For over 20 years, I have been helping great companies find top talent and qualified job seekers find new jobs. It has been an incredible journey – continually learning and always rewarding.
My passion for training and consulting has led me into two related areas: I teach best practices to recruiters and search consultants globally. I am also an employability expert witness for legal cases. This business has more than doubled in the last year.
People often ask me how I stay motivated and where my business ideas come. In essence, I’m asked: “What drives me?” It’s a question we all need to answer to be fulfilled in our careers and personal lives.
Motivation is everywhere. Look around your desk. Around mine are: Photos of my family, words and phrases “12 Keys to Making the Connection,” “How to Make Every Conversation Count” and “You are the Brand.” Next to a Derek Jeter rookie card is a Mariano Rivera signed baseball. “Top 20 Ski Resorts in North America” and a comic strip my father-in-law sent me about executive recruiters. And, technology – iPhone, computer, speakers, video. A sheet which tracks interviews with companies and candidates.
What have I learned along the way?
It is the intangible things that are most important:
Passion, Trust, Reputation. Relationships with people.
Passion. What do you love to do? When you do it, you are naturally enthusiastic. People hear it in your voice and see it in your actions. You don’t second guess yourself. Work isn’t work: It is play. The rewards come, personally and financially.
Trust. How do you earn it with others? Your actions are followed by your words. People can count on you. You sincerely want to assist others in achieving their goals. Your behavior is consistent. You deliver time and time again.
Reputation. What do people think of when they think of you? Upbeat. Positive. Hard-working. Results-oriented. Trustworthy. A person of your word, who can be counted on. One who truly cares about others.
How to develop all? Follow-through. Show people your genuine interest over time. Find out what’s important to them. Connect with them on a personal level. Be proactive and sincere.
Start in two ways:
1. Reach out. Say, “Hi John, I’m following up about XYZ and I’m interested in working with you because…” In today’s electronic world, distinguish yourself by calling! A phone conversation, or even leaving a voice message, is more personal and conveys emotion.
2. Use social media. Amazing tools exist today to find, engage and partner with others. Become comfortable and confident in using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Skype. Maybe start your own blog to showcase your talents.
People who achieve their goals are relentless. In changing times, they continue forward undaunted. I have a plaque hung in my office that I’ve had since college. It states:
“There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”
I ask you: What motivates you and how do you want to spend your life?
Well-managed companies never give counter-offers. What message does it send if an employee needs to threaten to resign to get an increase in pay?
A counter-offer is an inducement from a current employer to get an employee to stay after he has announced intentions to accept another job elsewhere. In today’s job market, counter-offers have become common, as employers look to retain high performers. (After all, it’s less expensive to keep you, than to find or train another like you.)
If you are unhappy with your current pay, I recommend you go to management and ask for an increase, before you start looking for a new job. Make sure you can back up why you should be paid more. If your employer doesn’t increase your compensation, don’t resort to leaving to get more pay. These tactics can destroy your career.
If an employee communicates to management that he is not satisfied with his compensation and he can back up the reasons for why he is worth more, then management should not wait to increase his salary. Take it as a sign of dissatisfaction. If the employee is a performer, then pay the market rate. Why should management do this? If the employee has to threaten to leave to get an increase, the company’s values come into question. Is this the kind of culture you want to foster and be known for: That money is the overriding factor to keep employees happy and you have to “buy back” employees to keep them?
If you are an employee who has been given a counter-offer, ask yourself:
• What kind of company do I work for if I have to threaten to resign before they give me what I want?
• Where did the money or title or promotion for the counter-offer come from? Is it my next raise or promotion just given early?
• Are future opportunities limited now? Will I have to threaten to leave again for another raise or promotion?
• Since I’ve demonstrated my unhappiness, will that be viewed as having committed blackmail in order to get a raise?
• Will my loyalty be questioned come promotion time?
Here’s a quick story:
FD was referred to me by a colleague at his company. He had an excellent background and track record of performance. He wanted to leave because he was unhappy with how management treated him and he wanted to move to a different, related area. I leveraged my contacts to get him an interview at another company–in the area of the company he was interested in.
Throughout the interview process, I gave him valuable insights and supported his candidacy with my client. He was very interested in the position. He received an offer, signed the offer letter and committed to a start date. When he gave notice of his resignation at his current employer, management asked is there anything they could do to keep him. He said, “No, I’ve committed to the other company.” The same day, the head of his group sent a counter-offer to his team manager with a 20% increase in his base salary. FD wrote me, “I am angry and shocked. It took management one day to approve this increase when they screwed me on a raise earlier this year.” I’ll leave you hanging about what happened next, but it didn’t work out well for all parties. Especially for FD. Trust was breached all-around.
