As technology improves at pace and trends come and go, the recruitment landscape seems to alter with the launch of the next social media channel or change in general working practices. But at its heart, recruitment has always been a people business, and as such, networking has been and always will be a constant. It is estimated that as much as 80% of jobs are never advertised, but are filled by a contact in someone’s network, so whether it’s face-to-face, one-on-one or online, networking is a vital tool for every recruiter.
Networking in person:
It’s often said that everyone you meet and engage with outside of your own workplace counts as networking – you never know who that person might be or know or work for. However, treating every single encounter as a networking opportunity would be exhausting, so we use events or conferences to ensure we connect with the right people. There are a number of excellent reasons to network offline, as opposed to online:
- Physically meeting people allows your personality and communication skills to shine, creating a genuine, more memorable relationship
- Face-to-face offers immediate feedback and hones your selling/persuasion skills
- Industry events can be a great way of learning more and getting the inside track on your sector
- There is more access to senior leaders who you may not reach online
- The candidates you network with will be the hiring managers of tomorrow
- Personal relationships, even friendships, can be made, making you the first port of call when a recruiter is needed
- A chance comment about a certain role might help you map the market, identify an opportunity, or think of a suitable candidate.
Such has been the rise of social media, that online networking has become commonplace and often the preferred method for some candidates. Some of the benefits of online networking are:
- Online is often the only way to reach millennial candidates or less confident candidates who don’t enjoy physical networking events
- Online is great for international reach when meeting in person would not be possible, and also more convenient for 24/7 communication
- Sector forums can help grow a large, relevant network
- Events only reach local talent, the net is much wider online
- Excellent for passive candidates who are browsing around
- Researching and then engaging with someone online plays a part in background checking that would typically be done after networking in person – often saving time.
Both methods have their advantages, but a balance of both is the best policy to maximise your networking reach.