What’s the key to a successful recruiter-candidate relationship? According to Will Kelly, a managing director at Veredus, a tech staffing firm, it’s trust. Kelly tells his team to think less like recruiters and more like sports agents, always on the lookout for the best talent. And that makes total sense, as tech pros at the top of their game are the ones who employers want to hire. Trust needs to be built, Kelly added. That’s the recruiter’s job, and it can prove a difficult one, as candidates tend to have a “pretty low trust level” with recruiters. But even that natural wariness can be overcome through recruiters investing the necessary time to not only learn about candidates’ skills and experience, but also what drives them, their career path, and their relevant work experience. It’s important for recruiters to clarify that they’re trying to build a long-term relationship with the candidate. While an opportunity today might not fit the candidate’s wants and needs, a future one could end up being perfect. “I’m in this career for the long haul,” he tells tech pros. “I live in Dallas, you live in Dallas, and if you code .NET for a living we’ve got a reason to keep this relationship going.” Building trust doesn’t have to be difficult, Kelly believes. It’s a matter of backing up your words with simple actions: returning phone calls, being honest about why a candidate might not be the perfect fit for a specific job, and making sure to follow up on action items. Coaching professionals about their strengths and weaknesses, and looking out for them while they explore different roles, helps recruiters keep candidates loyal to them. “If you’ve got that trust,” Kelly said, “it works out.” And that should come as a relief to recruiters trying to fill even the toughest positions. Check out the rest of his advice in the above video.