The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking for Recruiters

We live in a technology-based world.  Powerful computers, high-speed Internet connections, terabytes of information . . . and social networking sites that connect people from all over the world.  But how much technology should you incorporate into your recruiting desk?  How much should you use it and how much should you rely upon it?

While the answers to these questions are best answered on an individual basis, there is one non-technological strategy and business technique that is often overlooked in this age of runaway technology—old-fashioned, traditional face-to-face networking. After over 17 years at Top Echelon, I can unequivocally say this:

There is not a technological tool that can replace people’s need to connect with one another on a personal basis, and the best way to do this involves networking in person.

Many recruiters are looking for the best ways in which to maximize their participation in social networking sites.  For younger recruiters, these sites have been part of their recruiting desk since they started in the industry.  While social networking can be useful for recruiters and can definitely result in placements, do they lead to the formation of better relationship?  I’m talking about the type of long-lasting relationships that result in repeat business.  Yes, social networking can be an initiator, but for a relationship to really progress, face-to-face networking is key.

Sure, technology is constantly changing.  It’s evolving, becoming better, faster, etc.  Every year, the stakes are higher and the cool new gadgets are released to a consuming public that just can’t seem to get enough.  But there’s one aspect of a recruiter’s desk and their working life that hasn’t changed, and it just happens to constitute the biggest facet of what a recruiter does.

And that’s people.

People haven’t changed.  Specifically, their desire for relationships hasn’t changed.  They still want to make friends.  They still want to have a laugh over drinks.  They still want to tell you about their children and their grandchildren and chat about the big game on TV this weekend.  Technology hasn’t changed that.  If anything, it’s emphasized it.

What do I mean?  That big game this weekend… how big is the TV you’re watching it on?  Your children and grandchildren… do you still show people pictures in your wallet?  Or are those pictures on your cell phone?

The recruiters who enjoy the most success are those who realize that technology is not the be-all, end-all that some would make it out to be.  They know it’s not going to lead them to the promised land of more placements with little to no effort.  They recognize it for what it is: a tool they can use to better accomplish their main objective, which is to develop the relationships they need to develop with clients and candidates.

You want to guard against your production dropping during down times?  Improve your recruiting network in the following ways:

  • Make client visits as often as possible.  Find ways to get in front of them.  Tour their facility.  Do whatever you need to do to get to know them.
  • Attend industry conferences and conventions.  Sure, the economy is still down and money is tight, but you never know what you could learn from attending recruiter conferences and gleaning knowledge from your peers.
  • Consider making split placements a part of your business model.  Recruiters who treat their Trading Partners like their clients tend to enjoy the most success making split placements on a regular basis.

No matter how many technological tools and gadgets there are in the world, a hefty number of recruiters still went out of business during the past 12 to 18 months.  I’m sure you’ve heard the old mantra, “Business is all about relationships.”  Well, no matter how advanced we become as a profession or a society, that mantra is still true.  And the best way to build those relationships is not via instant message or social media.

It’s face-to-face.  Over coffee.  Talking about things that don’t even have to do with business.  We’ve all invested plenty in new technology.  You might be surprised what an equal investment in people might do for your business.

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