Posts Tagged ‘networking events’

Three Messages from My Wife to Every HR Professional

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016
Doug Blizzard, VP of Membership

Doug Blizzard, VP of Membership

Not to air my personal laundry, but my lovely wife who recently went through a trying career experience has some important messages for HR.  I had to hear these messages almost every night for six months, so now you’re going to hear them.  Enjoy!

Let me set the stage.  Her employer of 27 years was purchased and her job was relocated to another part of the country. Suddenly her very predictable, comfortable world was turned upside down.  Her employer treated her very well on exit, but suddenly she had to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.  Sound familiar?  She devoted her entire working life to this one company.  I realize I’m biased, but she offered an impressive set of skills to future employers.  Promoted frequently, she was a solid professional.   Finding a new job would be easy…so she thought.

Message #1: Are companies really looking for good people?  My wife applied for over sixty positions during her six month job search, most of which were lower level. She just wanted to get a foot in the door.  She didn’t receive so much as a thank you email or even an acknowledgement from ANY of the positions for which she applied.  Not one, ever. And she was applying to name brand companies…who frankly should know better.  Ask yourself if your application process works the same way and if it does is that the message you want to send good people?

Message #2: Dial back your Applicant Tracking System a little, you’re missing good people!  She clearly understood why a company would have an ATS, however her experience was that there were so many nit-picky questions and it was obvious to her when she would fall out.   When was the last time you reviewed your ATS screening process?  Have you dialed it too tight to weed out the occasional bad apple?

Message #3: Don’t be too busy to network like I was.  I throw this last message in because rarely does a week go by that I don’t hear from an HR professional who suddenly finds themselves in the same position as my wife.  While she was working, my wife didn’t make time to network.  When she lost her job she just couldn’t get her head around what networking meant.  Is that an event I go to?  Is it Linkedin?  I don’t have a lot of contacts since I didn’t work to develop them during my career.  I don’t feel comfortable asking help from people I haven’t talked to in awhile.  Sound familiar?  Here’s one easy way you can build your network – visit the MyCAI Forum everyday and answer someone’s question.  That’s it, five minutes max! You’ll help someone and become known as an HR problem solver, and suddenly everyone will want to know you.  And then when you need help…

So how did my wife’s story end?  Well she was pretty depressed with the job search.  One night we went to a party at a friends house (she didn’t want to go).  A friend asked her what she’d been up to.  He needed someone with her skill set to do commercial business development for his small business.  She’d never been in BD before, but had a lot of knowledge of and contacts in his industry.  She started six months ago.  His little company had it’s best year ever and is now the fifth largest provider in the country.  He attributes a good part of the growth to her.  Not bad!  And again, sixty other local companies didn’t even acknowledge her application.  Their loss.  Think about it!

Have any other helpful messages you’d like to send to HR? Let us know in the comments!

How to Network Around the Holidays

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

In today’s post, Learning & Development partner Linda Taylor shares many helpful tips for creating strong networking connections during the busy Holiday season.

Around this time of year, people willingly (or not so willingly) attend company parties, get together with friends and neighbors and usually spend a day or two with their families.  Many people stress about the pressure to make small talk and socialize, especially when they are attending a function with their spouse or significant other.

Here’s an idea that I came across recently:  “Be more concerned with being interested than being interesting.”  So, immediately, this strategy calls for us to be attentive listeners. Now, that may not be too hard if only you can get people to talk in the first place!  When possible and appropriate, take a quick peek at LinkedIn or Facebook and review the basic facts about someone you know you’ll meet at a party.

For instance, look over their education and former employers so you can say, “Hey, I see you are a Tar Heel, too!” or “So I understand you used to live in Dallas.  What was that like?” As people speak, listen for hints as to their passions.  You may probe further as long as it’s not intrusive.  Later, if you run across an article about something that might interest them, pass it along.  They’ll be flattered that you remembered.

