Business networking for HR is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting method you can use to grow your business. But if done incorrectly, it can be harmful to your business.
Business networking is a lot more than giving out business cards. It is about building trust. For HR the networking is a lot more than meeting people. It is about connecting with the right people.
Business networking is a lot more than collecting phone numbers. It is about staying in touch, about listening, addressing needs and looking for opportunities all at the same time.
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It is how as a HR we approach relevant business networking sessions that makes it work for us. Networking is about being authentic and genuine, building relationships and trust, and helping others. Although increased sales is the end goal, don’t participate in business networking to sell.
Build relationships and sales will follow naturally. People have to trust you before they’ll do business with you or refer you. Relationship capital is an immensely valuable part of business success. Put your energy, intention and attention on business networking.
Let's talk about inviting people to your business events in this article. The tips that I am going to share later applies to not only business related events but also normal events as well.
If you have tried inviting people to come for your business events be it networking or talks, you will agree with me that it is not easy to get the numbers especially if you are inviting business man and women because they prioritize almost all events according to ROI (Return On Investment) - if your event does not justify their time to be there, then most probably you will have a poor turnout.
Based on my experiences and observations from the other very experienced networkers in my business circle, I realize that there are only three things that you need to do it probably in order to have a high turn-up rate for your events.
1. Is this what they need?
I do not invite every person I meet to my business events such as BNI. If the first thing you meet someone new is to ask him / her to come to your event, then this is something that you may want to stop and re-think on.
Listening is by far the most important skill we need to learn and refine (not only for business). Thus, the first thing before we even start inviting is to ask relevant questions. For example, if you are holding an event for Internet Entrepreneurs to come together and network, you need to ask and assess if the person you are talking to has this area of interest.
A good question you can start off is, 'Have you been to other business networking events?'. This question not only help you understand them better but also make them reveal if they think they needed such exposure. You will be surprised that some business owners will answer this question admitting that they should go around networking more often! Now, do you think if you invite them to your event at this point of time, the person will be far more receptive and appreciate your invitation?
2. Persistent - the additional effort that makes the difference
A lot of invitations I receive nowadays rarely exceeds more than 3 times. If you are holding an event that happens regularly (for example, monthly), you must be persistent and keep inviting no less than 7 times. Most of the times, people are kind enough to tell you that they have other commitments and couldn't attend your event. If this is the case, invite them again when your next event is coming up. This kind of followup is the key that makes the difference.
I remembered I was inviting a business associate of mine who has rejected me no less than 5 to 10 times (I lost count...) because of his usual morning commitments. One day he finally make it to my BNI (Business Network International) event and thank me for inviting him to attend such an eye-opening event. I think sometimes we just have to be persistent especially if you see that your event adds value to the others.
3. Reminders - the secret to 100% turnouts
I never know that a simple reminder can make such a big difference until I came across a material by Dr. Ivan Misner who mentions that reminders are important and we should remind the people who have agreed to come for our events one or two days before the event.
It can be frustrating sometimes if you see that the person you have invited did not turn up in the end just because they forgot. Hence, a simple reminder either through phone or SMS can be very helpful. At the time of posting, there are already systems in place to send out automated reminders to people who have registered for events. One company that can help you to leverage this technology is FlexiSoft - managed by Norman Chin from BNI Singapore, Raffles Chapter.
Identify which networking events you should attend. Pick groups that’ll help you achieve your goals. Find venues that make sense for your business. When you register for an event, schedule it like a meeting.
Determine how often you should be networking. How many times in a week, month, or quarter? Visit as many groups as possible.
Attend events with a plan and always try to learn something new. Prepare yourself for the event. Develop open-ended questions to ignite a conversation. Bring business cards but don’t give your business card to everyone you meet. Give cards to those who ask you for it. Try to sit with strangers. Don’t forget to mingle.
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Keep track of people you meet. Keep in touch with them and deepen your emotional connection. Establish a mutual beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients/ customers. Meet with the group members individually so you get to know them better and try to build quality connections. Consider other group members as resources. focus on the group; listen and think about how you can help them. Focus on giving. Build trust within the group.
While competence and skills were not an issue, I still had to face an ordeal while hunting for a job in Singapore. He shares the lessons he has picked up along the way to help other Indians hoping to relocate to Singapore in search of a better career and higher salary. Problems I faced as an Indian looking for job in Singapore by Kamal Kumar When I quit my job in India and moved to Singapore (SG) for my job search. The reason was a bit personal. My wife had relocated to Singapore 2 years ago.
Before leaving my job, I completed my basic search about the job market and industries in SG. I also spent a 1-month vacation in SG during June’15. During that period, I was selected by 2 employers in SG but offered a salary that was lower than my expectation. So, I declined the offer. But that gave me the confidence that I can get job in SG without any problems. I went back to India, resigned after a 2-month notice period and shifted to SG as a full-time job seeker. I came here with expectations of getting an opportunity that was better than my Indian job. I was in manager position in the manufacturing industry in India. During the first 2-3 months, I was getting jobs of lower salary compared to my Indian job. I kept declining those offers. After 3-4 months, the interview calls drops and the tough time began. One thing that kept me calm and balanced was that I was actively involved in the local community services and participating in the events organised by ‘InterNations‘.
