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.
There is really no secret to building your network of contacts. There are a lot of resources out there giving tips and tricks on building business networks and expanding your realm of influence, but there are some basic principals to follow that can have a significant impact on how successful your networking events and strategies are. Paying attention to the basic details is often a more effective approach than using any "secrets."
What is the point of business networking? It is the process of building relationships with complementary businesses, business owners, and business managers to increase your influence and position within a specific market or industry. There are two points to take away here - building relationships and increasing influence and position. Relationships will naturally increase your influence, and influence creates opportunity and improved market position.
The most important value in business is the relationships that are built. Customers, clients, vendors, and colleagues all shape the relationships within a business. Like any other area in life, the quality of the relationships can have a huge impact on the outcome of your interactions with existing and potential clients, vendor/reseller relations, and every other aspect of your daily operations. Focus on building and maintaining positive relationships with your contacts (both within and outside of your company) you will quickly begin to increase your influence with your contacts.
How do you practically build good relationships with new contacts? There is balance and communication to work on. All relationships tend to follow a similar tract: introduction, follow-up, acquaintance, interaction, commitment. There is room between each stage for varying degrees of influence, but most relationships in business tend to fall somewhere in these five categories.
In the introduction stage, you first meet the contact, give some overviews about yourself, find out who they are, exchange contact info, and independently decide whether or not the person is worth a follow-up action. If there is the potential to have a mutually beneficial relationship, or the new contact can possibly benefit you, request permission to follow-up with that person. If you can benefit them, let them know that you would be open to a follow-up communication.
The follow-up communication is where most individuals drop the ball. It is difficult to make time in a busy schedule to get in front of your computer with the intent to follow-up on potential leads or new contacts. If you don't follow up correctly, a few things can happen:
1) you can loose out on a potential referral,
2) you could loose out on a potential client,
3) you loose out on a opportunity to get connected to a whole different network of contacts, and
4) you can loose credibility by not following up when you expressed an interest to.
If networking for increasing influence and position within a market is important to you, then follow-up opportunities should be created, not missed.
If you can get through the follow-up process, your hope is for a favorable response from the people you contact. When favorable replies are made (either by phone or email), you gain an opportunity to create an acquaintance with the contact. This is the real first step in developing a relationship. At this stage, you have made a favorable enough first impression to engage someone a second time, so use this opportunity to win them over. This third step is usually the opportunity to give out some usable information, such as potential leads for each of you, or a request for proposal (or a request to offer a proposal) for services.
Once you have had a few interactions with your contacts, you begin to develop an acquaintance with them. At this point, you both know each other and each others businesses, but you aren't close with them yet. You may or may not have had any business dealings with them, but they are at least on your radar for future deals, or as someone who you can send referrals to. Most business relationships don't grow past this phase, but if you continue to follow up with them and remain in contact, often times you will either get a lead or be able to give a lead to someone you stay in contact with.
The final step in the business relationship process is developing a commitment with the new contact. This doesn't have to be any formal commitment, but typically means that you both agree to continue interacting with one another. Hopefully the commitment comes in the form of a new customer or a referral that turns into a client, but either way, you have built a new business relationship that will only grow from here. It is important to not loose contact with individuals in this stage of the business relationship because they can often be the most influential people in your growing network.
Most business-savvy individuals are always looking to grow their network, which means that follow-up and continued interactions are welcomed. It is your responsibility to bring value to the relationships that you build - don't just look to your own interest, but to the interest of your new contacts. In doing so, you will begin to increase your influence and position within your industry.
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.