The best approach for companies:
Don’t make counter-offers. If you do, you will have retained unhappy employees. You will be sending the message to others that it’s acceptable practice. The costs will far outweigh retaining a malcontent.
The best approach for employees:
Never accept a counter-offer. If you do, your reputation will be irreparably damaged. Future raises and bonuses will be lower. You will be last in line for a promotion. Word gets around that you were “bought” and lack integrity. With “golden handcuffs” you will be stuck in your career.
When you accept an offer at another company, be a person of your word. The short term gain of a counter-offer might make your ego feel good, but I assure you, you will pay a far greater price to your career and future compensation if you accept a counter-offer and stay at your current employer.
Search consultants and recruiters report that 80% of those who accept counter-offers leave or are “let go” within six months to a year. Those are odds you don’t want to play with in your career.
I’m giving a keynote presentation on “Building Your Client Base with Social Networks” at the upcoming IPA National Convention and wanted to share a preview here.
From the advent of Web 2.0, I was a believer. Two feet. All in. I believed that the power of the web would transform the way business operated. The key was to discover what worked and then optimize its rich business building capabilities.
Think about what the web can do. It is a global library at our fingertips! We can research people and companies fast. We can e-market, receive feedback and measure response. Through social media, we can send targeted messages, obtain exposure (free advertising) and build our brand. Distance learning and collaboration possibilities are limitless. Exposure leads to more exposure and to new business opportunities.
Here’s how it started for me. Before 2008, I wrote articles for industry publications and issued press releases. In 2009 when my social network contacts were less than 500, I was video interviewed remotely by Bill Vick. In the interview, I talked about diversifying my business, multiple streams of income and web collaboration. My video was distributed and broadcast on social networks. People online got to know who I was fast.
Fast forward three years. I have been building and connecting my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook contacts. I have secured my vanity name for each. My blog “Recruiting in New World” is also the name for my LinkedIn group. I have a Facebook fan page which is connected to my other networks. I am ranked high in my industry in Twitter followers. I use Skype for international and video calls. I have produced on-line videos using Vimeo which is linked to my blog. I need to expand my YouTube channel and use www.oovoo.com for video collaboration and training. I have been experimenting with other online networks, including; Google Plus, Foursquare, Quora, Pinterest. I own www.MikeRamer.com.
I’m honored to be asked back to be the keynote speaker for IPA. Last year, one attendee said this (a testimonial on my LinkedIn profile):
“Mike’s presentation on Social Networking at the IPA convention was terrific. I have been to dozens of training sessions…some did a great job of reminding you of the basics, some that pumped you up for at least a couple of weeks and some that presented a surefire system … This was the first time my viewpoint has been radically changed. Paradigm shift might be a little strong but Mike helped me to see LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in a whole new light. He enabled me to look at brand marketing seriously for the first time. I believe what I learned from Mike’s presentation will help me make more money…”
> Peter Miller, Managing Director/Owner, Peter O. Miller Executive Recruiting
In this year’s keynote, I will speak about the three elements needed to build your brand and your reputation online. I’ll talk about how to cross-market and optimize social networks. We’ll discuss best practices in LinkedIn. I’ll demonstrate specific techniques LIVE online followed by LIVE phone calling. This three hour presentation will be interactive and cutting edge!
Your smile, your voice, your humor, your personality. Yes, these can make you different – and memorable. Always leverage your assets.
If you are seeking a new job or new clients for your business, you need to know what makes you different. Then you need to research what companies you want to approach, find the “angle” and engage.
Here’s the good news: You are unique. No one else has your combination of background, work experience, education, personal experiences, special qualities and talents, likes and dislikes.
This combination of your unique background and experiences
is your competitive advantage.
Do an inventory (some call it “soul-searching”) of your history, your skills and your talents. Then, use today’s online tools to share your story with your target audience. If you’re looking for a new job, your resume is the starting point. Think of it as a marketing document that is the history of your life’s work. The format, construction and every word in your resume counts.
Less is more when marketing yourself and your services.
Be creative. Stand out.
