The way we recruit today is so much different than a decade ago. We’re scouring LinkedIn, searching Google, and advertising on websites and online job boards to find new hires. Face-to-face interactions don’t typically occur until much later in the hiring process.
But can you truly find the skills and qualities you’re looking for – and find the right fit for your organization and specific position – by reading about someone online?
Sometimes an in-person conversation is all it takes to know whether you’re looking at your next sales professional, project manager, accountant, or technician.
It may seem like networking and face-to-face interactions take longer than online searches, but is that really true? You likely spend a lot of time looking for, and reading about, potential candidates who aren’t the right fit – which is why taking the time to network in person can truly pay off.
Insperity, one of NSCA’s affinity partners and provider of HR and business solutions to NSCA members, offers these helpful hints on getting the most out of your in-person networking.
1. What Can You Give?
What would happen if everyone approached networking with a “what-can-you-offer-me” mentality? It wouldn’t work very well. Network with a “how-can-I-help?” mindset instead; this builds lasting relationships and proves your value. In turn, the people you meet will be more likely to help you as well.
2. Get Ready Ahead of Time
Don’t walk into a networking event blind. Take the time to learn who will be there and where they’re from, think about potential talking points, and narrow in on what you want others to know about you and your organization.
3. Take a Solo Approach
Networking can sometimes feel awkward, causing you to want to take someone else along. This can backfire, however; it is much harder to have meaningful conversations with new people if you’re always with someone else.
It’s also tempting to stick by the side of the person you know. You can easily burn an hour or two just catching up, and realize later that you didn’t take advantage of the networking time you had.
4. Offer Undivided Attention
Regardless of who you’re talking to – and what you may think about him and where he works – you never really know what value he may bring until you talk to him. Even if you think the person you’re speaking with can’t possibly offer you anything, stick it out and engage in conversation. You never know what you may discover.
5. Pay Attention to Details
It’s important to listen to what people say at networking events, but it’s just as important to observe their actions. Is this person comfortable around strangers? Is she well spoken? Does she make a great first impression? Is she able to listen instead of talking over people? These details can help you decide whether someone would fit well with your company culture.
6. Keep an Open Mind
While networking, it’s always possible that you’ll run into someone you know – whether it’s someone you interviewed but didn’t hire, someone who offered you a job that you declined, an old boss who was upset that you left, etc.
In these situations, you can still nurture those relationships. Just because you gave or received a “no” doesn’t mean there won’t be an opportunity down the road that may be a better fit.
Once a networking event is over, consider keeping in touch via email or social media with people you enjoyed meeting so you have a way to reach them in the future.
To learn more, read the entire blog here.
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