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Why a strong professional network is worth its weight in gold.


Why a strong professional network is worth its weight in gold. Why a strong professional network is worth its weight in gold.

Key Takeaways

  • Leverage your network and effectively reach “passive” talent who aren't actively looking for work, increase candidate quality, and cut down on fill times. 
  • Build relationships with highly connected peers and gain access to a valuable network of potential candidates.
  • Increase employer brand recognition while networking to help attract high-quality candidates. 
  • Leverage your network to increase credibility and confidence in candidate recommendations. 

Listen: Why a strong professional network is worth its weight in gold.

Want to know how the most effective recruiters find candidates for even the toughest roles? They work their extensive network—not just of active job seekers, but also those “passive” talent who aren't looking for a job but would jump for the right opportunity. Plus, talent and clients they've worked with in the past, colleagues, business contacts, industry influencers, personal connections, and more. 

With all the recruiting and job search technologies out there these days, it might seem surprising that relationships still play such a big role in hiring. But research shows that up to 80% of jobs continue to be filled through a personal or professional connection.

Read on to find out why networking is such a successful strategy and how you can make the most of your own network as a hiring manager.

Reach “passive” talent

It's widely known that some of the best candidates, particularly those with in-demand skills or niche expertise, are often already employed. But that doesn't mean they wouldn't consider moving to a new role for the right opportunity. 

As an individual hiring manager, it can be incredibly difficult on your own to reach talent who are not actively searching for a job—otherwise known as “passive talent.” That's where your network comes in. 

Your connections may know just the person you are looking for and whether your open position is just what they are looking for. When the stars align in this way, that connection can help you reach people who would otherwise be off your radar (and vice versa).

Find candidates who fit

When you use your network to help you find candidates, you get an added level of credibility and confidence because of those recommendations. Because individuals in your network are typically people you trust and have a vested interest in your success, they're likely to recommend candidates they believe are well-suited to the role and who will reflect positively on them as well. 

Your contact may also have unique insights into the candidate's professional and interpersonal skills and may be able to share how their recommended candidate might align with your company's culture and values.

Cut down your fill times

Getting candidate recommendations allows you to shortcut the time-consuming process of searching for candidates and connecting with them to gauge their interest in your position. The information you can find out from your contact about the candidate can also help you tailor your interview process and go deeper on certain topics. 

Enhance your employer brand

Staying active in professional groups, attending industry events, and maintaining a personal online presence can help your company to remain relevant and visible within your industry. This visibility enables hiring managers to reach a larger pool of high-quality candidates who are interested in working with you. 

Candidates are more likely to be attracted to a company that is visible, reputable, and offers a positive work culture. By increasing employer brand recognition and awareness, you'll establish your company as a leading employer in the industry and gain a competitive edge over other organizations.

Make the most of your own network

Building relationships with highly connected peers in your field can be a game-changer when it comes to expanding your network. These individuals have already done the hard work of building an expansive network and often have access to a wealth of valuable connections. 

By nurturing relationships with these peers, you can benefit from their connections while also offering them something of value in return. Try being proactive, engaged, and supportive to build these trusted relationships. They just might offer you introductions to other influential networkers in your industry.

Another way to widen your circle is to think about the people you come across in your everyday life. The new person you meet at a party, the old friend from college, or the friendly face you see every day at your kids' school drop-off could all be great connections who introduce you to an amazing new candidate.

And don't forget that a strong agency recruiter is a great addition to your professional network. It's their job to be highly connected and to constantly build relationships with talent. Recruiters talk to many, many talented people who might not be the right match for one job opportunity but would be the perfect fit for another role—including yours. 

Use your network to find rock stars

Hiring is hard, and it's all the more difficult when you're looking for an in-demand skill set or highly niche expertise. Sometimes it might feel easier to just follow your normal process—create a job description, post the job, and cross your fingers that qualified applicants will magically land in your inbox. But if you have a strong professional and personal network, you'd be surprised how many times your network can come through for you with rock-star recommendations. If you want to hire great talent, take your cue from the best recruiters, and nurture your network. You'll be glad you did.


Want to grow your network instantly? Aquent's new Connector Network is made up of experienced industry leaders with extensive connections in their fields. Working together, we're able to provide even more access to specialized talent for your critical roles.

Image of Rohshann Pilla
Rohshann Pilla

With over a decade of experience in the staffing industry, Rohshann has a finger on the pulse of emerging talent-market trends—advising clients on optimal strategies to attract and onboard skilled creative, marketing, and digital talent. She's passionate about building and leading recruiting teams with a lean delivery model and developing innovative talent delivery solutions for our Fortune 100 clients that help propel their business forward. When not researching the latest talent market trend, she's trying to keep up with her two kids and enjoying the great outdoors in Portland, Oregon.  


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