It is a commonly known fact that the labor market is constantly changing. Times, when an employer was drowning in thousands of CVs, are long gone. Today, companies have to make an effort to reach their potential employees and possibly attract the best ones. There are many options for how to do it but one of them stands out. Networking party. Through its relaxed, informal atmosphere it lets you meet more candidates in a short time, know them better and create a positive image of the company’s brand as an employer in real time. So, how to create a networking session and transform it into true talent magnet?
Times of defined demands
The present labor market is like a wonderland for the employees. A multitude of job offers, way bigger than a number of people actually looking for a job, gives candidates a right to be picky. And believe me, they are. The young talented workforce is looking for the companies to cover their basic needs, as well as to satisfy their zest for self and career development. Nowadays, it’s not enough to provide decent financial conditions and good insurance – it’s way more. Attracting potential employees by the employer gets harder and harder. Let’s face it, you need to be creative to get proper attention and to distinguish your company from a mass of all the other ones. In other words, you need to find a way to become a desirable place to work in and to work with. You need to become a talent magnet.
How can you become a talent magnet?
Good salary, insurance packages, benefits, gym card – this could all work years ago. Now, you won’t impress anyone with those things. For real, it’s as obvious as a glass of water when you order an espresso. Nowadays, it’s a whole company image that attracts top talents the most. Its politics, approach to employee, environment, and society. It’s a lot, isn’t it? Here are some ways to gain the trust and interest of your potential employees:
1. Employees first
The way to hire and retain the most valuable employees is to form the company’s culture in which all employees feel respected and important. The new generation of workers needs to feel appreciated. They like their voice to be heard and taken into consideration, they want to contribute to the company’s activity. So, how can you do it? First of all, make sure that your team leaders are able to not only demand but also to praise their team’s good work. Also, you can try to organize ways of exchanging and initiating new ideas that come from your employees. That way, they will feel like a real part of the company’s machine.
New candidates want to know who will supervise them, who is going to be their manager, what people work in the company, with whom they’ll be aligning with. They seek for strong personalities that could inspire them and be the example, who keep the office in order but also integrates and leads the team. This aspect of the company’s image is often underestimated but it can play a huge part in attracting new employees. Right person on the high profile position should inspire their coworkers, be respectable and gain the trust of the team. That will give employees the motivation for efficient work and will make them loyal to the company. Even in hard times.
3. Career possibilities and personal growth
Talented people want to have an opportunity to successfully manage their careers. Show your potential new employees possibilities for personal and professional growth. Make them see the potential in your company. It’s easy, they’ll choose whoever offers them more opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills. Provide your employees with workshops, training courses or promotion options. You will not only attract talents to your company but also make them stay with you for a long time.
It’s no surprise that people want to work in a place where they feel good. Obvious, right? That means they choose more willingly companies with traditions and values that they identify themselves with. Make sure that you know what values are precious for talents you’d like to see in your company and that your company’s mission represents them. Really, it’s common that people reject highly paid jobs because the company’s ideology is for example non-ethical. Watch out, if your company’s mission is not clear or not maintained, it can be a real deal breaker. Also, employees that identify with the company’s mission can later become its brand ambassadors. That will give you a walking advertisement and will help you attract even more talent.
5. Help for the others
Give your employees a feeling that their work has a bigger meaning than just what’s achievable in the office. Current candidates want to feel that the effort they make while working for a certain employer has an impact on the everyday life of the society. Think about mastering your CSR actions to gain their interest. Supporting chosen charities, investing in the local community, sharing knowledge – those actions will not only create a positive image of your employer brand but also will show candidates that your company is friendly and cares for meaningful things other than its profit. That’s what matters now!
Positive attitude and friendly, “no pressure” office atmosphere is what people are looking for these days. But remember, don’t paint sugary images out of anywhere – online opinions can quickly verify what’s your company like. Just be true to yourself and your potential candidate – you want them to fit your team anyway, right?
These are just a couple of examples of how you can make your company more attractive to new employees. Creating an appealing image of the workplace depends directly on your employer brand. To establish one coherent image you can take various actions, one of them is networking. So, let’s see how you can show the candidates that you have so much to offer!
