Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Walk Over And Introduce Yourself!

Learning how to introduce yourself is worth it.

A couple weeks ago, I went to a meetup of the San Francisco Ruby Group, hosted by Loggly. At the end of the evening, a few job announcements were made, a two people in the audience announced they were looking for work. The meetup organizer did a quick show-of-hands: 15 people hiring, two looking for jobs.

Now, Ruby on Rails is a fairly specialized skill, and I assumed that the other recruiters and hiring managers in the room would all jump at the chance to talk with these two potential candidates sitting not 10 feet away. In fact, only two or three of the hirers (including myself) approached the seekers. As it turned out, one of the prospective candidates is fairly advanced in his field, and another is more junior but still skilled. I set up an interview with one and started an email conversation with the other.

If you are truly serious about hiring, I strongly encourage you to also introduce yourself to anyone in the room who is clearly looking for work. As it is, I feel like I'm recruiting all the good people myself! (And yes I'm available for hire!)

Here are a few tricks I've developed on how to work a room:
  • Do it more than once. Practice makes perfect-er.

  • Talk to loners too. While all the social butterflies are talking to each other, strike up a conversation with the person in the corner sipping a beer.

  • Stay late. If there’s one person you want to speak with more, be the last person they talk to. You can even get more time by walking with them out of the event.

  • Be sneaky. If you want to recruit someone, especially if they're currently employed, ask them two questions. First, "What are you up to these days?" Chances are they will tell you what they do or have done professionally. And secondly, "Are you having fun doing that, or do you see yourself moving on?" Unless they blatantly declare everlasting love for their job, this person is subtlety asking to be recruited.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool Michael. I recruit and also I run the LA Ruby Meetup. Some nights I'm absolutely exhausted by the end of the night because I'll stay until I've had a chance to meet anyone that's stuck around. I've seen recruiters show up at our meetups, introduce themselves at the beginning and then leave. Too bad for them! - JR Fent