Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Instant ROI
August 7, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting

This ‘microwave mentality’ has gotten out of hand lately, if you ask me. Why all of a sudden do our benefits and rewards have to happen right here, right now, instantly?

AT&T is hiringI recently attended a networking event graciously put on by Jennifer McClure, otherwise known as @CincyRecruiter on Twitter. She organized a get-together for her gigantic 10,000 member strong LinkedCincinnati online group. Obviously, not all 10,000 members showed up – there was a modest showing of around 200 people. Lots of folks there were looking for employment, or a new opportunity, and displayed this prominently on their nametags, where we were asked to write something we needed. After encountering a few of these folks, I decided to add a little bit to my own nametag, shown here. I got some chuckles out of this, but I also had several folks ask me about some of the positions for which AT&T is hiring. We currently have some pretty cool opportunities with our eCommerce group for marketing and branding professionals in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle. Several of the individuals I met were marketing professionals, so I had some great conversations and would expect that several of them checked out our positions and applied online.

Will they be a fit? I don’t know. Will we hire them? Couldn’t say. Is this instant ROI? Probably not. But it’s still good for our exposure. Just because the reward or the benefit doesn’t happen right in the moment doesn’t mean it’s not there. You would not go to the gym and work out, expecting that at the end of your workout you’ll be buff (or trimmed down), would you? No way – it takes time to reap the reward. I did not go to this networking event expecting to be passing out job offers that night. My expectation was to meet some interesting people, have some conversations, be a good representative of my company, and to just generally have fun, as one of the attendees had written as her “one thing I need” on her nametag.

I’m not a marketing guru, but if I’m not mistaken, part of the purpose of marketing is to get people thinking about a company. Even if they don’t need or want whatever the company has to offer right then, the experience is imprinted in their brain, and they will be more likely to think about that company if and when a need arises. I don’t attend networking events, conferences, or other professional venues with much expectation outside of the idea that I will meet interesting people and that I will learn at least one new thing. If one of the interesting people I meet turns into a hire, that’s fantastic. If they turn into a referral source for me, that’s cool too. If not, no big deal – I know it’s not going to happen every time, and it doesn’t mean my experience was a flop. And who knows – sometime down the road, if I left a good enough impression on people, it might turn into something fruitful.

As my mother always used to tell me, “Good things come to those who wait.” We’ve just gotten so impatient lately that most of us can’t wait for the good stuff and expect it all now. Practice a little patience, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the long-term ROI of your efforts today. Happy networking!

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3 Comments so far
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One of the many reasons why I like you Amybeth is that you totally “get it” when it comes to networking and building relationships and how that can impact our jobs as recruiters/talent attractors! It frustrates me when some in our industry (who seem to do an awful lot of talking about what doesn’t work versus what does) are constantly beating the drum of not doing anything other than working the phones. That’s ONE strategy. I prefer to connect, build relationships and help people out. That’s MY style (and similar to yours I believe). There’s room for all of us on this big blue ball and my strategy works for me. In the words of the quotable Rodney King: “Can’t we just all get along?” 🙂

Comment by Jennifer McClure

Amybeth –

It was delightful to take a walk down your Twitter path this morning to find this post. I’m always pleased to find kindreds in our industry who share the long term view of making the effort all the time to create make connections that benefit more than one person and that may not ever “pay off”.
Your mom is right and I commend you for keeping true to those words and for sharing her wisdom.

Comment by Lesa Caskey

Networking events are for networking. You might yield some instant benefit, but for the most part, it takes time. What has happened lately is that networking events have become quasi job-fairs, which is what you’re describing.

Since ROI is a calculation, what would the numerator and denominator be? Leads generated per hour? Hires per job fair (or networking event)?

This isn’t so cut and dry, but you’re right that there is pressure on all of us to deliver results. Marketing used to hide behind the “benefit will come later down the road” mantra, but that case doesn’t work with Upper Mgmt anymore. Sergio Zyman blew that out of the water when he went back to work for Coke and became the first person to hold the CMO title. The best practice is to show short-term and long-term benefit. This way, you’re covered either way.

Another approach that goes over well is to explain the short/mid/long-term benefits of talent pipelining, particularly relative to those roles that are highly critical (and/or are associated with long time-to-fill periods). Pipelining talent for roles that aren’t highly critical or pivotal to the organization is a bad investment of time (considering opportunity cost), so just speak in economic terms when describing the criticality/pivotality of the roles you’re targeting at the event, and you’ll be good-to-go.

Josh Letourneau
http://www.linkedin.com/in/jletourneau
http://www.twitter.com/jletourneau (Recruitosphere)
http://www.twitter.com/3PrtyRegComplia (Niche-osphere)

Comment by knightbishop




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