These activities not only helped me in utilising my time productively, but also in creating a local community network. The gap in my career was increasing day by day. That’s when I started looking for jobs back in India through my contacts. I’ve got good offers from India. I am now looking ahead to move back in India and get my career back on track. During these tough times, I learnt many lessons that I would like to share with other Indians who are looking for jobs in Singapore. How to get a job in Singapore from India What makes Singapore a good country for Indians to work and live in? Singapore is developed country with one of the most successful economies in the world. SG is an attractive destination for Indians to work, as one can fulfill the dream of earning a salary in dollars while staying close to India.
There is good competition between highly-skilled natives and expats. If you are looking for job in SG, here are some topics and questions that may cross your mind. How to get a work permit for Singapore? Which is better – search for a job in Singapore while working in India? Or go to Singapore and then search for a job? Are my skills or experience in demand in SG? Will I get the job in SG? What’s my backup plan if I don’t?
Getting a work permit in SG The primary question that may come to your mind is – do I need work permit as a foreigner in Singapore? Unlike in USA or Canada, in Singapore, firstly you need to secure a job, and then a Work Pass will be issued by employer. For foreign professionals searching for manager and executive level jobs, candidates need to earn at least $3,300 a month and have acceptable qualifications. For high-earning existing Employment pass holders or overseas foreign professionals, the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) offers greater flexibility than an Employment Pass.
You may be thinking. “Can I search for a job if I am living in SG on a dependent pass?” Yes, you can apply for Singapore jobs even if you are there as a dependent. After securing a job, the employer can issue a letter of consent with Ministry of Manpower or the employer may apply for an employment pass. Search for Singapore jobs from India or after going to SG? Can I search for job in SG while working in India? Yes, you can. However, employers prefer face-to-face interviews and they also prefer foreigners staying in SG. It would be little bit difficult to find a job in SG while staying in India, unless you already have strong network in SG that works for you and prospective employer agree to complete the selection process online.
How to find jobs in Singapore? To start with your job search, there are lots of online job portals that provide lot of information such as JobsCentral.com.sg, sg.JobStreet.com, JobsCentral.com.sg. Another important source is the main English language newspaper in Singapore, The Straits Times, publishes a “Classified Jobs” and “Executive Appointments” supplement every Saturday that lists a wide range of job opportunities. The online version of these job listings can be found in the ST701 portal. Some companies hire recruitment agencies to help them find candidates. Some reputed recruitment agencies include GMP, Adecco, Kelly Services, Hudson, Michael Page, Robert Walters and Recruit Express.
While searching online for jobs in SG, you will notice many job postings stating that Singaporeans/PR should apply. There are fewer job openings for foreigners. The reason is that Employers in Singapore are granted some quota from Ministry of Manpower, in which they can hire foreigners. In simple terms, if there are 10 job openings in the market, it may be possible that only 2 are open for foreigners and the rest for Singaporeans/PR holders. Another important point is that in India, you can find thousands of job consultants who promise you jobs and extract a good amount of money from you for resume services and job search. There is no such thing as a paid consultant to find jobs in Singapore. You can hire consultants for resume services, career counselling and coaching services in SG to advise you on the right path. But the job consultants work for the company not for the candidates. They look for the right people for the job, not jobs for the people.You can contact recruitment consultants to discuss about the job opportunity.
Are my skills & experience in demand in the Singapore job market? Before jumping into the job search, it is very important to take a closer look of the job market and prepare for the sector that offers best employment opportunity. Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore Work Force Development Agency publish a labour market guide, listing jobs which they expect to be in demand in the upcoming year. It includes information on expected labour shortages in different industries, average wages, and the relevant skills and qualifications for these jobs. It is advisable to consult the skills in demand list on Ministry of manpower website.
Will I get a job in Singapore? What’s my backup plan? One of the main reasons of not getting the first job in SG is being inflexible and not willing to compromise with a low salary jobs that you are offered. So, it is advisable to accept the first job even if it is lesser than your expectation. It is important to first get your foot in the door. You should try to remain flexible and keep the options open. However, you should also keep cost of living in SG in mind before accepting any offer. It is advisable to keep in touch with your previous employers and other contacts in India. It might be possible that after 6 to 7 month of job search in SG, you have to come back to India to have your career on track. So be flexible, act smart, be ready to learn new things, expand your professional network and take right decision on right time. Good luck for all professionals, looking for job in Singapore.
Do not expect to receive benefits right away. Do volunteering work for network groups to stay visible and give back. As a responsible HR you must show up regularly and on time, show others how you deal with business meetings and associates. Give quality referrals and leads. If someone gives you a referral, follow up on it in a timely manner. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. Take a referral seriously.
Don’t spam on social networks. Use the platforms designed for HR to build relationships and expand your network.
Limit self-promotion. Don’t sell. Build relationships. Be as helpful as you can. Share relevant information with others as people love to learn new things. Participate in discussions. Let others know you’re real. Be approachable. Treat your online connections just as valuable as your offline connections.