A strong personal and professional network is vital for career growth – whether or not you are currently looking for a new position! Having a cache of people in your inner circle with whom you can connect, learn from, and expand your horizons is one of the first lessons of success. At KMR Executive Search, we are firm believers in the power of that circle. Below we’ve shared some of our best networking tips – some may seem a bit obvious, but they are worth repeating! We hope you consider these “networking buckets” as they may provide you with invaluable information, leads, and career advice, and you will more than likely connect with one or more mentors that will guide you on your path to success.
The cost of a bad hire is financial and emotional – because having the wrong person in the wrong seat at your organization can quickly turn into a cancerous situation that will quickly destroy morale and ultimately degrade your customers’ experience with your brand. Happy Employees = Happy Clients = Happy Bottom Line for the business.
If you’ve been following the news of the Great Resignation, you would think it’s a dream market for employees – simple supply and demand economics…or is it? While some industries such as health care and education are experiencing critical gaps, others are just seeing a lot of movement – all can be quite disruptive to the team, the organization, and the bottom line. The search to fill roles with the right candidates is at an all-time high but that doesn’t mean anything goes.
During the interview process, you want to learn as much as possible about your top candidates before you make the very important decision of who to extend a job offer to. However, it’s important that you don’t expose yourself or your organization to a potential lawsuit. Knowing what questions to ask, and more importantly, what questions NOT to ask, is critical.
Have you ever commented on a social media post of someone looking for a recommendation for a plumber, pet sitter, accountant, etc. and recommended your favorite and most trusted people? If so, you’ve given a referral to someone. Whether solicited or not, you’ve just recommended someone to another person to consult, review, or take further action on because you think they would be a good fit for their need. From a business perspective, getting referrals from satisfied customers is one of the best ways to attract new customers.
For many businesses, word of mouth advertising can say a lot about the quality of your products/services and can help you grow your business organically vs. paid marketing and advertising. Referrals offer the most effective return on investment and carry more weight for most potential customers vs. an online or print ad.
A referral is the ultimate compliment you can get from a customer. In fact, a Nielsen study found that 92% of people trusted recommendations from people they know, and 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online – think Google, Yelp, Facebook, Glass Door, etc. When it comes to choosing the right company/product/service, most people have several options to choose from and a plethora of information online to do their research. At the end of the day, people want to know that their decision is informed, they are getting value, and that their decision is validated by someone’s prior experience.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you own; referrals can still be your best marketing tool. Here’s 5 ways to gain more referrals:
- Have a WOW factor. What sets you apart from your competition and makes your clients say Wow, I need to work with Mr. Smith. Showcase that WOW.
- Give the people what they want. Make sure you are promoting the products/services that your customers want vs. what you think they want. If you are a financial institution that keeps promoting savings accounts when people really want to learn more about mortgages or home equity loans, then you’ve missed a huge opportunity with your customers.
- Make referrals easy. Don’t make people jump through hoops to get to you. If a current client wants to copy you on an email to a potential client, let them. Don’t force them to fill out a form or contact you via your website first. Keep it simple.
- Just ask. If you’ve just done an amazing job for a customer and they are showering you with compliments and thank you’s, ask them to spread the word if they are willing to anyone who might need your product/services. Even in this digital world, people still like human connection, and a direct word of mouth referral from someone can go a long way.
- Utilize social media. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – all great places to connect with your customers and interact with them via your business. By having a business page, people can easily tag you when making referrals on social media. You can also enable reviews on some social platforms so customers can leave feedback on their experiences. You can add some of these testimonials to your website as well.
Referrals can be for so much more than just product/services as well. It’s also one of the best ways to find a new job if you are a job seeker or find employees as a business. Happy employees LOVE to talk about how great their job and their company are. They will go out of their way to recommend it as a place to work to people they know who may be job hunting. From the employer perspective, it’s a great way to find potential qualified candidates who are vouched for by a current employee.
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With some companies continuing to let their employees work virtually to increase safety and social distancing measures, many have found themselves in new and uncertain territory when it comes to the virtual hiring process.
The good news? There are myriad virtual recruiting tools that can help you safely source high-quality talent. After all, hiring the right employees is still a vital part of the success of your organization.
Identifying the RIGHT prospective employee is a journey that goes beyond simply finding resumes that boast high GPAs from highly ranked schools or impressive professional credentials. In fact, I cringe when I think of all the truly qualified people who are overlooked by “black box” online hiring filters just because they are missing a key word in their resume. Technology is great…until it isn’t.
For me, the credentials are important, but they are secondary to the “person.”
On behalf of my clients I phone screen prospective candidates for IQ (Intelligence Quotient) – hard skills, professional experience, job transitions – basically, reviewing what is in black and white on their resume. I am focusing on topics and skills that are teachable, learnable, measurable, and quantifiable. Yes, I need to know that they have the capacity to do the job, but I don’t overlook someone who has never held the position I’m hiring for. It’s about their overall skillset – I’m looking macro, not micro for most searches.
I’d like to think I’m a moderate risk taker – I’m one for taking some good calculated chances here and there. I’m NOT one for even thinking of attempting a free solo climb of El Capitan like Alex Honnold (check out this documentary if you want to bite all your nails off and sit on the edge of your seat with one hand over your eyes and the other hand gripping the arm rest).
Two highly qualified AND likeable job candidate resumes are sitting in front of you. You’ve gone through extensive interviews, background checks, and reference checks on both and now it’s decision time. Enough waffling, enough “Pro and Con” back and forth in your brain – you must choose one or the other.
Let’s be honest, building out A-Teams for your business isn’t easy. Great talent, great culture, profitable business – we all want it! The issue arises when business owners get impatient with the process. They have a talent gap, they want it filled… yesterday. Unfortunately, when hasty hiring decisions are made to fill a role, a lot of proverbial rocks are left unturned. The result is high turnover and employee morale takes a nose dive.