So, now we can surely say that to attract talented employees they need to know you better. One of the great methods to present yourself than by using networking sessions. But, from the beginning – what is it? Basically, networking means building a group of business contacts. Ones you can later benefit from or that can inspire you. You can do it through social media platforms like Linkedin or GoldenLine, but also in a more interactive way – you can launch a networking party. It’s an event at which you can directly contact representants from different companies. You can talk, exchange ideas, recommend things, even discuss best holiday directions of the year. More relaxed, informal atmosphere lets attendees feel free and create a better bond with each other. The goals of networking sessions depend on what you want to achieve by launching/attending it. It can be for example meeting new investors for the project, exchanging experiences or just getting basic knowledge in the field. Sounds good, right? Sounds even better if you think about how brilliantly it works when it comes to employer branding actions and recruitment processes.
Employer brand help
There are certainly many perks of using networking sessions in your recruitment process as well as in creating your employer brand. During the event, you get the opportunity to easily share your company’s value among business contacts. In effect, it can make them change the job and work for you or simply spread the word about the company and recommend it to potential hires. What is more, networking lets you meet more potential candidates in a short time than when using traditional methods. It’s way more efficient to talk to them face to face and present your company in person. Hearing what an employer has to say and direct contact between him and candidate can create a stronger bond and meaningful business relationship. It’s also a great opportunity for you to get to know your potential employee and to decide whether it’s a person you want to work with. If so, you can already make the candidate feel like a part of the company. What is more, a relaxed atmosphere is more encouraging for attendees – conversations go easily and you may learn more about the candidate.
Networking meetings give employers the opportunity to present the values of the company to a wider audience, quite possibly one matching your target group. Meeting candidates, giving pitches and the whole attitude of the company’s representants lets create an employer image in real time and even adjust it to the recipient. You can literally talk people into the job. Speaking to a real person from the company, instead of reading statements of a job offer, gives a candidate a real look into the company’s politics and culture. It presents your company as friendly, easy to work with and “pro-people”. Believe me, that all works in your favor when done right.
So how to make it work?
Launching a networking party or joining a networking group to recruit a skilled workforce for your company isn’t as simple of a task as you may think. There is a number of things you need to remember in order to transform it into a talent magnet. Take a pen and make notes – here are some ideas on how ideal networking session should look like.
Plan it well
First of all, good networking session needs to be well planned. Surprised? Nothing to be surprised of, multiple aspects need to be thought through. Let’s start with the basics.
Venue – think about what setting will work in your favor when it comes to presenting your company’s spirit. Who are you looking for? Make sure that your target group will be feeling comfortable in a space you choose. Looking for new IT team members – maybe try some fun geek pub. Creating new sales team – maybe this new fancy, an Instagram friendly place downtown.
Time – think what time is best to talk to your candidates. Whether you prefer late night networking or daytime when you can prepare more formal tasks. It all depends on what image you’re creating and on candidates you want to attract.
Agenda – now, here you don’t want to overact. During a networking session, the point is to network, so it’s best not to pack an event with attractions. But you should make it appealing. Otherwise, how will you make people come? Make sure you’ve got some free snacks, gadgets for attendees. Arrange pitches of current team members on projects your company is working on, have some fun games for your attendees to participate. Long story short – keep your participants entertained, but don’t let it interrupt the main purpose of the meeting.
People – if you want to make your networking session a success be sure that the crowd you are going to meet is whom you aim to attract. If you just want to attend an already organized party – just check which one is dedicated to the field of your interest (IT, sales, marketing etc.). If you’re the host of the party, first of all, send invitations as soon as possible. Invite your employees and ask them to bring friends from different companies and looking for a job. Share information about the party in social media, make it appealing and fitting to your target group. Ask contacts from other companies to spread the word and maybe to recommend you some talents. This all can really help you create a better base of candidates for your vacancies.
Brand presentation – everything you do or organize for your networking group has its effect on how your company is perceived. How you’re seen as an employer depends on your behavior, presence etc. That’s why you have to make sure that the atmosphere of the event is well synced with your staff attitude and all promotion materials available during the party. This coherence will be working for you during and long after it.
When you have all that set up, prepare yourself. Think of how in a short time you can paint an attractive vision of your company in a candidate’s mind. Have it all written down and get ready to network and grab those talents out there!
Let’s meet them!
Ok, so the party is here. Everything works (and looks) just fine, you’ve got the crowd of a fresh blood for your company gathered in one place. So what do you do? The most important thing is to remember what are your networking goals. You want to attract young talented people and mark yourself as the employer of their dreams. It’s good to remind your employees of it at the party as well. After all, they’re the ambassadors of the company’s values. You can’t meet every candidate yourself, so make sure that everyone knows whom you’re looking for.
