Business owners today can connect with people around the globe without even leaving their homes. They can make business connections, reach out to customers, locate contract workers and find people they could never meet in their own local communities.
However, when it comes to finding full-time, salaried employees, businesses often limit themselves by relying solely on resources like Monster.com and LinkedIn. While business owners could hire someone across state lines and pay for relocation, the best candidates for many open position are already living within driving distance of a business’ offices.
When it’s time to hire your next employee, here are a few reasons to consider logging off of your computer and heading out to local job fairs and networking events.
Face-to-face is powerful.
Unless you’re hiring a remote candidate, you’ll want to meet your candidates in person. If you head out to networking events, job fairs or even college recruiting events, you can see a large number of potential candidates in person. This allows you to immediately get a feel for candidates who could be a good fit for your organization and fast track those people to the next step of the process. You’ll also have a chance to entice people who might not have otherwise thought about employment with your business.
Good candidates get hired quickly.
If you rely on online resources to locate talented candidates, you could already be behind the curve. In my experience here in Silicon Valley, employers snatch up many of the best candidates after finding them in person at networking events. Many employers have told me they do not enjoy sifting through online resumes without the benefit of meeting the candidates themselves.
Big companies also target many of the most talented candidates prior to graduation. Those who don’t already have jobs will likely be connected with an employer soon after graduation, through referrals, the college recruiting office or a similar resource.
Even if they do begin applying online, they may not be on the job hunt for long. This is especially true for in-demand careers like app programming, data analytics and user experience testing. To get ahead of competitors, consider attending local college job fairs to meet those talented workers before they’ve accepted a job with someone else.
Reach a wider pool.
When you search for an employee online, you may limit yourself to employees who have a certain skill set. Local hiring events can introduce you to candidates you might not have otherwise considered. A student may not even have considered a career in your industry, but meeting you may change his or her mind.
On the flip side, your mind may open up to new positions within your company when you meet a candidate who would be a perfect fit. You’d miss all this if you were sitting in your office and searching.
Expand brand awareness
Job seekers today are tomorrow’s buyers. By sponsoring or attending a networking event, or setting up a table at local college nights and community hiring fairs, you’ll put your name in front of hundreds of people who will learn about your brand for the first time. That name will be cemented in the minds of local residents, building awareness that your business is in town and an active part of the community. You’ll likely find job fairs a good resource for networking with other business owners, meeting potential clients and introducing yourself to job seekers who may decide to work with you a few years down the line. This type of impact is much more powerful in person than online.
The Internet will remain a reliable way to research and identify job candidates. However, entrepreneurs shouldn’t dismiss in-person recruitment as an option, since it provides a helpful way to network with community members. Even if it doesn’t directly yield a new employee, you’ll be able to network with others in your community and make lasting connections with both customers and fellow business owners.