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'Social recruiting' new way to find job

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Forget job fairs or emailing your resume to potential employers. These days, you can hit the job market and the bar scene all at the same time.

According to experts, cocktail parties and other social events are now all the rage in the recruiting world. But if you're not careful, it could mean one less job offer in the morning.

While it may look like she's out having a few drinks with her friends, Denise Duke is actually on an interview.

"What better than to shake hands over a beer than a resume?" job hunter Denise Duke said.

She's taking part in a different kind of job fair, where candidates fly in from around the country to attend social events with prospective employers. It's a mixture of martinis, music and mingling.

"It allows people to mix and mingle and network and get to know each other on a much better level than at a job fair," said Rich Maloy, executive director of the Boulder Startup Week.

Dan Ryan of the Society of Human Resource Management says this kind of "social recruiting" is a growing trend around the country, especially amongst startup tech firms looking for younger talent.

"It's almost like speed dating. And by doing that, both groups get a better idea of what the other one is like before they actually get down to business."

Sendgrid's Tim Falls is looking to fill more than 40 open positions at his tech startup and likes seeing potential employees in this element.

"They're not as stuffy and they're not as nervous and it's, they might not even know they're talking to someone who might be a potential employer," Falls said.

"Culture is such an important part of hiring environments today, especially in small and startup companies, that you have to make sure that people are going to fit within your culture," Maloy said.

However, Ryan warns that these events can run the risk of being too much fun, leading to unprofessional behavior that may cost you a potential job.

"It's just like the office Christmas party where you always hear the stories about people who get out of control. You want to be somebody who stands out in front of the employer but you don't want to stand out in the wrong way," Ryan said.

So how do you stand out? Ryan recommends you research the attending companies ahead of time. Be prepared to hand out business cards. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum, and force yourself to engage, even if you're shy.

"Go to an event and just kind of wander around and see what other people are doing," Ryan said.

Duke is using this social setting for doing just that.

"I'm very much connecting with as many people as I can, shaking hands, figuring out what their business model is and how I can help them," Duke said.

Experts point out social media also plays a role in social recruiting. In addition to the larger, planned events, some companies and individuals sponsor Tweet-Ups, spontaneous networking get-togethers promoted on Twitter and other social media sites.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

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