Recruitment Networking – how to get started

Networking has always been a key ingredient in recruitment.

The days of sending your resume via job portals have limitations due to the competitive marketplace. You have heard of how a goody-two shoes John snag a job at a tech firm because he knows Peter whom is influential in the organization.

Or how the son of a boss plays tennis with his client and therefore, gets recruited.

Who you know does matter – it’s just a fact of life now.

Question is, how often many take the conscientious effort to build their contact database over time? Usually a person quits, starts to pull out his phonebook, dials Joe but has not been in touch for 2 years. A call like this doesn’t help much because there is a lack of a strong relationship.

It’s important to spend quality time (not just one session) to interact with specific business contacts. Some say it takes minimally 20 hours for one contact!

Even if there is no agenda, it’s good to catch up over coffee. Get to know each other’s interest or discuss matters at a general level, for instance industry trends. Then, you can insert Mr. A, a Portfolio Manager, in your excel spreadsheet. Easily, you can text Mr. A to find out the challenges of working in the fund management space.

For the purpose of recruitment networking, let’s touch on how you can get started.

Construct a strong online profile

LinkedIn is a great platform to use. It’s not resume writing, rather a summary of your corporate milestones. Imagine your friend is to read, what will be his impression?

The end goal is to get the person on the other side to respond and discuss deeper with you. LinkedIn has a section on testimonials. It’s good to consolidate a few, whom have worked together with you, vouch for your capabilities.

LinkedIn Contacts

Portfolio done, selling comes next.

Search for second degree level in the HR/talent management division. Aim for 5 contacts first. Drop a LinkedIn “InMail” to introduce yourself. Consider a paid version of LinkedIn for a month to reach out. I can’t think of another powerful, structured software that has the “network effect” ability – so yes, subscribe to try. No guarantee but worth a shot!

Target useful events

Make time to attend. There are plenty of sector-specific functions. Once you are there, get a drink, observe and slowly warm up. You will find that out of 10 people, 2 may be part of your “go-to” list. They are not your direct Hiring Managers but able to refer someone in their company.

That’s where your point of referral commences. Salespeople are good at this. Hence, continue to put in the extra effort.

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Do something for others

This is not to say you literally do a task, hoping to get something in return. Often, it’s about goodwill. Be genuine and try to offer help where possible, where you have the power of influence, extra insights to provide or a recommendation to an Influencer. When it’s your turn to ask for a job opportunity, Mr. A may just refer you to someone whom he knows – and you get to the right person who has the authority to hire you.

Work with your Partners

Recruiters (i.e. Executive Search firms) are your right hand lieutenants. Granted, there are plenty out in the market – some are two-man team, some are global firms. Still, they are your good source of job leads, they are your partners. What you need to do is to pick out a pool of trusted Professional Recruiters, probably up to 3, whom are independent and reliable, represent you well and have firm grasp about the industry dynamics.

Invite them out for coffee, not just in need of a job. It’s an opportunity to introduce and get to know them better. Good Recruiters will do that, recognizing that you are one of their top tier talent pool that could matched up to their clients’ requirements.

Conclusion

Often, I don’t hear stories of folks taking quality time interacting with business contacts, new and existing. They assume the market is saturated; the economic situation is in a downward spiral and therefore the job market is weak. There may be some truth in it, but the factor to determine success boils down to the depth and breadth of your network.

And to do this, one needs to take an open mind. Conquer whatever inner thoughts and fear you have, go out there and meet people.

Gradually, you gain experiences in corporate mingling.  Experiences turn to habitual, feel comfortable corresponding with C-Suites. From there, take on a strategic position, leverage your contact database and ask for any exciting job opportunities.

Who knows – you may be the appointed person to land a job that you once never expect.

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