To Recruit or To Network?

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Networking is supposed to be the core aspect of a recruiter’s role but how many recruiters can say that they are actually networking? In my experience, the majority do not. Recruiting as it stands right now is very transactional which is what gives us such a bad name. You find a name and number and you call. You word vomit all over the candidate with a new and hot req and hopefully they bite. Then you throw them in front of the client and one of two things happen. They either get the job and you never follow up or they don’t get the job and you never follow up.

Networking fail!

Recruiting isn’t meant to be transactional, it’s meant to be relationship driven. How can you possibly help anyone if you don’t know what they want, what their pain points are, what their wish list is, and what it is that makes them tick? You can’t.

Maybe you can help get them out of a bad spot, such as their current role or unemployment, but don’t be surprised when that person jumps ship in 3-6 months and you’re back to square one.

So how do we fix this? It’s rather simple; ask questions and listen.

Here are some basic guidelines to become a better networker and, in turn, a better recruiter.

  • Don’t call a candidate just to present the most amazing job in the world. Call to find out how their job is going, what they love about it, what they wish they could change, and what they really want to do with their career. Even if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for you can build on that relationship.
  • Regularly follow up with the connections you make. Add these new relationships to your contact list. Check in with them on a regular basis. Building a relationship takes time.
  • Find out what their interests are. It doesn’t matter if you focus on their professional or personal interests. If you find an interesting article about a subject they’re passionate about, share it with them. This will continue to enforce the relationship. Make sure there is something in it for them, not just for you.

It’s really just about building a professional relationship. Establishing trust, being genuine, and having fun are the most important factors for becoming a successful networker. One day, they may refer someone in their trusted network to you or they may be ready to take a leap themselves. Who do you think they’ll call first? The recruiter who called them once and rattled off a job description or the person who gets to know them and stays in touch?

Who would you choose?