Nothing feels more like Christmas morning than attending an industry trade show or conference. Considering the hundreds of potential candidates and employers under one roof – plus the vast amount of information floating around the hall – it’s easy to grasp the enormity of the gift.
Some of my most enduring relationships and memorable placements had their genesis in a crowded booth, an entry foyer or food court in a Chicago, Houston or Cleveland convention center. And over time, I’ve found ways to organize my time and exploit the opportunities found in a trade show’s frenetic, networking-friendly environment. Here are 10 ways to get the most out of your visit:
Here's an advanced tactic is to be more aggressive and less passive when interacting with people. Instead of simply stating your name and occupation, you might consider making a sales or marketing presentation that relates to something you're working on.
For example, if you happen to meet a president or director-level person at his or her booth, go ahead and pitch a candidate, as in, “You know, I met some someone who could increase sales at your company. He’s currently working for a direct competitor, but mentioned your organization as one he’d like to join. Is this a person you might like to meet?”
Or, if you meet a mid-level candidate, you could pitch a job, as in, “I just took on a new search assignment with one of your company’s competitors. Tell me: are you the sort of person who might want to look at a challenging, but rewarding position?” And if the answer is yes, you can continue the conversation. If the answer is no, you can begin to gather names.
And so it goes. A day at a trade show is like a month on the phone. Pound for pound, it yields the highest return on a relatively short investment of time.
- Bill Radin
Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and Splits.org. The Radin Report is published monthly.