I have spent over 7 years in IT recruitment & the last 6 months here, at Daemon Solutions, an IT consultancy, to look after their internal recruitment. In that time, I have seen a variety of methods used to attract and retain talented contractors and employees in the market. However, it has only been the last 12 months that the Meet Up culture has increased in popularity. I should add that the majority of my career has been based outside of London in the Reading/Bracknell area which tends to be behind the London trends.
Over the last 12 months I have spent a large proportion of my time working in Development and DevOps recruitment, and within the London talent pool where I’ve really noticed the Meet Up culture is booming! This made me think about why people valued it so much & what was the best way to get involved? I started asking my clients, colleagues & friends if they had attended meet ups & why? The main response was yes, and for a multitude of reasons….knowledge sharing and picking up new techniques, networking with peers, but also to find new jobs. One candidate described a Python developer meet up where the presenter asked for “a show of hands for contractors that would be looking for work soon?’, Half the room raised their hands. The presenter then asked, “Who hires contractors”? The other half of the room proceeded to raise their arms! So, in conclusion they are powerful events where you can learn new skills relevant to your craft and or even pick up a new job!
My recent involvement with a meetup was with one of our own clients. They have a fantastic Innovation Lab in London where we are their Development Partner and a key thing for Daemon is to try and add value outside of the day to day. A huge thing for this client is increasing awareness of what they are doing (they are creating a Development Platform with 40+ API’s that Developers can use in a pic’n’mix set up). Daemon suggested a Meet Up that we could help facilitate. The event happened last week and, although it took a fair amount of effort from both sides to get it up & running, the end result had around 40 attendees. There were four presenters, two of which included live coding demos (Very brave!), followed by prizes and a drone race.
However, the most powerful thing for me was the buzz after the talks had finished. The Developers were totally animated & enjoyed chatting with one another, giving feedback on the presentation and sharing ideas. The feedback on the talks was excellent. The presenters raised awareness of the client, whilst raising their own profile within that technical community. The exchanging of business cards and numbers was prevalent so job networking was taking a role too.
Looking at this with my talent management hat on, this is such an important way to engage with talented individuals in your technical space and geographical area. In my opinion, the people attending these meet ups are also very engaged with the subject matter. They are approachable and open to learning/sharing ideas, and these are exactly the types of individuals Daemon would want in our business. Of course, we want technical wizards, but people also need to be able to display strong soft skills to go with it.
Daemon Solutions recognises we now need to build upon our reputation that’s organically grown through our client networks to build a stronger brand. We hope to do this becoming more engaged with the technical communities we operate in (Cloud, Development, DevOps & Performance for example).
On that note, my colleague, Dan Stainsbury and I are going to be running, sponsoring and making sure Daemon take part in a number of Hackathons, Meet Ups and Events in 2018. We are already talking to clients and partners about these.
If you would be interested in speaking, attending or discussing any ideas you may or fancy the idea of doing a joint event, please get in touch with me or Dan via email on;