Use fewer words to crystalize and focus your messages. Photos and video are powerful. Leverage social media and send multiple messages to your target audience. Here are some ideas that work:
- Put your LinkedIn URL on your resume.
- Make a short video, post it on YouTube, and send the link with your cover letter or business material.
- Use Twitter to share your interests, engage with like people and market your services.
- Write a blog to showcase your interests and communication skills.
- E-mail media editors and let them know you’d be a resource for future articles.
- Carefully select the photo you use and stick with it across all e-platforms.
Your approach and follow-up (your “process”) can also make you different. Here are a few tips that get response when writing e-mail:
- Use as few words as possible.
- Start with the person’s first name.
- Use bullets and white space for easy readability.
- Ask a question in the subject line.
- Use a professional, branded e-mail signature.
- If you don’t get a response, forward the same e-mail a few days later with the subject line: “Did You Receive?”
Consider everything you post or send electronically as public domain. One person can refer to another and your message could be broadcast to hundreds, even thousands. Make sure your posts and messages are professional and consistent. In the new digital age, people will do web searches on you. In an instant, anyone can Google your name. Make sure what comes up is all positive.
So, where do you start?
The old-fashioned way. Sit down and put pen to paper. Write three columns:
1. My business background (education, experience, etc.)
2. My personal life (likes and dislikes, etc.)
3. My special skills (abilities, personal style, etc.)
Now write a short paragraph (your brief bio) of no more than 300 words. This is what makes you different. This is your competitive advantage. Now package it, target market and share your unique story.
Are you a good conversationalist? It’s a critically important skill to succeed: For job seekers looking to land a new position and for companies, large and small, marketing their products and services. Today’s high impact conversations are online.
Being able to strike up a good conversation is key to achieving your goals,
whether you are interviewing for a job, commenting on a blog, or deal-making on the golf course.
When I prepare candidates for interviews, I focus on techniques to engage in conversation. As I like to say, “The best interviews are dialogues – questions and answers. They are conversations. People who engage their interviewers and ask the best questions are usually the ones who win the job.”
When you talk with people, personally and professionally, it’s important to know where they are coming from. In business, do a little research beforehand by googling their name. This will give you a window into what they are interested in. Learning about people and preparing – before your conversations – will take you a long way and help to distinguish you.
Mastering the conversation is key in the online world and social media. In all businesses, marketing and media are taking a greater role relative to sales. Carrying effective online conversations can be the difference in making or breaking an opportunity.
There’s an art to having a great conversation.
It’s about connecting with people in memorable ways – on an emotional level.
Good conversationalists know how to start conversations, ask engaging questions and respond thoughtfully. Great conversationalists are excellent listeners, ask questions about others’ interests, and make people feel good about the experience. (Yes, conversations should be an “experience”.)
The greatest conversationalists are memorable: They influence a person’s thinking in positive ways for the better. A proactive, upbeat communication style – when talking and writing – sprinkled with a little wit and humor goes a long way.
Three steps to having a great conversation:
1. Find out a little about people before you talk with them.
2. Take the initiative and connect with people you are interested in.
3. Be curious. Ask questions. Listen. Be open and natural. Use voice inflection.
Conversation platforms are: online (writing), phone (talking) and in-person meeting (seeing). Skype is interesting because it combines elements of all three. Whether you are writing or talking, smile and good thoughts will flow.
Keep in mind the engagement points.
If you look at my Twitter profile, you’ll see my interests: “travel, cars, wine, skiing” and “very fun dad!” These are my engagement points. Each person has them. With other social media like LinkedIn and Facebook, you can find out where people live, where they work, where they went to school. Anyone who strikes up a conversation with me on these, online or off, I’ll naturally engage.
Hung by my PC in my office are visual reminders of what I keep in mind throughout the day. One is from Mike Lipkin, a motivational speaker, who shares how to maximize conversations:
How To Make Every Conversation Count
1. Be excited by the prize.
2. Be inspired by your purpose.
3. Be masterful through your preparation.
4. Be connected through your caring.
5. Be focused by your listening.
6. Be magnetic in your language.
7. Be inviting through your openness.
8. Be responsive through your improvisation.
9. Be deliberate in your practice.
10. Be consistent through your conditioning.
Whether you are in sales or marketing, at a networking event or at a social party, striking up and holding great conversations is at the core of everything we do – and of achieving success. It starts with a positive frame of mind and a smile.
I had a phone call yesterday with a prospective client who starting our conversation with: “I think recruiters are a dying breed.” He thought the Internet and technology were going to do away with search consultants and third-party recruiters.
