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Networking remains King

Networking remains King

By Keisha Ward, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Networking is an essential activity for both job seekers and talent acquisition professionals. These groups network to expand their contacts and pipelines in the hope that it will lead to a filled position or new job opportunity down the road.

Today, many rely solely on social media networking rather than in-person connections.  Social media resources such as Facebook and LinkedIn prove to be key in leveraging new connections with minimal time invested.  However, traditional networking never gets old. It is vital for successful recruiters to spend face time engaging in-person. 

When and where should recruiters network?
The best time to connect with future candidates is all the time!   Candidates are among us every day. Potential connections can be encountered anywhere.  Strong recruiters make strong connections everywhere they go. These connections are made at the gym, in line at the local coffee shop, with parents at their child’s school, or at community gatherings. The sky’s the limit.  

Attending networking events is a leading and structured approach to increasing connections. Attending these events allows recruiters to target specific skills and industry experience. Networking events such as conferences and tradeshows are often designed with this in mind. ASE offers a host of conferences, round-tables and forums that allow members to learn, share, and develop skills as well as network with their peers.  
How to Leverage Networking Opportunities: 
The key is to know what you are looking for and listen for connection opportunities in all social interactions. 
  • Be yourself – Being genuine allows connections to engage. They will want to stay in touch.
  • Have a plan – Research the event and/or the attendees ahead of time.  Know who you want to meet. 
  • Introduce yourself to the organizer when possible.
  • Share your business cards with true connections only.
  • Ask good open-ended questions.
  • Follow up.
Networking Etiquette 
Let’s face it, networking can be a bit awkward for many.  The thought of walking in to a room filled with strangers can be daunting at first.  Inc.com suggests we stick to our manners to avoid an uncomfortable situation. 
  • Listen rather than hear – Pay attention to what is being said.  If important information is missed ask for clarification.  Don’t assume.  
  • Don’t expect too much – If you realize the conversation is not going to meet your immediate expectation continue to converse – you might be surprised to learn new information or leads.  
  • Avoid monopolizing the conversation.
Although technology has improved our ability to network with the masses, traditional networking methods remain essential components of success. We now have candidates and connections at our fingertips; however, developing relationships requires an added personal component. People do business with those they know and like. Social media functions as a bridge to initiate these conversations, but to really get to know someone you need to meet them face to face. 
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