For me, face to face networking still has a (big) place in recruitment. After all, we do work in a relationship based profession! So, I’ve put together a blog with some tips and advice to help you get the most out of networking events. Here are 5 ways to do recruitment networking right...
1. Don't Talk About Jobs (Make Friends!)
Seems obvious however you’d be surprised by how many people try and sell at networking events. You don’t want to be running around pitching like a snake oil salesman. Do your homework and know who’s who and simply get to know them in a relaxed conversational manner - without trying to sell them anything.
People like to work with people they like. So, take a genuine interest in the people you meet and ask lots of questions. Nothing about your conversations should feel like you’re trying to sell the other person your services. Instead, ask them about the most challenging thing about the sector, job or industry they are involved in. Then, try to find some common ground on subjects other than work. Do they like sport? Watching movies? Hill walking? Family time? Walking the dog? It’s all about building an idea of who the person is, not just what their job is. Make it about them.
Hint: Keep a note of their interests on the business card they give you and pop it into your CRM.
2. Seek Out Opportunities to Learn
You are expected to be an expert in your niche, but you aren’t expected to know absolutely everything! Use networking events to increase your market knowledge. Ask questions of the people in the know in your sector. This builds your own knowledge and credibility and it’s a great way to get your name out there and build relationships with people who carry weight in the industry.
3. Make Introductions & Grow Your Network
When meeting new people at a networking event, look out for any pain points they might flag up. If someone tells you about a business problem they are having that you can’t help them with but someone in your network can, set up an intro!
People remember people that help them out and this along with increasing your credibility, develops your personal brand. Instead of focusing only on making your own connections, try to connect others. When speaking with someone, think about whether there's someone else in your personal network who could help (or be helped) by this person, and then make an introduction. In my own work life, I love connecting people. Give it a go and you'll see the benefits come back two-fold!
4. Fly Solo
A lot of people attend networking events with colleagues. This tends to mean standing in the corner chatting with someone you already know. Flying solo means you’ll be forced out of your comfort zone and will meet more people. Large events can foster pack mentality, but the more attendees you can meet and speak with, the more of an asset you’ll be. A networking event is an opportunity to pick the brains of the people in your market. Don’t waste it.
5. Follow up with Value (Quickly)
Try if you can, to follow up with value within a few days after the event and ensure to connect with them on all their active social platforms. You’ll get a better return from this than waiting as you’re still fresh in their memory. Use their personal information that you found as well as their challenges that they face and turn this into a good tailored, personal email. Be sure to mention something they told you at the event, and if you can, provide them with content that could help them overcome the challenges they raised. This approach shows that you listen and it will make a far greater impression than saying: “Nice to meet you at the event, let’s connect.”
Once you learn how to use these tips to enhance your in-person networking efforts, you will be able leverage your social connections into professional gains - without alienating your new friends. The long-term secret to networking is taking the information you obtain at recruitment networking events and use it to build a lasting professional relationship. Today’s social media platforms make it easier than ever to connect with people and keep in touch long after the event itself has been and gone.