Picture a crowded event, maybe a business conference. Let’s say you’re in the hallway between sessions. Hanging about the powering stations (charging devices, of course) are 500 people. And you. You don’t know a single one of them. Does this freak you out?
Depending on your personality type (I’m an ENTP, in case you’re into those sorts of things), what I’m about to say might make you think I’m a little weird.
I don’t mind floating through that room of new faces, totally solo. I really enjoy meeting new people (if I can only remember their names – must work on that) and I really don’t need someone else to make an intro for me. I had an a-ha moment a long time ago – most people at events such as this like meeting other people too. And they’re usually glad to have some one else break the ice. Not a thing to fear.
In my role at SmallBox, I conduct a fair amount of informational interviews, even when we don’t have open positions. Near graduation time, when my inbox swells with interested applicants, I might schedule ten or twelve informal chats in a week. It’s an enormous time investment, but a worthy one.
When we do have an opening, we might have a handful of great candidates before we’ve even posted a job. When our clients or partners come to us seeking good candidates for everything from interns to director level roles, I can sometimes connect them with a good fit. In some cases, I’m able to offer some advice to the candidate that I hope helps with their job search or personal growth. When things click, these folks stick around even without a job offer, joining us for projects like Think Kit, or attending a show put on for Musical Family Tree, or participating in our extended network at events like Verge or UX Salon.
It took me a while to see the pattern – I’ve been drawn to jobs and opportunities that allow me to build community. I like connecting things, dots, people (ALL the things).
I’ve made a small habit to connect people when I can, but it hasn’t always been top of mind. I’ve come to understand, as my schedule gets a little harrier and my capacity to give time is limited, this is what I can do to make the world a cozier place.
So, the question is – how can I connect you?
This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “How do you want to get involved in your community this year?”