I explained to him why this won’t happen. In fact, I believe technology is shining the light brighter for why recruiters are needed now more than ever. Before we finished our phone conversation, he wanted to meet one of my candidates.
The Internet has changed recruiting forever. It is a virtual, global, 24-hour job fair. It gives recruiters – and employers – the unprecedented ability to research and reach candidates anywhere. And now with social media, recruiters can find and engage prospective companies and candidates online fast.
The key to this treasure trove is knowing what online tools to use and how to use them. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media each have their unique purpose. Today, recruiters can create their own media network to market, brand and broadcast their messages. The real value begins when recruiters connect their online networks and leverage across platforms.
Like all advertising, a message is only as powerful as its reach to its target audience.
Many think the Internet will eventually doom recruiters by cutting them out. I don’t think so. The Internet has its limits. Yes, it is valuable for research and message speed. But, at the same time, it is creating inefficiencies in the recruiting and hiring process that cost companies dearly. Firms may not see the full impact in today’s candidate rich market. But this is changing.
Recruiters must find their unique selling proposition by answering this:
What can recruiters do that technology and the Internet can’t?
Here are seven myths and realities of the limits of technology in recruiting:
Myth #1: Technology can be used to identify talent.
Reality #1: Yes, the Internet can help find candidates. But it cannot identify and evaluate talent. Search engines find key words in resumes. What if those key words are written inaccurately by unqualified candidates? Recruiters qualify talent by talking with and vetting candidates. Technology cannot do this.
Myth #2: Companies use the Internet to find the best candidates.
Reality #2: Companies post jobs and jobseekers apply to many positions online. This “candidate capture” approach of spreading a wide net tends to attract less satisfied, lower performers. These “Internet candidates” apply for every job they’re interested in, even if they are not qualified. Since they are looking for any job, they may be interviewing at competing companies. Recruiters find out where candidates are applying and help to minimize hiring risks. Technology cannot do this.
Myth #3: Technology can qualify a candidate.
Reality #3: Candidates can be asked questions online: For example, “how many years’ experience do you have?” And, “what compensation are you seeking?” Or, “what interests you about this position and our company?” But technology can’t uncover the drivers and reasons for a career move. Or, what is important to a candidate. Or, a candidate’s career interests and aspirations. Recruiters help create fit. Technology cannot do this.
Myth #4: The Internet is the most efficient way to apply for and find a job.
Reality #4: This is what happens when a job is posted online: Hundreds of people apply. Everyone is put into a database. Resumes go into a black hole. Most never hear back that a resume was received. If they do hear back, it will most likely be an automated message: “Thank you for applying. We will get back to you if your background meets the position requirements.” Most never hear from the company again. Recruiters give direct feedback to a candidate whether he or she is qualified or not and the reasons why. Good recruiters can identify top candidates who may not appear qualified on paper. Recruiters communicate, think and respond. Technology cannot do this.
Myth #5: Technology can help recruit a candidate.
Reality #5: In limited ways. An e-mail or text can be sent to a candidate, “We are interested in interviewing you” and can help arrange the meeting. Recruiters give feedback after an interview and help manage candidates’ expectations and guide them through the interview process. They advise the best candidates on the advantages of a job opportunity over their current employment and other positions they may be looking at. Technology cannot do this.
Myth #6: Technology can help manage the interview and recruiting process.
Reality #6: After an interview, recruiters will debrief and gather feedback from both the company and candidates. They gauge candidates’ interest levels in the company and the job. If a hiring manager or candidate is unsure or needs additional information, recruiters will respond and get the information to help with the decision process. Technology cannot do this.
Myth #7: The Internet and technology can bring aboard the selected candidate.
Reality #7: What if the top candidate is interested in the position, but the parameters aren’t in line with his or her interests? What if he or she receives an offer at another company at the same time? Through discussions, a recruiter helps negotiate the desired outcome and bring aboard the best person to the company. Technology cannot do this.
The main reason technology will not replace recruiters is that it cannot have conversations, listen and respond. Even digital conversations, through email, text or social media, do not have the essential emotional elements (voice, eye contact, chemistry) to guide people through the hiring process.
For a leading company to convey it is truly employee-centric – that it cares about its employees – it must have talented recruiters who care for people from the start of the application and throughout the hiring process.
