While these business cards might be utilized for upcoming projects and immediate networking purposes, they are soon tucked away in the black hole that is often referred to as a “junk drawer” or casually thrown into the nearest trash can. The contact has served his or her purpose and is essentially viewed as expendable.
As hiring managers and recruiters attempt to fill their position by the deadline with the ideal candidate, wishing a small percentage would simply reply to their messages, they disregard the value that those business cards might have held. By continuously networking, they might have had the perfect contact right at their fingertips. It might have been so much simpler.
As Professor Maurits van Rooijen points out in a Huffington Post article, “qualitative networks are much more relevant” than their quantitative counterparts. Sharing content, commenting on others’ ideas, and communicating with long-lost contacts are just a few ways to ensure that professionals remain actively engaged. Rooijen also suggests a more intricate attitude toward networking: “Often, the most effective contribution is to introduce one person to another because you believe they might have something to offer each other. This matchmaking ability moves you to the centre stage of professional networking.” By staying involved and creating lasting partnerships, professionals can ensure that they will also be remembered. When HR professionals are remembered by their contacts, they have a larger, more accessible talent pool for future business connections, job candidates, and various other positions.
An HR professional’s personal branding is linked to that of his or her organization. Therefore, HR representatives are responsible for properly representing their employers within their own personal brands. According to Lesley Everett’s HR Zone article, elements such as pride, respect, and opportunity “drive higher levels of engagement” must be embodied not only by the organization, but also by its top executives. These executives set the tone for the corporation and act as its brand ambassador. Everett writes, “When we have websites like Glassdoor.com that leave your company exposed… there is a growing need for companies to either balance this out where needed or enhance their reputation with positive, engaging PR via their leaders and employees.” Indeed, HR employees can greatly impact an organization’s brand by adjusting their personal brand.
Future business contacts and candidates are not as likely to trust an individual whom they have never met, communicated with, or traded information with. This is one reason that casual messages from strangers via LinkedIn are bothersome to some candidates: they seem offensive due to a lack of previous relationship. Professionals must interact with their entire network, even those with whom there is no immediate need for. If HR begins to treat their contacts as individuals rather than assets, they are more likely to trust HR representatives when the time comes to do business.
How will you invest in and maintain your network this year?