Recruiting: Volunteerism Is a Triple Win for Your Investment

Posted by Kathleen Smith

We’ve talked a lot about volunteering in the community and its benefits to developing skills for candidates, but what does this do for recruitment—specifically, recruiters who participate? Community volunteering offers opportunities for building a pipeline, understanding your key market, leveraging your employer brand, and an added bonus of your own professional development.

We’ve all heard that there are shortages of good technical talent, but when you look at any information security, cyber security, or tech conference you see hundreds, if not thousands of candidates. Conferences are where the tech talent network with their peers, find out the next big thing, or brush up on technical skills through courses or competitions. If you’re not part of this “con” culture, you don’t fully understand the culture of the talent that you’re trying to recruit.

By participating at a conference either through sponsorship or volunteering, you will quickly learn some key elements needed for your recruiting strategy. What is the lingo? Are you a n00b (aka a newbie)? We all have lingo that we use and it’s helpful to better understand the key phrases and terminology used within the talent community you are recruiting from. There is no Wikipedia for this—well there is, but it’s not verified. The best way to really understand the lingo is to work alongside other volunteers and learn from them.

We talk about employer branding and many think that this involves deploying integrated marketing and/or referral programs. This is one way, but another in the tech community is having your co-workers present at conferences. First, you might want to find out who goes to conferences from your company, which ones they go to, and if they present. Work within your company structure to find out the best way to support your colleagues who are presenting. You can also investigate personally presenting at some of these conferences, as more conferences are looking for recruiting and career search presentations, as long as they’re not sales or recruiting pitches.

Finally the coup de gras – your own professional development. There are very few opportunities within the talent acquisition workplace to grow your professional skills. Yes, there are certification programs and conferences for learning best practices, but what about your own management, communication, and organizational skills? Placing yourself in a new environment challenges you to hone your skills and learn new ones.

Consider these key points from our volunteering survey:

  • The majority of volunteers at 41.6% volunteer the day of an event, helping with speakers and logistics. It’s difficult to put in the time day in and day out beyond work and family activities, so many volunteers commit to volunteering just the ‘day of’. These volunteers provide a much-needed burst of energy and enthusiasm to volunteers who have been working all year long to make an event or program happen.

If you can’t volunteer other than the “day of”, there are many skills that you can develop including speaker liaison, registration, security, and network operations. Even with “day of” volunteering you can still develop skills and progress in your volunteer development. Research the opportunities and jump in where you are most comfortable.

  • The most reported skills that respondents say they take away from volunteering include teamwork, organizing, planning, and communication skills. Without specific tasks, it’s difficult to build key nontechnical skills. While most professionals are looking to build their technical skills, there is also an abundance of nontechnical skills that will benefit your professional and personal life.
  • While slightly over 50% find volunteering stressful, a whopping 98% say they find volunteering fulfilling. As we all deal with stress in our lives, volunteering provides both stress and fulfillment. The camaraderie, the enthusiasm, and the feeling of an accomplishment help make volunteering fulfilling. Many times, we don’t find this fulfillment in our work and it’s a nice break to find this satisfaction elsewhere.

Having a variety of opportunities to interact and learn new duties provides numerous skill-building moments. Everyone wants to make a difference and volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet that goal. Volunteer opportunities in the community are not reserved for cyber security professionals alone, as recruiters stand to reap the benefits too. Immerse yourself to shape a better understanding of the community you recruit from, build a talent pipeline, be in the right place to meet the right people for future referrals, and much more—the opportunities await.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 2:46 pm

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