Is your CEO LinkedIn?

Namita Chhetri | January, 2013

The exchange of business cards and handshakes in seminars and conferences are quintessential to business strategies even before the time of Facebook and LinkedIn. Giving due respect to the latter two, the exchange of pleasantries and cards has values of its own. It’s just not acquaintances in paper, but a real interaction between people that often shapes the initial perception between one another. And unlike social networking sites, the tangible handshakes goes a long way in building relationships, confidence and trust among the acquaintances. It helps a firm in recruitment, saves human resource cost, and helps build networks of vendors and the process of outsourcing services.
However, building such vast network without the aid of social sites is difficult. Thus, often CEOs of companies build the lead generation through social sites and other portals (like recruitment portals) and convert it to relationship building exercise. The Facebook and Twitter allows professionals to exchange information and rub shoulders with their peers with meticulous networking planning. LinkedIn, which is created for the purpose of professional networking, is a major source of recruitment procedure. The swapping of information and recruitment requirements are often messaged through the site among people in the networks. It helps save costs for CEOs, which otherwise had to be spent on advertisements or fees of headhunting firms. Further, online forums and prolonged interaction with the probable recruits make way for better evaluation than just a couple of sittings of interviews. 
Layak Singh, CEO of Bangalore based IT and Marketing solution firm, Fullerene Solutions, has created a dating site called ‘DateIITians’ meant for IIT and other topnotch technical and management schools, to source talent for his ventures. Even though, the site is a profit center in itself, Singh’s vision is to build long term network of young talents that can bear value addition for his company. There are in total 445,000 CEOs and 962,000 Presidents in the crowded domain of LinkedIn, which is giving a hard run for money to the head hunters.
Networking is not just about recruitment but for securing customers too. Often, buildup of networks is made with objectives of looking forward and securing business. And that’s been a practice for a long time. Membership of some special purpose clubs, like Delhi Golf Club, Bombay Gym or Calcutta Club, blends social networking with professional break through. And it’s a hotbed for CEOs to clamor and charm their warts away. Even economic and financial bodies, like, FICCI and CII serves the same purpose.
It’s a unipolar world and collaterals of business are increasingly merged. Moreover, because of stiff competition there is escalating squeeze on margins. The answer to these scaling problems can be found through prudent networking. As the old adage goes – it’s not what you know, that is important, it’s about who you know – that shapes the business outcomes.