The Time I Was Asked “Why Are You Talking To Me?” at a Networking Event

Today’s LinkedIn Pulse article comes from Laura Grierson. In her article, she discusses why it’s so important as recruiters to network with anyone you can. Hopefully this will give you a little motivation for the week. — It was what I thought was a very pleasant and engaging conversation. After close to twenty minutes of discussion […]

Posted on January 26, 2015

Today’s LinkedIn Pulse article comes from Laura Grierson. In her article, she discusses why it’s so important as recruiters to network with anyone you can. Hopefully this will give you a little motivation for the week.

It was what I thought was a very pleasant and engaging conversation. After close to twenty minutes of discussion he hit me with it; “Why are you talking to me?”

He was the Manager of a Mining Services company. I recruited in the Mining Industry. Our conversation had ranged from upcoming projects to salary trends to people we both knew.

I looked around and then at him, in complete confusion, as if there was maybe something I had missed. He then explained. His company wasn’t hiring. They had made a number of redundancies recently, of which he knew I was aware. So he then (very genuinely) asked me “Why are you investing time talking to me, when I don’t have any work for you?”

This was his impression of recruiters, and it left me speechless. My eventual answer to his question was the quote ‘Character is how you treat those that can do nothing for you’, a phrase most likely derived from Malcolm Forbes’ work.

But the thing about recruitment is everyone can do something for you; call it some kind of karmic retribution. Whether it is referring superstar candidates, sharing industry information or simply giving you insight into a company you didn’t have before.

That Manager that wasn’t recruiting, months later, referred me onto one of his old colleagues who was hiring. He was hiring a lot of people in fact, and ultimately became one of my largest clients.

So as I attend the networking events and conferences of 2015, I’ll continue to invest time in conversations with people I find engaging regardless of the title or company on their name tag. In any industry, and most certainly recruitment, you shouldn’t try to (nor can you) predict the value a good contact in your network will bring you.

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