Whether you like it or not, networking is an important skill in the startup world. And networking is only becoming more valuable, as the number of available job opportunities grows. People are no longer confined to roles in their home city or local region. They can now find employment with companies halfway across the world, so long as everyone is open to remote work or hybrid arrangements.
Startups, in particular, are willing to bring on remote talent because they want the best people on their teams. Why settle for average when excellence is more accessible than ever? The downside to this is that competition for A-level people is fierce. So, if you are a founder or you support your startup’s recruiting efforts, you have to step up or risk missing out on great people.
Networking today on behalf of a startup means connecting with others in person and online. It requires keeping up with external recruiters, former colleagues, and potential contacts in more markets, assuming job seekers are open to remote opportunities. All of this can be overwhelming at times, especially when you’re trying to grow a business.
With this background in mind, here are four tips to help you organize your networking efforts going forward.
Start or Join a LinkedIn Group
We can’t write about networking without mentioning the most widely used professional network in the world: LinkedIn. LinkedIn can be a goldmine if you know how to use it well. In addition to creating a page for your startup, you should also consider joining groups that are relevant to your industry, region, or problem you are trying to solve. You can also create a group around a specific topic if it doesn’t exist already and invite others to join.
LinkedIn Groups are great places to share insights and discuss industry trends. They are also where a lot of networking happens, as people are already engaging about subjects that interest them. So, if you’re not active in LinkedIn Groups already, the time to jump in is now.
Leverage Social Media
Social media platforms are also where a lot of connections are made. Though people tend to join social media for “social” reasons, many are open to having discussions about work or potential jobs, should the right opportunity present itself.
Today’s biggest social media platforms also make it easy to connect with people around specific topics (think Facebook Pages or Instagram Hashtags). As a startup representative, you can certainly find individuals who are passionate about topics or problems that your startup addresses.
Contribute to Industry-relevant Publications
This next point is less about real-time interaction and more about passively attracting people over longer periods of time. If someone in your organization is an established thought leader on a specific topic, it can make sense to have that person contribute blog posts or articles to publications that serve professionals in your industry.
Even if you don’t have a well-known expert on your side, publishing your startup’s take on current events can be an effective way to get your name out there. You never know when you might strike a chord with a reader who ends up wanting a new job down the line.
Tell Everyone What You Do
Though your reach in the physical world is more limited, you can still make valuable connections with people. The key is to tell everyone what you do. Of course, don’t do it in an arrogant or tactless way. But be proud to talk about your work and mention your company name whenever it seems natural.
People gravitate towards others who enjoy what they do. It’s unusual to find someone who speaks highly of their employer and the problem they are trying to tackle in the world. Be that person, and watch what happens. Also, keep in mind that your positive, face-to-face interactions can ripple out. Even though the person you are speaking to might not be a great fit for your startup, her friend or her friend’s friend might!
Your Network is Your Net Worth
In some ways, your network is your net worth. Who you know and who you meet can have a tremendous impact on your hiring process and your startup’s ultimate success. You need the absolute best talent available knocking on your door and asking to join your team. The way to do that is to be active online and in person, always sharing about the exciting things you’re working on. And these tips apply to finding potential investors as well!
For those of you who want to complement your networking efforts and maintain a healthy pipeline of candidates, consider working with Funded.club. We take on the hard work of sourcing and vetting talent so that you can focus on more important things. We introduce you to the most exciting people out there, while only charging a fixed fee for successful placements.
To learn more about Funded.club’s unique startup recruiting approach, schedule a free 30-min call with our founder Ray.