Companies – which lead now and will in the future – work with top recruiters who have established networks and the skills to identify, evaluate and recruit talent. Technology helps, but it cannot take the place of critical human-to-human interaction. (Until, perhaps artificial intelligence comes into being. But, then, will candidates want to tell their career desires to machines?)
There are many more limits of technology and the Internet in recruiting. Do you agree or disagree? What are your experiences? Please share your ideas in the comments section.
Over the past two decades, the art and science of recruiting has changed dramatically. I started recruiting in the early ’90s before PCs and the Internet. On my desk was a telephone, newspapers and directories. Remember the Rolodex?
Fast forward 20 years. Today, recruiters learn about companies and people through the web and social media. Myriad technologies (job sites, social media, ATS) assist in candidate research, lead generation and tracking.
In vogue is the science of recruiting. It is easier to source in a candidate-rich market using technology and the Internet. This is changing: The rebounding economy is increasing the demand for talent at all levels.
Technology can help find potential candidates.
But it can’t evaluate, recruit and secure talent.
Relationship recruiting expertise is needed now: Direct sourcing. Referral-based networking. Engaging potential candidates. Identifying, evaluating and motivating scarce talent. This takes experience and know-how. This is the art of recruiting.
For Your Company
If your company is seeking to engage third party recruiters, I recommend to interview them first. What is their background, experience and education/credentials? Do they recruit in your industry and for positions you are hiring? How do they find and evaluate talent? What can you expect in terms of deliverables?
Great recruiters do these 5 things for companies:
1. Deep understanding. You can tell high caliber recruiters by the questions they ask. They do research on your company, industry and competitors. They ask insightful questions about the position and your company’s culture. They listen with a consultative style.
2. Direct sourcing. Great recruiters don’t rely on “Internet resumes”. They tap into their network and cold call high potentials. They develop relationships with high performers who may be open to a career move for the right opportunity. They can identify talent.
3. Focus on your open positions. Time is limited and you have multiple priorities. The best recruiters work closely with you on your schedule. They get to know your preferences and company’s interview process. They understand urgency to fill.
4. Execute a proven process. Great recruiters know what they will need to accomplish for you: Research. Sourcing. Screening. Interviewing. Arranging interviews. Negotiation. Closing. On-boarding. Feedback and follow-up every step of the way.
5. Deliver consistently. Top recruiters work quickly and are quality-oriented. Give them exclusivity and your positions will be a high priority. They know more recruiting assignments will come when hired candidates perform and stay with your company.
Great recruiters effectively counsel on counter-offers.
They will know if the selected candidate will accept an offer, before it is made.
Executive recruiters who work on senior level positions are sometimes called search consultants. They often partner with clients on retained searches. They provide the highest levels of service including in-depth candidate evaluations and search progress reports.
Unlike contingency recruiters, retained search consultants are driven to perform for their clients every time, no matter how challenging the search. Their reputations depend on it.
For Job Seekers
If you’re looking for a new job or open to a career move, choose a professional recruiter like you would your doctor, attorney or financial advisor. Be selective. Be sure that you have a good rapport and you can trust him/her. Interview recruiters: Ask them how they work. Keep in mind: you are not paying them and their time, expertise and contacts are valuable.
Great recruiters do these 5 things for you:
1. Listen to what you want. Recruiters are motivated to help you get a new job because this is how they earn fees. Great recruiters get to know you on a deeper level. They listen to your desires and career interests. They work closely with you to find a position that will advance your career.
2. Help with a job search plan. Top recruiters have in-depth knowledge of the job search process. From resume consulting to interview preparation to employment negotiation, they work on your behalf. The best way to communicate: Be upfront and straightforward.
3. Open doors. Great recruiters have an established network of contacts in your industry. Many times they know about choice job openings before they’re made public. Your resume is referred directly to decision makers, giving you the inside track.
4. Advise and counsel. Imagine your own job search consultant at no cost to you. Great recruiters provide valuable feedback throughout your search. They help with your resume, with interviewing techniques and with making smart career decisions.
5. Deliver consistently. You can tell top recruiters by how they respond. They are action-oriented. They offer strategic and tactical job search advice. Most importantly, they get results: Interviews, then a position, with the company you want.
In my experience, as both an executive recruiter and industry trainer;
Great recruiters are 1 in 100.
They are consultative, intuitive and results-oriented.
The best combine the art of recruiting – the human touch
with the science of recruiting – high tech techniques.
