‘It’s all about who you know, not what you know’ – we’ve all heard it and we’ve likely all thought it from time to time, and while this is, of course, not wholly true when you consider skill, training and the work put into growing your startup recruitment agency, there is still a lot to be said for who you know and the connections you make along your journey.
Recruitment is a very sociable industry, built around making connections and bringing those connections together to make successful employer-employee relationships. The question remains how do you get to know the people you’re going to need to grow your agency?
As a startup recruitment agency, you need to be networking with potential clients and connecting and engaging with potential candidates too, not to mention making personal connections with like-minded professionals, connections that could help your business grow.
So, let’s get down to how…
Social media is an unexpected recruiting and networking tool which really shouldn’t be being missed. Overall there are some basic rules which all platform profiles should be following, such as:
- Completing profiles
- Achieving symmetry across all platforms
- Posting regular content
- A quick response time will mean you can connect with people when they are able and willing to do so, keep checking in so you can respond before they lose interest or forget about you.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is your go-to social media platform as a recruiter, but what about growing that agency? Establish yourself as an expert in the field by publishing researched and insightful articles, commenting on others’ and getting involved with healthy friendly debate and conversation.
Join Groups: Groups are a brilliant way to network online with a group of like-minded, like-aimed individuals working within your industry, this is one of the closest things to a ‘networking event’ that you will have online.
Twitter: Twitter is really your crossover of personal and business, B2B is strong on Twitter, as are professional interactions, but equal to personal activity, so a strong presence here will get you access to all kinds of connections, businesses (potential clients), candidates and peers! Hashtags can help you to get involved in the right conversations, so explore them and use relevant ones!
Instagram: While this might not work equally well for all industries, you’ll find a very welcoming and engaged audience on this platform and a lot of inspiration, so a positive and engaging young startup recruitment agency may do well here. According to TechCrunch, Instagram stories reached ‘500 million daily active users’ in January of 2019, and through this, the use of DM (that’s direct messages) on Instagram has risen too. Use this to your advantage and start some conversations!
Email: Capture email addresses online and send out recruitment newsletters – to your candidates, yes, but also to your peers, a monthly low down from your startup recruitment agency including thoughts on the industry changes is a great way to engage with your peers, fellows or competition whilst pegging yourself as a knowledgeable industry expert.
Messaging: We’re not sure if this one should sit in on or offline really, so we’ve kept it right here in the middle. Of the connections you make at offline networking events, create a Whatsapp group with a small number who you’d like to solidify relationships with, ideally a group who can help each other to succeed. Try starting with 3 or 5, and create a little ‘pod’, then you can each add relevant connections who might be interested, and so the connection pool grows steady and strong.
Events: Attending regular local events, bigger events in surrounding cities or as far afield as you feel is necessary can be great for first meetings and meeting up with those you’ve connected with virtually.
You might also consider holding your own events, these could be small or large but by putting your startup recruitment agency in the driver’s seat, you’ll be able to connect with all attendees and develop these relationships further.
Colleges and Universities: Striking up relationships with them means you have access to and a preexisting presence in the minds of the next generation of the workforce. Holding special events for the graduates is a great way to solidify and secure this relationship in preparation for their entry to the workforce.
Our top tips for your overall networking strategy, both on and offline:
- Don’t be shy: Don’t be afraid to say what you do and why you’re there, on or offline. Attention spans are short on social media so although the way you word your messages matters, getting the point across clearly and quickly is also vital.
- Don’t be pushy: Not everyone wants to be targeted as a potential connection, client or recruit. If your picking up signals that individuals aren’t interested in connecting with you don’t push too hard. Online, especially on the likes of Instagram, can you engage individuals in other more subtle ways, like with your content.
- Be Yourself: Recruitment can be perceived as being a little salesy, and we’re living in a time where authenticity and transparency rule, so just be yourself.
- Do Your Research: Don’t turn up on a social media platform or to a networking event, ready to connect without knowing your audience and their purpose for being there. To misconstrue a networking event could do you more harm than good. However, if you’re following tips number two and three, you shouldn’t have any issues here.
- Always Connect: If you’ve spoken in person or via comments on social media, make the connection by exchanging cards, following their profiles or interacting with their latest LinkedIn posts, whatever seems fitting, but do something to connect further.
- Follow Up: Making a connection is great, but lives are busy and so is business, so if you don’t follow up then your connection will weaken and may melt away. Follow up and keep building on the relationship.