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Martinis And Mingling: The New Interview Scene

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It's time to head to a bar, grab a drink and look for a – job. Forget the usual stuffy job fairs or having to fax a resume to a potential employer, these days a person can hit the bar scene and the job market all at the same time.

According to experts, cocktail parties and other social events are now all the rage in the recruiting world. A job hunter can get the most out of these events if it's done right.

Denise Duke just loved the idea.

"What better than to shake hands over a beer than a resume," said Duke.

She attended a social mixer where candidates flew in from around the country to talk with head hunters and prospective employers.

"It allows people to mix and mingle and network and get to know each other on a much better level than at a job fair," said event organizer Rich Maloy.

Dan Ryan of the Society of Human Resource Management said this kind of social recruiting is a growing trend around the country, especially among start-up tech firms looking for younger talent.

"It's almost like speed dating," said Ryan. "And by doing that, both groups get a better idea of what the other one is like before they actually get down to business."

Tim Falls of SendGrid looked to fill more than 40 open positions at his tech start-up and liked seeing potential employees in that element.

"They're not as stuffy and they're not as nervous, they might not even know they're talking to someone who might be a potential employer," said Falls.

Maloy said that culture is one of the most important parts in the hiring environments today.

"Especially in small and start-up companies, you have to make sure that people are going to fit within your culture," said Maloy.

However, job hunters should be careful. These events can run the risk of being too much fun, leading to unprofessional behavior that could cost someone a potential job warned Ryan.

"It's just like the office Christmas party where you always hear the stories about people who get out of control," said Ryan. "You want to be somebody who stands out to the employer but you don't want to stand out in the wrong way."

So how can a person stand out at a social event?

Ryan recommends that they research the attending companies ahead of time. Also, be prepared to hand out business cards, keep alcohol consumption to a minimum and be engaging - even if they're shy.

"Go to an event and just kind of wander around and see what other people are doing," said Ryan.

Duke said that she uses the social setting for doing just that.

"I'm connecting with as many people as I can, shaking hands, figuring out what their business model is and how I can help them," said Duke.

She also managed to get a follow up interview out of the meet up she attended.

Job recruiting isn't limited to face-to-face events either. Experts pointed out that social media also plays a role in social recruiting.

Not only are employers using larger, planned events, but some companies and individuals sponsor "Tweet-ups," which are spontaneous networking get-togethers promoted on Twitter and other social media sites.


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