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. That strategy is old-fashioned, traditional face-to-face networking.
After over 16 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.
And in the case of an agency recruiter or search consultant, we’re talking about recruiter networking in particular.
Recruiter networking: what hasn’t changed
Many recruiters are looking for the best ways in which to maximize their participation on 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 recruiter 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. And of course, 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?
Recruiter networking suggestions
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. That objective: develop the relationships they need to develop with both clients and candidates.
You want to guard against your production (and the overall production of your agency) dropping during down times? You can improve your recruiter networking efforts in the following three ways:
#1—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. “Out of sight, out of mind” definitely applies in this case. Engaging your clients regularly will help to ensure that they don’t forget about you. More importantly, it will help to ensure that they don’t forget about the tremendous value that you provide.
#2—Attend industry conferences and conventions.
You never know what you could learn from attending recruiter conferences and gleaning knowledge from your peers. Attending these events and meeting other search consultants face-to-face is the backbone of traditional recruiter networking. And traditional networking is still the most effective method.
#3—Consider making split placements a part of your business model.
At Top Echelon, we certainly recommend that you consider taking your networking efforts to the next level by joining a formal recruitment network. (It doesn’t hurt, of course, that we offer one.) Not only can you improve your recruiter networking efforts through membership in such a network, but you can also make split placements on a regular basis. That’s a win-win!
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 Great Recession. 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, text, 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 recruiting business.