As a staffing professional, your job doesn’t just start with providing an expert recommendation to a client about which workers will provide the right set of skills to fill a role. You have to find the candidates first. And expert networking will help. Networking puts you in a room with professionals from a wide range of industries who might be looking for a new job.
Expertly honing your networking skills will allow you to gain introduction to workers who could possibly fill either a current or future position offered by one of your clients. By meeting an individual at a networking event, you are getting a face-to-face evaluation opportunity. Leave a strong impression with a professional at a networking event and then fill out a profile for the individual using your recruiting software. When you are looking to fill a position, you will then have a wider array of people you’ve already met who could fit the role’s requirements. And don’t forget that networking referrals from your candidates and contingent employees are often the best source for new candidates.
Keep these three networking tips in mind so that you make the most out of every meeting:
1) Get rid of the sales pitch. When you are at a networking event, it’s easy to fall back on a choreographed introduction of who you are, who you work for and what you can offer someone. You will often be better remembered as a strong listener – one who showed real interest in others – THEN offer up what you do and your (nine-second) value proposition. Take the time to instead create a bond with a person. People remember those who they enjoyed talking to and they are often more willing to work with an individual if a friendly bond was created. Instead of pushing what you do and what you can offer someone, work on trying to create a natural conversation.
2) Create a tracking method. At larger networking events it can become easy for the names, faces and stories to blur together. Try and create a simple method of tracking all the names and contact information you receive. For example, if you receive business cards you have all of a person’s contact information right there with you. Consider jotting down a few descriptors on the card once you leave his or her presence so that you can better remember details about them. If a potential contact does not have a business card on hand, you have another key tool that can be helpful. Ask the individual if they are on LinkedIn and if it is ok to make a professional connection with them while you are right there at the event using your smartphone.
3) Practice. Our number one piece of advice was not to sound like a sale pitch, however, that does not mean you have to wing it when you walk into a networking event. You can practice more than a few different responses to commonly asked questions so you feel more comfortable at a networking event. This is an especially important step if you feel uncomfortable talking to strangers in an unfamiliar setting. Just because you’re used to performing interviews or talking on the phone with someone, doesn’t mean you are infallible to a bit of social jitters. If you don’t have a rehearsed answer ready or a go-to story, make sure you attend networking events somewhat regularly so you don’t fall out of practice.
As a staffing and recruiting professional, a large part of the job is related to having a database or recruitment program of talented individuals who can fill a position at any time. Do you attend networking events? Do you have any other recommendations for making the most out of these opportunities?