The ABC's of Recruiter Networking
As expert recruiters have mentioned in a previous post, your network is the single most important part of your success when it comes to finding candidates.
Who is in your network?
Your network is the circle of friends and acquaintances that you know from areas of your life like work, school, religious/civic organizations, and volunteer activities. It might be people from your neighborhood, or people from places where you regularly shop or dine. Also considered in your network are the people who sell you goods and services (bankers, insurance people, mechanics, etc.), the people you know through your spouse or children’s activities like sports teams, and of course, the medical providers in your life. You are only limited by your imagination.
A strong network not only allows you to make connections with those actually looking for a job, it can also connect you to people who know people who are job hunting. Those referrals can end up driving more candidates into your pipeline, and allows you to make stronger connections for the future. Since 85% of people have found a job as a result of networking, successfully networking is a must.
However, learning to positively network can take your career from good to great, you just need to remember your ABCs.
Actively look for opportunities
At its heart, recruiting is a relational industry, so your focus should always be on meeting new people and strengthening connections. According to a number of surveys, nearly 70% of younger workers prefer face-to-face events, so if you’re not already reaching out to people at in-person events, you should be.
One of the best ways to meet new people is by taking advantage of events, workshops, and other in-person networking opportunities. Most cities, even small ones, will have a number of events and groups you can join. Whether that’s attending a chamber of commerce mixer, joining a Meetup group, or becoming part of an official organization, look around for opportunities that would be a good fit for you. The events may change based on whether you’re looking to make connections with other recruiters or meet potential candidates.
Tip: In-person events can be intimidating at first. If it helps, you might try coming up with a few questions beforehand, so you won’t be nervous about being in a situation where you have nothing to say. It is also helpful to brainstorm some ideas for what you’d like to gain from an event, whether that’s finding a mentor, meeting potential job seekers, or just connecting with some like-minded recruiters.
Build your LinkedIn
While in-person events are especially effective for meeting people, you’ll also want to begin building your virtual network, and LinkedIn is a great tool for that. LinkedIn is especially helpful if there aren’t networking events in your area, since it allows you to connect with professionals outside your immediate circle, especially since the number one way that most people discover a new job is through a referral. Start by creating a strong profile (a great profile is one of the best ways to build credibility with potential candidates)
Whenever you meet someone new, ask to connect with them on LinkedIn. Intentionally pursuing connections like these will help you to better build your network, and to maintain existing relationships with either fellow recruiters or candidates that might be interested in a job in the future.
Tip: To get the most out of your LinkedIn experience, be strategic about who you add. It’s also nice to send a note along with the invitation to connect, reminding the connection about how you met and thanking them for adding you to their network.
Communicate like a pro
It’s not enough to just build your network. Even though most recruiters spend a lot of time working to hit the 500+ connections on LinkedIn, the best recruiters know that they need to spend the time nurturing the connections in their network.
Recruiting is about the long term, not just about the initial connection. Keep your network alive by staying in touch with the people you meet, even if that’s just following up with them every few months and seeing if their circumstances have changed and if they are looking for an opportunity.
Tip: It’s important to not just focus on “getting” candidates — you want to create strong, genuine relationships with the people you’re meeting. Most people will be able to tell if you’re not genuinely excited to meet them, so for the first meeting, try to avoid being over sales-y.
Networking is an essential part of successfully recruiting, and many experts in the industry get started simply by reaching out to the people in their networks.