People do business with — and hire — people they know and trust. In addition, many jobs are not advertised, so networking offers the opportunity to learn about opportunities before they’re available through job listings. Networking is an activity that makes some people uncomfortable, but it can reap significant rewards in both the professional and personal arenas. Effective networking requires preparation, listening, and offering value to those in your network.
Listen More Than You Talk
When you’re engaging with people at networking events, it’s important to listen more than you talk. It doesn’t mean monopolizing the conversation but rather focusing on asking questions and listening to their answers with genuine interest. It’s also a good idea to avoid interruptions, except when necessary (such as responding to a comment they make). Interruptions can be distracting and may confuse the point you are trying to make. Effective enterprise recruiting is about building meaningful relationships, which can only happen when you bring your authentic self to the process. Hiding behind a formal veneer or morphing into someone else will only exhaust you and attract people who aren’t the right fit for your team. Be willing to give and take in equal measure — and don’t forget to follow up!
Know Your Purpose
Networking aims to build relationships that may lead to professional references, job opportunities, or other career-related resources. The resulting network can also provide support for your recruiting efforts. When building a professional network, consider attending local or regional networking events for your industry. For example, a recruitment firm that serves colleges and universities might hold career fairs or recruit on campus. The key to effective networking is bringing who you are at your best into conversations. Hiding behind a veneer or morphing into someone else will only make people feel manipulated and may not attract the right connections. Authenticity is the key to long-lasting, mutually beneficial professional relationships. You can build these relationships by connecting what you do to your purpose and company values.
Effective networking requires preparation. It may mean researching the people you meet ahead of time, having questions in mind about their experiences, or rehearsing what you want to say beforehand. It also means having your business card ready and bringing a notebook or notepad to jot down important information about the person you are meeting with. Remember that your goal is to establish rapport and build a relationship that can help you in the future. People tend to do business with and hire people they know, like, and trust. Maintaining your network also involves sharing information about the enterprise to keep your connections informed, such as announcing major company news, highlighting employee accomplishments, or announcing new products. It is a great way to stay on the top of your mind with your contacts and generate interest in job openings at the business.
Effective networking provides opportunities to build mutually beneficial relationships. Such relationships often result in the exchange of advice, information, professional references, and career-related opportunities. They can also facilitate partnerships between members of different organizations. Recruiting is a vital process that helps businesses branch out and discover skilled individuals to fill critical positions. In addition, recruitment can contribute to a company’s bottom line by increasing productivity and quality of work. Ultimately, a company’s most valuable asset is its workforce. However, many companies struggle to find and retain the right talent. Competing priorities include ensuring that HR policies align with sales goals. Fortunately, incentivizing employee referrals can help resolve these issues and speed up hiring.
As you reach out to your network, be flexible about who and how you talk to them. Aim to balance bringing value, listening, and building meaningful relationships with your contacts. If you find yourself talking to someone you don’t have much in common, it is perfectly okay to end the conversation politely. Networking isn’t speed dating, and if you don’t have any interest in talking to someone, it is not worth dragging out a conversation that will not benefit anyone involved. Network flexibility is critical for businesses that rely on a hybrid work model. It allows businesses to adapt to available network resources, ensuring that technology never limits growth. A managed solution that can quickly adapt, upgrade, or replace network infrastructure is so important.