If you want to engage a great recruiter, say, “I want to partner with you” and promise to work exclusively. Give a timeframe 60 to 90 days to produce results.
As the economy grows, great recruiters will be in demand. They can be a huge asset to you. Find one who understands your needs and stick with them. They will deliver and make you look good.
Last weekend, I was exercising at my health club and I saw a friend. She is a doctor and she asked me, “How are you feeling today, Michael?” I paused, then answered, “What do you mean? Physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially?” She said, “Yeah, I know what you mean.” We both laughed.
My answer might be over the top for some. But, think about it: How often are all the facets of your life in synch? Every once in a while, you have an outstanding day. Right? One in which you’re clicking on all cylinders. Super productive. Happy. Time flies. You’re engaging. You’re succeeding. People sense this aura.
Some call it being in the “flow”, a peak state when your body, mind and spirit align. So, naturally, you want to recreate when you achieve flow. At the heart, it is about doing what you love and seeing the success of your activities. Being happy in your career is critical to your well being. See “9 Steps to Achieving Flow (and Happiness) in Your Work” http://bit.ly/aL2stq
What do you enjoy and what do you love? Define the differences. In my career, I enjoy the challenge of running my own business. I get satisfaction in helping people with their careers. I like to negotiate (believe it or not!) But, I love to train and inspire a group. I love to consult with businesses and give strategic advice. I love to coach my sons’ sports teams. I love to travel and explore new places.
Here are three ways I get into the flow:
- Exercise (relaxation of the body fuels creativity in the mind.) Before every training, you can always find me in the hotel gym.
- Taking action (reaching out to people, collaborating, brainstorming ideas.) If you’ve met me or talked with me, you know I get excited about visioning ideas into results.
- Helping others succeed (creating a plan and getting results). There’s no greater satisfaction to me then helping others achieve their goals. When I find a new job for a person, it is a “triple win” – for the company, the candidate and my firm.
What does flow have to do with attraction? Everything. Have you read the book or seen the movie, “The Secret“? http://bit.ly/9oStjW The universe is wired for attraction. On page 25, the book states:
“The law of attraction says like attracts like, so when you think a thought, you are also attracting like thoughts to you…your current thoughts are creating your future life…your thoughts become things.” Like a new house, a new partner, a new client, a new career.
You might be thinking, “This is really ‘out there’, Mike. Mystical stuff.” I hear you. I’m a realist, too. Here’s an example. This past summer, my business was slow. One week I was thinking hard that we needed new business in the pipeline. That same week, we were engaged on two new searches, three new training gigs and two employment expert cases.
Try it: Positively, think about what you want. Then take action and engage.
Two big take-always:
- Put yourself in positions to do what you love.
- Flow equals happiness and cash flow.
Social media networking is all the rage today. Which got me thinking. I should write about what isn’t getting as much play, but is still central to achieving results – whether it be finding a new job or developing new clients. In my experience, the best way to accomplish what you want is networking and meeting IRL – In Real Life.
With today’s online tools, you can find and connect with like-minded people at high speed. Electronic connections seem to advance quickly. The reality is that they can be limiting in forming deeper, trustworthy relationships.
There is no substitute to looking into someone’s eyes, seeing their body language, and feeling the chemistry of a person-to-person meeting.
Call me old-fashioned, but results speak for themselves. When I meet with people, the probabilities to influence outcomes increase significantly. And the same can for you.
The three levels of networking:
Level 1) Virtual information exchange. An email or online link in social media.
Level 2) Voice conversation and/or video. By phone, skype, video posts.
Level 3) In-person meeting. Most powerful relationship builder.
Networking IRL takes an investment of time and commitment. You must be proactive, know yourself and know what you are looking to achieve in a meeting. You must have a social mindset, be engaging and have fun with it.
Critical to networking success is putting yourself in the right places,
at the right times, with the right people.
Networking at an event with a common cause can be a very positive experience. It is about community involvement and connecting for a purpose bigger than yourself.
Great places to network IRL:
- Faith-based groups, volunteer/charity events.
- Social clubs, sports games, political rallies.
- Trade associations and conferences.
Calling all Talent Acquisition, Recruiting and Staffing Professionals!
Please join us. I will be speaking at two (2) recruiting industry events:
There are many excellent resources – books, articles and blog posts – written on effective networking. Google “How to Work a Room” and you will find many techniques and strategies.
