Take full advantage of being in a concentrated environment with the industry’s best players. By Rikka Brandon, Building Gurus
In the tight labor market — or any labor market, for that matter — it’s crucial to always be on the hunt for future good employees. Even if your company doesn’t currently have any open positions, having a store of potentially awesome team members, perhaps those who are superstars at their current jobs, means you’ll have more options when the time comes, and you can be proactive, rather than reactive and starting from scratch each time.
Networking is a great way to start building up your database, and trade shows are a networking mecca — literally two to three days of nonstop chances to meet with and talk to new people. As you’re preparing for KBIS next week, consider putting time in your schedule for networking in an effort to not only spot potential future employees, but to introduce your company to them.
Here are a few tips:
- Know what you need: If you have open positions, ensure you know what type of person and experience you’re looking for and be ready to discuss the job on the spot. Also, ask for a business card or offer to send the job ad or job description by email. That way, you can ensure you’re able to easily follow up with them after the event.
- Set up meetings ahead of time: If you already have prospects you’ve been talking to or have planned to target, reach out to them to set up a short coffee break or meeting over drinks. Use the meeting to get to know the prospect and indicate your impressions of their promise while also answering questions about your company and what it’s like to work there.
- Set up a reception to introduce your company: If you’re a larger company with frequent open positions, host a cocktail reception or breakfast event and invite top recruiting targets to attend. Also invite some of your best team members to answer questions and help showcase the value of working at your company.
- Attend show events: Network at one of the many events hosted by the show, such as the Opening Party, the Skilled Labor Fund Fundraiser, Champagne Uncorked, or, at the Builders’ Show, Sales Central. These types of events are a great opportunity to mingle, meet new prospects, and make sure your company is on their radar.
- Scout sessions: Attend educational sessions like the Voices from the Industry Conference or those on the KBISNeXT Stage to observe speakers and panelists. Presenters are typically proactive leaders who are invested in — and knowledgeable about — their careers and fields. In other words, exactly the type of people you want working for your firm. Introduce yourself and give them your card; follow up after the show to indicate your interest in potentially working with them down the road.
Networking is one of the best ways to find great people for your company, as well as to ensure those people understand why they would want to work for you. And KBIS (and trade shows like it) is the ultimate networking opportunity. Don’t miss out!
Rikka Brandon is the founder and Chief Executive Recruiter of Building Gurus, a boutique executive search and consulting firm that works exclusively with kitchen and bath and building product companies across the U.S. She is also the author of the Amazon best seller Hire Power.