3 Things I Learned Sourcing from Events
For a good part of last year I was working with start-up recruitment company in Singapore. I had a dual role to help them set up their research function as well as build a brand spanking new recruitment desk for an emerging industry. Not many people know this but I actually started my career as a 360 recruitment consultant and to be completely honest, the experience left me somewhat jaded about recruitment. It affected me so much that I was actually considering a different career path so when I took on this year long project in Singapore, it was a chance for me to revisit that recruiter role after years of specialising as a sourcer/researcher. Furthermore, it was an opportunity for me to try out some of the sourcing tactics I’ve been reading or dreaming about trying for years but never got the opportunity as a general sourcer. Here are three things I picked up sourcing at events as a sourcer and/or recruiter.
Pick your mark:
If you’re going to industry events to network and find candidates for a specific role you’re working on, you’re going to have a bad day.
Changing oil, you’re doing it wrong…
There are all sorts of people that attend events, not just the professionals you’re looking for, whether they be conferences, workshops or the smaller meet-ups. As a recruiter *shudder* focusing on big data (a relatively new industry if you believe the hype) I quickly found that the large conferences were good for business development – finding clients, contacts and learning about how businsses were using big data or understanding lessons learned from their set up. I found technical workshops and meet-ups as a better resource to deep dive into the subject area I was specialising in. They gave me insights right down to the level of detail like some of the challenges the roles I was sourcing for were facing and how’s the various technologies played a part in that solution. It helped highlight why it was important for candidates to have specific experience with certain technologies and the information I picked up helped me filter out the actual technical specialists and the those that just knew the buzzwords.
Do your research:
This is not me flying the ‘research’ flag because it’s what I do. It is about maximising your time and being efficient in what you want to get out of these events. If you’re going in for business development make sure you identify some people or companies that are attending that you want to introduce yourself to. Conference programs, exhibition partners and speaker lists are available on their website and a good resource for intel. Get some market intelligence to help ease the approach before jumping into selling your services. If you’re in it just to expand your network and gain insights or if you’re an introvert like me and sometimes struggle to get into the mix prior to events and people generally, you can always reach out to some of the speakers or connect with fellow attendees beforehand to open the lines of communication and organise to meet during the actual event. I’ve found using Twitter and following the event’s #hashtag to be a great approach for achieving this.
Technical workshops and meet-ups could be at times be a little overwhelming (read: too much information) bearing in mind that these events are usually catered to practitioners, addressing a specific problems or showcasing a new technology/approach. In order for me to keep up with what was crowd, I usually spent a few hours reading up or speaking to others about that topic to familiarise myself with what was to come. Once you have a baseline understanding of what that subject area is trying to achieve in the context of the business and how it does that, then it gets easier over time as you’re just building your knowledge and “expertise” on the subject.
As much as I love playing spy: “infiltrating” Google’s offices to attend meet-ups (and potentially pick up whatever information is lying around), I found that more often than not the other attendees were happy to speak with me and share their market knowledge so long as I wasn’t there to blatantly sell anything whether it be a service, a role or general branding exercise. There are plenty of recruiters who visit events to do just that. If you’re not making the most of these events by actually trying to absorb the topic, you’re really only getting less than half of what they have to offer.
An accurate picture of me snooping at other businesses
Have your own sourcing tricks you use at events? Share them below!
NB: I’ll be attending the inaugural #SOSUAsia in Singapore, 27 May. If you want to catch up, talk shop or share ideas, feel free to reach out to me beforehand on Twitter: @kfhew.