You know, real recruiters still go to SXSW in search of great talent. It’s no secret. After all, Silicon Valley giants frequently grab startups just for the talent and where to find more startups and fresh talent than the rainy streets of Austin? (yes, it always rains at least once atSXSW) So how does a fresh young talent ready to take on corporate America get noticed in a throng of eager young marketers, developers, creatives and agencies? Know what talent acquisition pros are looking for and how to stand out:
This is just one key factor that recruiters are looking for. Do you quickly jump to answer a question on Twitter? Do you respond fast to an Instragram posted blocks from where you are? Real time connected brands are looking for talent that can connect and make connections quickly. While typically, this sort of on-the-fly interaction is saved for marketing and advertising professionals; it is also an attractive quality in customer service professionals and product managers. This is a huge benefit at a conference like #SXSW, where simply checking in on Foursquare can get you invited to a nearby street game of whiffle ball.
If you aren’t taking the time to make sure recruiters from your dream company will notice you, then you are missing the boat. Lots of aspiring young tech talent believe that they shouldn’t have to reach out, but who would you rather work with, a diva or someone willing to grab a burrito and talk about opportunities? Keep the focus on your goals and not making recruiters bow and scrape. Be open to chatting about opportunities late at night over the latest band or early in the morning in the coffee shop line.
When a recruiter approaches you, keep in mind they might one of the rare talent acquisition pros who look for cultural fit over skills. If so, you’re in luck! This means you will likely learn a lot at this company. But only if you play your cards right and that means showing that while you may the top in your field, you are still ready and willing to learn. Showcase this skill by mentioning the great sessions you’ve been to, or by explaining an fantastic conversation you had while in the food truck line with another entrepreneur.
A lot of brands, agencies and creatives attend SXSW, so it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. At any given conference, you could pass a zombie, someone sporting a pink mustache (on their chest) and meet a famous person all in the five minute walk from your hotel. This means that you need to be memorable. You may not want to wear branded clothing or stick out visually, but investing in quality cards, perfecting your elevator pitch and being genuinely interested in every person you meet are all ways to make a lasting impression in a sea of people dedicated to doing just that.
Know your stats
You can be the best ______ in the world, but rarely is there a place to sit down and show off that knowledge at a large festival like SXSW. Instead, share knowledge by having a couple of fascinating statistics about your industry that you can pull out. Added bonus? Explaining how that pertains specifically to a job you’ve done in the past or something you’ve written to prove that not only can you memorize data, you can understand and analyze what it means to you.
So you’re going to SXSW to look for a new gig but you haven’t really left your old one yet. That’s okay! There’s nothing a recruiter likes better than a challenge. Even if you are honest about the fact that you might be open to new possibilities when speaking to recruiters, make sure you don’t trash or ditch your current one. Showing that you work well on a team, are a loyal worker and make good, solid decisions, will earn the respect of any respectable recruiter you encounter. And it will only make them want you all the more.