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Jan 30, 2019

One meaningful connection a day keeps the hiring managers at bay, usually. Many of us recruiters wish it were that easy. But one small step each day can go a long way. One significant connection can come in a variety of ways. Through LinkedIn, you are meeting someone at the local coffee shop, a networking happy hour, or that company holiday party. Yeah, you’ll “meet” or “connect” with a lot of people, but is it meaningful? Will you remember them the next day? If you do, will you remember what they do for a living? What mutual connection you two might have?  Recruiters make connections on LinkedIn every day, but how many of them turn into a mutually beneficial relationship.

Be Genuine

Not every connection is going to turn to into “two peas in a pod” scenario, but why not try? Reaching out to that one candidate who fits everything on your job profile can sometimes be a crapshoot. Instead of giving them the, “Hey – hope all is well! I just came across your profile in my search for….” try a more conversational route. Ask to buy them coffee (who’s going to turn that down). Try to get to know them. Be genuine. We are all human after all right. The less someone feels like just a candidate or a number, the more meaningful it becomes.

You’ve got to stand out. If you recruit for folks in IT, you know your passive candidates on LinkedIn are getting InMail after InMail, which can eventually turn them off of sites like LinkedIn altogether. Then what? If my first InMail doesn’t work, I’ll look to connect with them directly or find a mutual connection. In regards to the latter, some of my best hires have been through a connection’s previous colleague who they met randomly at a networking event, who happened to know so and so’s cousin (you get the point). It’s such a small world, but that will usually lead to at least a phone call, or better yet, a coffee date.

Over the years, when communicating and reaching out to passive talent, I’ve learned to steer the dialogue in the direction of, “What do you want?” “What do you enjoy?” “What do you want your next move to look like?” and not, “Here’s my opportunity, you look like a great fit, do you want it?”

If after your conversation, you’ve agreed that it isn’t the right fit, hey, at least you’ve networked and have planted a seed. If the discussion went well enough, that candidate might tell their friend how great your company is and ultimately help spread the word for you. Pipelining like this is a longer-term approach but seems to always yield the best of the best, at seemingly just the right time.

Twitter Still Works

The same goes for non-recruiting connections. Regarding personal development, one meaningful relationship a day can lead to some pretty cool things. Here’s my shameless plug for my Twitter and how one small tweet led to some pretty cool networking.

Although I don’t have the largest of Twitter followings, for those I choose to follow and those that wish to follow me, I try to engage as much as I can. One of the accounts I follow is a local group to Milwaukee that focuses on bringing top talent from all around the country (and world) to the Greater Milwaukee Area. They’ve created great programs and local partnerships to help Milwaukee become not only a destination but a great place to live and work.

I came across one of their tweets one day that talked about how they just wrapped up a talent acquisition roundtable at a local business. I took a shot in the dark and asked what it was about and how it went. It led to a quick phone call, then a quick in-person coffee chat, then eventually my company hosting the next roundtable, with tons of local TA professionals. Awesome networking.

The lesson here for me was this, one small tweet, email, message, the coffee date can lead to some pretty cool things. Sometimes it takes a while for these things to come full circle, but they always seem to eventually — cheers to those who do this already. Happy networking.