But what if you don’t have access to people’s backgrounds beforehand?  You may inquire of your host and ask for an introduction.  Or simply go up and introduce yourself and ask what their connection is to the host or hostess.  “Hi, I’m Jack, I work with Phoebe in the accounting department over at Widgets International.  How do you know the Baileys?” They’ll likely tell you a story about how they met and you can build on that from there.  It goes without saying that you’ll always want to make sure to speak well of everyone.

A little mingling etiquette:

  • If you are approaching someone standing alone, walk up and put out your hand while introducing yourself and asking for their name.
  • If you are approaching two people talking, be more cautious as they may be holding a private conversation.
  • If you are approaching a group of people, simply slide in on the periphery and say hello to the closest person. Ease into the conversation gently and respectfully.
  • When you need to need to extricate yourself, say “Excuse me…I need to freshen my drink” or “Excuse me…I see an old friend I’d like to greet; it has been a pleasure to meet you.”

Always have a ready supply of non-controversial topics at the ready – positive current events (like what’s happening in your home town, sporting news, a play or movie you would recommend or a funny story about how your GPS took you far from your desired destination.)  Dwelling on negative events creates a poor image and leaves you nowhere to take the conversation from there.  As a last resort, comment about the weather and ask the other person what he/she thinks.

Going back to the beginning:  the reason so many people dread socializing and small talk is that they are worried about being witty and impressive.  Instead, this season, focus on others and you’ll have less stress and more fun.  Remember – getting someone to talk about themselves allows them to discuss their favorite subject.  Encourage that and watch the conversation grow from there!

For any further tips on how to effectively network during the Holiday season, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

10 Resources for Finding Top Talent for Your Company

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Multiple factors help a business reach success, but hiring high-performing individuals is a critical component. Knowing the best places to reach qualified candidates will help you secure top talent for your organization. Even when you aren’t hiring, building a pool of great applicants before your search is beneficial for your company’s time and resources. The economy is slowly changing and unemployed workers and disengaged employees with attractive soft skills and key industry knowledge will search for opportunities that fulfill their needs. Use the ten resources below to help job seekers find your organization:

Networking Events:

  • Talented job seekers use networking events to show off their best assets to potential employers. Inform attendees that you are hiring so they know to ask for more information if they are interested.

Company Events:

  • You can also invite job seekers to an open house at your office if you are hiring for more than one position. Use these events to pitch your company’s best selling points.

Your Network

  • Use the relationships that you have formed in your career to navigate you to top talent. Your friends and business colleagues can help guide you to the right candidate.

Create a Great Culture:

  • Foster a positive environment for your employees to keep them engaged and satisfied with their jobs. Happy employees will share their job experience with others, creating a buzz that your company is an employer of choice.

Social Networks:

  • Job seekers are using the internet to find positions. Make sure your company is using social media to highlight job openings and the workplace culture it provides.

Employee Referrals:

  • Inform your employees of your company’s openings, and ask them if they know of any qualified applicants. They are great sources for recommending people who share their same talents, such as their friends or college classmates.

Industry Referrals:

  • If your organization is a member of a specialty or industry group, seek help from the other company group members. Your peers could provide you with a candidate that matches your needs perfectly.

Universities:

  • Students are great prospects for new hires because they are eager to work and learn once they graduate. Participate in career fairs and share your open positions with the university’s career service department to inform students of the opportunities you offer.

Government Programs:

  • The government offers various programs for employers that are interested in individuals from specific categories, like veterans. Completing paperwork correctly and staying compliant with state and federal regulations is mandatory when using government recruiting options.

Help Them Navigate:

  • Make it easy for job seekers to learn about your organization and its open positions. Allowing candidates to call your office to learn about an opportunity or submit a resume online are two ways to help them connect with your company.

Combined, these resources should help you find plenty of suitable applicants for your company. Remember that convincing job seekers to join your organization will take effort on your part. Make sure your employer brand conveys the right message you want job seekers to receive. Provide candidates with examples of the benefits that you provide to your employees. Reach out to your staff and ask them the reasons they enjoy working at your organization to ensure you’re highlighting your company’s strongest features.

For more information and strategies for locating top talent, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: snre