Tips for Building Solid Relationships, from the Wand of the Fairy Job Mother

Kathleen Niedermayer - Job Developer ·
“Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond.” - Tony Robbins, Author and Motivational Speaker

Building relationships with another person is all about connecting with him or her and creating a sense of trust and understanding. According to some research, we have only 7 seconds to make a good first impression! It is absolutely essential for us to build solid connections with our clients, and this relationship building starts the first time we meet.

When I began my career as a Job Developer with EDSI, I would conduct an initial interview with clients. I would ask questions about clients’ living situation, their children and partners, the kinds of jobs they had in the past and what they wanted to accomplish. The interview gave me some important facts, but I realized something was missing. I wanted to go a bit deeper, I needed to better understand their passions, hopes and dreams when it came to finding, obtaining and keeping a job.

One day I asked the usual question, “What kind of job are you looking for?” The client gave the same answer as so many who had before, “I will do anything, I’ll take any job.” I had been looking for a better way to ask this question to receive a more specific answer, so I could appropriately establish a client’s real employment desires. I wanted to match the client with the best job for him or her and avoid presenting them with “just any job.”

On that day, I spontaneously reached for the star- shaped stress ball that sits on my desk with the saying “think positively” printed on it. I grabbed a pencil and put them together and said to the client, “This is my magic wand. Not only am I your Job Developer but I am also your Job Fairy Godmother.” I smiled, the client laughed and relaxed. I continued, “If time, money, education, daycare, transportation and background are no longer issues, what job would have you jumping out of bed and celebrating that you were going to a job you love?”

Every client I have interviewed since that day, laughs with me as I show them my wand (now a very nice one given to me by one of my team members) and thinks about the answer and proceeds to share their “dream job.” I ask specific questions and ask them to describe where they will work, what they are doing and wearing, what time of day or night it is and who is working with them. Are they alone or on a team? I ask any other question that will help us both “see” them at their dream job, fully engaged and loving what they do to earn a living. This gives me a clearer picture of the type of work that would be meaningful for the client. Although many of the dream jobs are not within our clients’ range of accessibility at the moment, they are dreams that could be attained with time. We can usually find elements of the dream job within the current job possibilities to match them with work that could very well set them on the path toward their desired career. After successfully completing a number of these interviews, another team member dubbed me the “Fairy Job Mother” and thus was born my new identity.

Here are some relationship tips from the wand of the Fairy Job Mother:

  1. Be authentic, be you, let your positivity show, have a little fun, smile.
  2. Ask a lot of questions - especially open-ended ones and actively listen to the responses.
  3. Be present in each conversation; no distractions, stay focused on the other person.
  4. Make time for others; give people the precious gift of spending time together.
  5. Accept and celebrate that we are all different.
  6. Create a common bond through empathy, understanding and mutual respect.
  7. In the words of our values at EDSI - Show Up, Smile and Support!
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