And not just because of the talk around recruiting best practices, but because it quickly become clear to me that recruiters are the best networkers on the planet. They have connecting down to a science!
From that experience, here are some networking tips that will undoubtedly help your job search – and career:
Head Hunters Are Relentless Networkers
Head hunters are a very interesting universe that most of us glimpse very briefly – if at all – in our careers. They make their living by finding appropriate job candidates for their clients (employers) who have high level opportunities or opportunities which are difficult to fill. Not an easy way to make a living (for most of us).
The right connections – client employers with jobs to fill and candidates meeting the employers’ requirements – turn into revenue, very quickly. So networks provide direct revenue and revenue opportunities, so they understand the value of their networks because they see that value reflected in their bank accounts.
If job seekers took this approach; if they assigned a dollar value to each quality contact made, how much harder would they work at networking? How much more time would they spend growing their personal sphere of influence. How much better would they filter those contacts that simply can’t help them get where they want to go?
A recruiter doesn’t waste time on networking channels, or people, that don’t help them succeed. Neither should job seekers.
Offensive Networking: Recruiters Excel at Growing Their Newtwork
What I call “Offensive Networking” is what most of us think of as “Networking”. This is what most of us do – expand our network, reach out, and meet new people.
For recruiters, offensive networking benefits include expanded business opportunities that result when recruiters help each other fill positions and sharing the fees paid by the employers for the filled jobs. Offensive networking, as you would imagine, also enables the recruiter to find new clients.
For job seekers, offensive networking means new connections (the more people know about you, and more likely you’ll get recommend you for a job. And of course, having contacts “on the inside” already working for your target employers who can help when you find an opportunity there.
Offensive networking is where most of us, especially job seekers, stop. Not recruiters…
Defensive Networking: Recruiters Nurture and Protect Their Network
Because networking is such an integral and important part of their success, recruiters go beyond collecting business cards and contacts. For these recruiters, “defensive networking” – where every contact is protected and nurtured – is a critical issue. Losing a contact means losing money. Period.
To be a good defensive networker, a recruiter will be consistently active on social media and will attend networking meetings and conferences whenever possible. Why? To make it obvious they are still “players” in their field of operation. This keeps reputations strong and existing clients happy. They are expected to be there! Being consistently connected also keeps them well informed about news in their field of operation and in front of new competitors, techniques and strategies.
For job seekers, defensive networking is often a gold mine of leads, referrals and new information that will help you find that next gig. It also means you are giving back through sharing a job lead that doesn’t work for you, making introductions (of employed and/or unemployed people, as long as the introduction is potentially useful to both), and staying in touch with former colleagues.
This, of course, requires a commitment to keeping your blog current going to an industry or professional association meeting or conference – even when you’re not currently employed You have to be out there, letting everyone in your network know you are still a player in your field.
With defensive networking: think team building: You are building the team that will help you get where you, and they, need to be.
Network Like a Recruiter!
Most job seekers tend to briefly connect with other members of their network, mainly through online media like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and email. This is often very “shallow” connecting, and the relationships often just die of old age and a lack of attention.
Yes, social media allows us to “meet” a lot of new people. But you must make the effort to determine if that person is capable of helping you get your next job, and if you can help them. And then, you must nurture that relationship by being an excellent contact and sharing content, leads on jobs and tips and techniques.
That is how recruiters network. That is how they make their money. And there is the lesson job seekers must learn.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com; Susan has been editor and publisher since. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorgand on Google+.
Image courtesy of themuse.com. Thank you!