Talk to as many people as you can
… but give them proper attention. To do so, you can arrange meetings with a fixed time. After a signal, people switch partners and a new conversation starts. Do not hurry or you’ll leave them with the impression that you’re not interested and don’t really care. Also, try to make conversation less interview like, engage your conversationalist and create the flow. Be friendly and passionate about the topic. It’s crucial when it comes to creating a positive image of the company’s community!
As you’re meeting and greeting with attendees try also to navigate conversations. For example, you bumped into a promising candidate who seems to be also interesting in working for you. Introduce him to the future coworker, or even better, team leader. This way both sides have a chance of getting to know each in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a great way to see if the person fits the team.
Arrange some interesting tasks
Talking for hours can be exhausting so you can think of a fun way to check your candidates’ skills. Maybe some quick contest in making digital animation, or writing a satirical note? This will give everyone a break from talking and will still be stuck to the theme of the party.
Take care of wallflowers
There are always those few people not talking to anyone, too shy to make a move. Take the initiative and start a conversation, introduce them to the crowd. Why? It’d be a shame to waste some brilliant talent, so remember to search for them even in the dark corners of the event!
Always follow up
Always, I mean it! Ask attendees how they liked the networking session, what they’d change. Upholding conversations will not only give you proper feedback but also will make your company look nice and proactive. Even if you have no intention of hiring some of the candidates you met, write to them. Sent them a word or two, maybe you’ll find the job for them in the future? And even if not, it’s good to have a wide base of potential connections.
And that’s it. Transforming a networking party so it can work for your recruitment and employer branding purposes may not be the easiest thing ever but, believe me, you had worse tasks to do. As you probably noticed so far, it all depends on your vision, so just remember to think it through and it will work fine!
Networking in use
A great case of networking at events could be one of the biggest business conferences in the CEE region. It was a big event, gathering people from different fields of interest, rich in many lectures, pitch sessions, table discussions, and meetings. You can probably imagine already that networking possibilities then and there were endless. The concentration of key figures, industry “celebrities” and talented enthusiasts were running high. You could literally talk to the person next to you and accidentally meet your next business partner or employee. No kidding. But there were some aspects that made it less effective that it should be. First of all, everything was happening in between lectures, discussion panels and other agenda points. It was hard for the attendees to find a moment to rest, not to mention to arrange a time for proper networking talk. Also, meetings were often unexpected. Given that, participants weren’t well prepared for what they have to say and how they’re going to present a company and express ideas. After all, the didn’t have time to think it through if they didn’t come to the event with the intention to network and get new contacts. Despite the fact that the event wasn’t itself focused on the networking aspect the attendees did a great job on their own to make new connections, it was well visible at first sight. But there is a way to make it all even better. It’s the meetings feature I want to talk about.
Schedule it up
Such a big conference is an extremely good opportunity to come up with the idea of connecting different partners with each other. The meetings can be arranged from above by the organizers or by participants personally. Thanks to the new Eventory feature they could invite each other for meetings through event networking app while having access to the full guest list. This way they could fully control who they network with. Arranged meetings should last approximately 15 minutes with the purpose of exchanging ideas, experiences and so on. A short time is best to exchange just crucial information and allow you to meet more people. While the whole idea is to make business connections it can also benefit your recruitment purposes. Just imagine how many recommendations for talented candidates you can get. Or, on the other side of the table sits a startup CEO with loads of friends ready to become your hires! Also, simultaneously, brick by brick, meeting by meeting you build your employer brand. Once again, even in such limited and quite unconventional form, networking proves itself a great way to attract talents. So why not use it? Quick networking sessions are just one of the ways of using this feature at events. You can simply allow attendees to make new relationships and arrange meeting throughout the event at the convenient time. It is a powerful tool since one of the main reasons people attend events is to make business connections.
Networking parties are a great tool in your hand when it comes to bringing new hires to your company and creating employer brand. To transform it into an ultimate talent magnet session you should create a nice atmosphere where attendees feel relaxed and are willing to exchange their thoughts and stories. This way you get the chance to present your company’s approach to employees, values and your mission. You’ll also get to know your potential candidates. Ones that share the vibe of your company and are the perfect set of skills to join your team.