Speed Dating For Jobs Heating Up Recruiting Efforts

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Job seekers know how frustrating it can be to spend hours a day on networking sites and job boards, endlessly submitting résumés with little or no response. What really makes you feel like you're making some headway into the job search are connections made the old-fashioned way - in person. It's why a new form of high-speed networking is taking place outside the office in casual settings across the country. Think of it as "Speed Dating For Jobs."

Knowing that taking a back seat to the job search wouldn't get him anywhere, Gil decided to invest much of his savings and severance into creating a free site called JobsDirectUSA. It's motto: "Save America one job at a time."

Instead of offering the cookie-cutter job listings and corporate info found elsewhere, Gil wanted to take the job hunt off-line with a series of grassroots networking events across the United States. His "Pink Slip Party" mixers invited recruiters and job seekers to mingle at low-pressure party-type events, where candidates get a few minutes to casually chat with a company rep before moving on to the next one.

To date, there have been over 100 free events and over 1,000 workers say they've helped them get a job. They've also attracted the attention of the media, who began referring to the events as "Speed Dating For Jobs."

"Speed Dating for jobs is another resource to help job seekers find a job in this economy and network with members of the local business and staffing communities, as well as each other, in a relaxed and casual setting," Gil recently told the Jacksonville Business Journal.

If you're familiar with standard speed dating, you probably already have an idea how the events work. Recruiters are typically stationed at tables while job seekers rotate around the room. Meetings last anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes and attendees get valuable information and feedback recruiters generally don't have the time to offer up online.

While there are no guarantees of employment, it's a recruiter's job to find excellent candidates for current or future openings. Getting to meet dozens of viable workers in person makes their job easier and more efficient, so you can see the appeal.

The trend is also catching on at college campuses, where traditional job fairs have been a right of passage for years.

At the San Diego State University business school, just 41 students got some valuable one on one time with sixteen representatives from a variety of fields. In groups of six, they chatted with the professionals for a bit before switching tables and getting introduced to another set of contacts.

Career counselor Bobbie Gray told the school paper the events are "an excellent chance for students to get to know people in their field if they are too timid or reluctant to do so in other social settings."

Less intimidating than standing in line in hopes of catching a busy recruiter's attention at tables full of resume-wielding students and more powerful than a blind email, Speed Dating For Jobs is one way of landing a partner - that pays.

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