Networking: Secret Weapon for Recruiting and Hiring

There’s an old saying that is familiar to any job seeker: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” That same idea could be applied to recruiting and hiring. Smart networking can provide big benefits when it comes to recruiting. The broader the network, the better the chances of reaching job seekers. In a digital world, hiring and recruiting often takes place online. That doesn’t mean, though, that online recruiting should be the only channel used, or that social media is always the best place to find candidates.

While much of our work involves helping individuals and organizations promote their products and services, more and more lately we’re being called upon to help them with their recruiting. For good reason! The same tried-and-true principles that work for effective product and service marketing also work when “marketing” for employees. And, perhaps even more so than with traditional product or service marketing, networking can make a big difference and have a great impact in companies’ ability to recruit top candidates.

Hiring and recruiting can be impacted by casting a wide net to attract job seekers through channels such as:

  • Community events
  • Trade shows
  • Professional associations
  • Family and friends
  • Even contacts made in retail or social settings

Today’s recruiters don’t just have to rely on people they’ve personally met, though. Social media offers the opportunity to cast a very wide net when hiring and recruiting.

Smaller companies, and those with limited resources, also can really benefit from networking. Here we look at three key avenues of networking that can provide benefits for recruiting and hiring.

Networking Through Social Media When Recruiting

Passive candidates are candidates who are not actively looking for jobs:.

  • They’re content where they are.
  • But, they’re not likely to even be aware of your job openings.
  • And yet they could represent great candidates.

Connecting with passive candidates when recruiting is a lot easier today than it was several years ago. Online communications and social media networking have highly aided the recruiting and hiring process.

For instance, LinkedIn has become a widely used, and very effective, way for recruiters and hiring managers to find passive candidates. It is a networking goldmine for recruiters across virtually all industries. This ZipRecruiter piece offers some additional tips on how to use LinkedIn for job seeker networking.

HR professionals and hiring managers also can use sites like Facebook—even Twitter, Instagram, and others—to get the word out. The viral nature, and easy shareability, of social media mean that many people can quickly learn about job openings. To take full advantage of this potential:

  • Join groups where candidates are likely to be active. Then jump into conversations to make connections that can build your network.
  • Ask recruiters and others in your organization to spread the word through their social channels. Arm with suggested copy and information about the job openings to make it easy for them to share.
  • Include links back to your company page (on LinkedIn or Facebook), or the jobs section of your website. Make sure that your company page is appealing, up-to-date, and easy to navigate.

Social media isn’t the only source of passive candidates, though. Connections may also be made in traditional settings. For instance:  professional organizations, trade associations, or community groups. These all represent opportunities to connect with job seekers.

Networking Through Trade and Professional Organizations

There are thousands of trade and professional organizations serving a wide range of professions. Many HR professionals and recruiters are members of SHRM, for instance. Depending on hiring needs, it might also make sense to become active in other industry groups. For instance, if a top hiring need is for IT professionals, there are a number of associations that might yield top talent.

But don’t just join and expect results to follow. Be strategic in how you use trade and professional organizations for networking. Here are some things to consider:

  • Attend meetings—locally and nationally—especially when recruiting for key positions.
  • Encourage members of your organization to sign up for speaking opportunities. This can be a great way to share the organization’s culture and generate interest among potential job seekers.
  • Encourage members of your organization attending these meetings to spread the good word about what a great place to work the company is.
  • Rent booths at conferences and events specifically geared to providing information about job openings.
  • Make connections with as many people as you can. Add these new connections to your social networks so you can stay in touch.

Social media and business organizations are popular sources of job seekers. There’s another potential source of candidates, though, that you may not have considered.

Reaching Out to Job Seekers Through Family and Friends

One final source of information on potential job seekers that should not be overlooked is family, friends—even casual acquaintances. The real world works very much like social media sites do. We connect to others through those they’re connected to—and on, and on, and on. When you have a key job opening, spread the word far and wide. Make it easy for others to share the information by:

  • Creating and handing out “job opening” cards with the URL to a specific web page
  • Having a prominent spot on your web site’s home page with a link to open jobs
  • Providing boilerplate copy about open jobs that recruiters and others can use as they send out emails or post on their social media sites

Don’t overlook in-person casual interactions either. You could meet great potential job candidates while grocery shopping, dining out, attending school events—or in any number of other places. Keep these networking opportunities top-of-mind to boost your recruiting and hiring efforts.


About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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