It’s easy to hide behind a computer. With the technology we have today, it’s not uncommon to take the it virtual and turn conversations into emails. In fact, due to convenience it’s preferred! Why put the effort into taking a shower, putting on some pressed clothes and heading into the office in the morning when you can do everything almost just as effectively from your home via email, phone, messenger, etc.? Notice I said almost. And as we all know, almost doesn’t always get you to your desired end result.
Most tasks can be completed via email or phone call, but there are some things that really shouldn’t be. When you are tasked with building relationships, this can be a dangerous route to take. Taking the time to meet with someone in person and create a real relationship will 9 times out of 10 always supersede the relationships developed over emails or phone calls. The reasons are simple, you’re not just an icon on a messenger service and you’re not just a voice on the other end of the line, you’re using your interpersonal skills to build a physical (not virtual) relationship. So basically, it’s real.
The tech industry is full of introverts, not everybody- but a good portion of the population. One thing that I’ve found is that when it’s business, most introverts don’t mind meeting one on one. Yet recruiters often don’t have time to meet with candidates and extroversion is almost in the job requirements for this kind of role. With the increasing demand for talent in the tech space, recruiters turn to phone calls or worse- turn phone calls into templated emails to quickly reply to candidates with a general response.
When you’re talking about recruiting talent, it’s likely an invitation to come to your office or meet for a cup of coffee would be accepted . Some folks aren’t interested in attending large events but it’s worth the time to take the effort to meet with them outside of this kind of social setting, instead in an environment they’re more comfortable. Hiring managers on the other hand, they naturallyshould be a bit easier to connect with in a social environment versus one on one – especially if they are managing other people on their team. The challenge here lies with getting time on their calendar- but again, this time too is well worth it, so it’s necessary to hunt them down (future posts to come on ways to do this).
Sure, it may create more work or inconvenience but you’re able to gather a much better understanding of content, understand the context of a conversation, see the body language/ facial expressions of the person who is speaking which explains a hell of a lot more than what you can get from a phone call or email. When conferences are in person, attendees are at the very least more inclined to participate in engaging behaviors versus ghosting on the line. These meetings are also usually limited to the number of people it actually takes to get something done versus the cluster meetings that everyone gets invited to for updates that don’t matter to them so they end up checking email or multitasking and leaving with few key takeaways. Also when a meeting is in person, you get more reliable RSVP’s and less people that are “fashionably late”.
The last note I’ll leave you with is that while in person meetings are extremely valuable and more productive, the length of time that you reserve is also just as important. Do you need to meet for 15, 20, 30 or 60 minutes? Don’t let a calendar’s automated setting make you conform to the length of time you choose to pull people away from their desk to meet with you. If you need 10 minutes, don’t schedule a 30 minute meeting- simple as that! Sure, in person meetings do create a more engaged conversation, but don’t drag it out to 30 minutes without any other purpose than it being the default setting on your Outlook or Google Calendar. Time is valuable and your candidates, colleagues and clients will appreciate it being respected as so.