This is the 2nd part of the Xing Guide series. Last time I spoke about how you can be found by and find recruiters on Xing and make sure you enjoy a good service while working with a recruiter. If you missed it, you can read the others here:
- Xing Guide 1/3 Recruiters – How to find and be found by recruiters
- Xing Guide 2/3 Events – How to meet potential hiring managers
- Xing Guide 3/3 Connect – How to search for and contact the right people
This part is all about groups and events. It is a very powerful section within Xing because so many events are happening locally.
I’m not a big fan of the groups itself on Xing as they are very static and to me they don’t deliver much value in the state they are right now. However if you are part of these groups, you will receive event invitations that you usually would not. Depending on what groups you join, you get invited to events according to the group’s topic. Most of those events are happening in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
If you understand the power of meeting people in person, you will also understand how powerful this section is. I have met many hiring managers, business owners and other very smart and ambitious people through these events. Most of the events are very affordable in terms of fees.
Search for Events
Besides the Groups you also have the Events tab. Here you can search for events and join them if they appeal to you. I also want to talk about lunch meetings and about creating an event.
Setting up lunch meetings is a fantastic way of getting to know people. If you plan on setting up a lunch meeting, I suggest you inform them first about your intentions. Set it up as something like an expertise lunch, industry lunch or similar.
If you plan on doing a lunch event, message the contacts first and ask them about their opinion on it. Once you have enough people who participate, send them a doodle scheduling request with several dates and times so they can choose. Once you have a fixed date that works for everyone, set up the lunch meeting on Xing.
You can do the same with just 1 person. Just inform them that you would like to get to know them and invite them for lunch at your costs.
I personally believe it is easier to set up a lunch meeting with 4-6 people because then you have more people to meet and also more value to provide through all the different connections that are happening.
When you set up bigger lunches, make sure you select the people carefully as you want to provide as much value to everyone as possible.
There are some huge benefits in creating and hosting your own events if you do it right.
1. You are the host and therefore already important enough that people will seek you out at the event
2. You bring together the people YOU want there instead of a random group
3. You have the freedom to choose the topic to be whatever you want it to be
If you create an event, there is no need for you to be a speaker of any sort if you don’t want to. You can host a pure socializing event, an event with somebody you know as a speaker or any other type.
Who to invite
Very much depending on your background, location, expertise or industry, you will invite different people. Here are some examples:
You: Java Developer
Invitees: Other Java Developers, Application Managers, Team leaders and Heads of Software Development, Project Managers, Recruiters that are specialized in Software or even Java Development
Invitees: Other Controllers, Accountants, Finance Managers, Recruiters that are specialized in Finance or even Controlling
You: Account Manager
Invitees: Other Account Managers, Sales Executives, Sales Managers and Directors, Head of Sales Departments, Recruiters that are specialized in Sales and other people from your industry
This could be a restaurant with a bigger room, a conference facility, a university, a company or whatever fits best. Most of the venues are not expensive at all. Many times restaurants will give you a room for free if you tell them that 20-30 people will be at the event, consuming drinks and some food. If you do the event during the week, restaurants will many times be pleased to give you a room for free.
Also a great place to host the event is at a company where your audience matches the potential customer profile of this company. Many times the venue will be free if you bring along enough potential customers.
In Bern/Switzerland there is a fantastic event happening a couple of times a year in Software Engineering. Check Guild42 here. I know the person who organizes these events personally and he is doing a great job. They had some amazing speakers and as far as I know, the organizer never spent anything from his own pocket. Attend one of these events if you have the chance!
If you have to pay for the venue or something else, set up a small fee for the event to cover your expenses.
How to invite them
If some people already are in your network, start with them. If you reach out to people who you have not met before or don’t know very well, I suggest you build it up as follows:
1. Send an initial message to get their opinion on such an event and if they would be interested in joining.
2. If they agree, let them know a little later, once you fixed the date and time of the event, that it is happening and that you would love to introduce them to some other people in your network. They can directly rsvp on Xing for your event. Many times people are not attending events because they don’t like to go there all alone and fear that they will be standing in a corner the whole evening. If you introduce them, you take away that fear.
3. Make sure you remind them that the event is happening 1-2 days before the actual date.
Also along the way, you will get in contact with other people you would like to meet, when you contact them and message back and forth. Why not inviting them for the event as well?
At the event
When the event is happening, make sure you are there early and prepared. This means you have studied people’s Xing and LinkedIn profiles and know who is who. When people arrive, introduce them to each other and establish connections. Hand out your business card and thank them for coming.
If you are the host of the event and potential hiring managers, peers and recruiters see what you are capable of doing in terms of leadership, you will get recognized. Because organizing such an event is pure leadership.
Official regional events
For almost every region there are events on Xing. You can find official Xing events in Zurich, Basel, Bern and I believe in many other cities in Switzerland and of course throughout Germany and Austria. These are great places to meet people in general. The events here are not tied to any specific topic or industry other than the location. I have attended a few of these events and depending on who is attending they can be fantastic or mediocre but I have almost always left the event with having met some great people.