Here are 10 tips for networking IRL:
1. Do pre-event research. Who will be there? Their backgrounds/interests?
2. Dress for the party. If you feel good, you will do good.
3. Go to the drinks and food to meet new people.
4. See someone you know and be introduced to others.
5. Be welcoming. Eye contact, smile, nod as if you’re saying “hi”.
6. Be the conversation starter: Handshake, “Hi, I am… Great event. Have we met? I’m from…” Or, break the ice with a topic in the news.
7. Focus on the other person: “Where are you from? What do you do?”
8. Listen more than you speak. Laugh.
9. Tell a story or anecdote about yourself. Be memorable.
10. Exchange cards. If you say that you will follow up, be sure to do it.
Rule of thumb: If your aim is to maximize IRL contacts, spend no more than 10-15 minutes with each person/small group .
When you are enjoying yourself, you are more relaxed, you are more confident and you are more engaging. You will naturally open up about who you are and what you do. You will attract people. (Keep in mind to weave into the conversations, subtly toward the end, what you are seeking – whether it be a job or new business.)
This is a recent article in Forbes on “How to Work a Room” http://bit.ly/c7R6Kc
Like online, networking IRL is an acquired skill. The more you do, the better you will get. Remember that people want to work with others who are upbeat and have a “can-do” personality. You can show them that in your networking.
It’s been said that the one constant is change. In today’s fast-moving world this has never been more true. New technologies, greater competition and restructuring industries demand new approaches to find the job you want.
The good news is that there has been so much written on job-hunting – blog posts, articles and books – on topics ranging from resume writing to interviewing to salary negotiation.
The two constants in your search are:
1. You. You have a unique mix of background, experience and personal attributes.
2. You. You need to take action. No one else can do it for you.
To get an edge in your job search today, try these three:
- Outside of your work life, what do you like to do?
- At work, what skills and activities come easily to you?
- If you could describe your ideal job, what would that be?
- What type of people would you like to work with?
- What kind of company would you like to work for?
- What experience, training, personal abilities make you stand out?
- What accomplishments describe the quality of your work?
- What has been your favorite work experience? Why?
- Do you have the inner desire to go after the job you want, no matter how long it takes?
A wise mentor once said to me, “Mike, if you really, really want something and you never, ever give up, you’ll almost always get what you want.”
2) Use a Job Search Activity Plan
- Write your job search goals. By ____ date, I will have the job I’m looking for. Each day, I will accomplish ______. Each week ______. Each month______.
- Research jobs. Research companies. Research the key people you’ll need to contact.
- Find their phone numbers, email addresses, social media handles.
- Record your research in a “Job Search Tracking” spreadsheet.
- Write an email (brief and compelling) so you can send to hiring contacts.
- Write and practice your “elevator pitch” of what you’ll say to hiring contacts.
- Find a list of industry events and/or conferences that you might attend.
- Take action. Send emails. Call contacts. Go to networking events.
- Follow up. Follow up again. Recording all in your “Job Search Tracking” spreadsheet.
A wise mentor once said to me, “Mike, there’s one certainty in life: If you don’t go after what you want, you won’t get it. That I guarantee.”
3) Get Job Search Help
- Find job search experts who can help you.
- Career and Life Coaches can assist with the self-evaluation process.
- Resume writers can help you craft the right resume and with your positioning statement.
- Recruiters in your field can offer invaluable advice on the steps of a successful job search.
- Job Search Consultants can customize a job search program and assist with all phases of your search from identifying companies and positions to working with you on your resume and obtaining interviews.
- Go to and participate in social/community/industry groups. Let people know that you’re looking for a new position. Start “what do you do” conversations. Be curious about what others do and how you might help them. Ask your contacts how they got their jobs. Share with them memorable stories.
- Let the word out about the job you’re seeking. Find a good article about online social media networking. Connect and engage with people in your field. Then make personal contact. Call them and have a conversation. Listen, engage, ask for their advice. You’ll be surprised how many will assist when you have the right attitude and approach.
A wise mentor once said to me, “Mike, the people who get the things they want aren’t necessarily the smartest, they’re the positive ones who keep going after it.”
My last piece of advice is to find a mentor. This could be a wise business person you’ve known for many years. Take that person to lunch. Or, this person could be a friend of the family or even someone you’ve known from a past work experience. Community, social or religious groups are great places to find mentors.
The work world is changing fast. Today, the currents are rough and swift, but with the right approach and advice, I’m confident you’ll navigate the waters well.