How many times have we heard that recruitment is changing, the industry is moving and expanding online, and recruiting through social networking channels is the future? How many times have we been told that digital marketing is replacing good old fashioned face-to-face networking?

We’re at risk of focusing too much time and energy on social channels. Of course, being able to build relationships at the click of a mouse is a brilliant thing, but we should still be attending events and meeting other professionals within our industry in person. Here’s why.

You Can Build Genuine Relationships

Networking image.Connecting with people offline is a more efficient way of networking than through online channels – you can make more progress in one event than you can exchanging LinkedIn messages over a period of weeks. Talking face-to-face allows you to receive immediate feedback on what you say; this helps iron out potential misunderstandings quickly as you can read the body language of the other person.

Faster paced real life conversations enable you to feed off each other’s energy and passions, giving you the opportunity to gain common ground via shared experiences. Communication in person means you’re able to demonstrate charisma and personality, ultimately cultivating a genuine relationship built on trust in a way that digital conversations just can’t match.

It’s Refreshing

networking events‘Perfect’ candidates are difficult to find and performing your twentieth LinkedIn search of the day is hardly a font of inspiration. Attending networking events lets you rediscover your love of recruitment, refreshing your perspective and returning you to the office more determined than ever.

As well as making you love your job again (as if that wasn’t enough!), stepping away from your desk for a few hours polishes your communication skills. If the majority of our time is spent in front of a screen our social skills can become weakened without us even realizing. This makes it more difficult for us to hold conversations. Ensuring our communication skills are as good as they can be could make a real difference in important meetings, performance reviews and so on – getting out of the office to network could improve your chances of advancing your own career at a later date, too.

Branch Out

networking eventsLets say your role involves recruiting for software engineers – sure, online is a decent place to start your search, but your competition will undoubtedly be using the same online methods as you are. Candidates will be bombarded with messages, connection requests, and Twitter follows from people just like you, so it’s crucial that you make the effort to go to the places where software engineers congregate.

Find local user groups, organisation or association meetings, conferences and places where these particular candidates go to share ideas, network, and socialise within their profession. By getting out of the office you’re opening up an entire new pool of both candidates and clients, making your job easier, and your success rate higher.

It’s important to pick relevant industry events tailored to your niche, and that you make the most of the experience. Some events will allow you to make one or two meaningful connections with clients or higher-level candidates; others may be more directed at candidates looking to connect with you as they’re actively looking for a new role.

Digital Channels, Real World Connections

Attending networking events is hugely important to recruiters; believe it or not there are still people resisting the use of Facebook and LinkedIn and by going out to events you’re increasing the size of your candidate and client pools.

Events give you the chance to inject some personality into your interactions, resulting in the development of genuine, lasting relationships. Aside from benefiting your billing rate, networking face to face puts a spring back into your step and gives you a gentle reminder of why you love the world of recruitment, even if it is after 6pm on a Friday…

Credit to FireFish for this great blog!