Networking in Pandemic has Suddenly Become Easier for Everyone, Recruiters and Talents Included

Would you believe it if we told you it’s easier to network with anyone these days? On Clubhouse, the social audio app that’s all the rage these days, recruiters and applicants have never been as close as they have ever been to each other. 

It’s not just about hiring or applying for work in one location but someone who could be in the United States looking to hire someone from India or the other way around, employers in India hiring talents from the US. Even startup founders are listing their email addresses for applicants to email them directly.

Under normal circumstances, this may not have happened. However, the pandemic has prompted many people to miss human connection and Clubhouse’s easy communications tool has allowed people to open up like they’ve never done before. 

Once the pandemic is over, many talents will be making their move to their desired locations.

No longer bound by location 

People are no longer bound by location if we also count how Zoom, the virtual conference app that allows even hundreds of people to see and talk to each other, can reach out to anyone with an internet connection. The pandemic has leveled the playing field so to speak. It remains to be seen how Facebook’s own live audio app launched this week and other networking apps will do in making people talk to each other.

With the barriers down, though, it’s important to understand some power dynamics. Global mobility managers will still need to develop a strategy in terms of how to communicate in a more open arena while also thinking of the value they can bring to the table to employers and the talents they are recruiting. In any sense, they have to think about what they can offer in exchange for networking with someone they never thought would happen beyond a Linkedin missive.

Indeed, it’s a mantra of Gary Burnison, the CEO of Korn Ferry: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if you want to be successful at networking, you must keep in mind that it really isn’t about you. It’s about building relationships—and relationships aren’t one-way streets.” It’s more about giving than receiving.

Talents, on the other hand, need to know how best to pitch themselves to recruiters and if employers are hiring directly, to be prepared to get interviews sooner than they thought. A network conversation will not work if it starts with: “I need a job.” Successful networking is about building relationships, experts say. 

Cultivating meaningful employee connections

HRZone suggests cultivating meaningful employee connections. It reportedly offers employee affinity/resource groups to create meaningful opportunities for team members to connect and share around issues that are important to them. These include the following:

  • Enhanced networking opportunities
    Schedule other meetings and opportunities for discussion and authentic connection around book clubs, podcasts, webinars or other topics relevant to your organization.
  • Show appreciation
    Celebrate the achievements of their team members. It’s important to seek out opportunities for employees to express authentic appreciation for their colleagues’ work, which ultimately boosts engagement.
  • Focus on the people
    Sharing the stories of the people behind wins, solutions and initiatives go a long way toward boosting engagement. After all, at the end of the day, people are interested in other people – even virtually.

It’s hard enough to form a cohesive corporate culture and keep employees connected and engaged during this era of remote work. By using these strategies, however, one can keep people engaged.

Beyond the formality of work, there are also many fun online activities that can help anyone break the ice for those not used to social interactions outside of their ethnic circle. Again, Clubhouse does this effectively through the meetup-like topics they can enter but for some fun connections, there are many alternatives out there.

It’s time to reach out to people you work with as well as loved ones in these uncertain times. A heartfelt email message that displays your kindness, sincerity and authenticity will be more than sufficient. Ask someone how they are holding up and share something about your own status during the crisis.

There are many creative ways of having virtual fun amid the pandemic. Video games today can be placed across long distances. A Nielsen study points to how Asian Americans, many of whom work in Silicon Valley, dominate as gamers. For the fitness buff, there are many free platforms for anyone to join group exercises. 

Those who miss their families can host an online family reunion. Event organizers, such as Eventbrite, have expanded their offerings to help people change their reunion from live to virtual.

During a time when people are staying home and social distancing, social connections remain as crucial as ever. (Dennis Clemente)