thing no matter what and it’s a big factor that will determine success in your job and your career.
The first step in building trust is to be honest. Tell the truth and share honest information, even if it’s to your disadvantage. Body language experts tell us that more than half of communications’ impact is in non-verbal communications. To increase trust through body language, look others in the eye with comfortable and direct eye contact.
The second step is to know what information to share, when to share it and when not to share it. Protect other employees’ personal information and the company’s or competitors’ proprietary information as if it were your own. Think twice before sharing a blunt, unsolicited judgment.
The third step is to be consistent in words and behaviours. Show up — every day and on time — and stay at least the required hours. Do the work, and meet or exceed the job description and company standards. Do what you say you will do. Fulfill your promises.
Genuinely care about others and promote their interests first. Nurture mutually beneficial relationships with open communications. And willingly accept information and constructive critique.
When you think about it, the glue that holds any relationship together is trust.
And no one wants to risk hiring someone who hasn’t shown trustworthiness.
Become a trust agent and you’ll be well on the way to landing your dream job and building a long-lasting, trusting relationship
Indian-born Murali Murthy is an acclaimed public speaker, life coach and best-selling author of the ACE Books — The ACE Principle, The ACE Awakening and The ACE Abundance. He is also chairperson of CAMP Networking Canada. See aceworldfoundation.com. He writes the “Career Coach” column for Canadian Immigrant.