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Why I attend User Groups?

Networking diagram

Sam Stocks User Group

Technology user groups used to be pizzas delivered to a conference centre followed by a talk and awkwardly wandering around looking for someone to speak to. Nowadays they are mainly online, sadly without the pizza but with far more accessibility to people far and wide. But are they worth attending? I believe so and here’s why:

You need to know what you’re talking about

Ok so I’m never going to be a developer, I can’t write code, I can’t look at a technical test and tell whether it’s good or bad, as recruiters we’re never going to be that technical. We do need to know what we’re talking about though! Back-end, Front-end, MVC frameworks, code versioning tools, MySQL, AWS, Docker, Kubernetes, GitLab, CI/CD … there are a million terms in technology. User groups are a great way to learn more about what developers do, what terms mean, what certain tools do, how you use them.

You can never have a network too large

Every contact can be useful in one way or another, we’re in the business of knowing people. Even if someone is in a technology stack I’ve never touched they will have a network of people. They might know that unicorn candidate your client is searching for. Building a network and relationships with people whether they are looking for a job or not is a huge part of what we do.

Building trust amongst people opens opportunities

Have you ever seen seagulls swarming when you throw some food at the beach? That’s like recruiters when a good developer put’s their CV on the job boards. It’s a chaotic market and no one wants to be hammered by 10, 15, 20 + agencies. I’m doing more and more work with exclusive candidates who have come to me first rather than upload their CV online. It’s a far nicer experience for candidates but to get someone to work with you exclusively you need their trust. Building trust amongst your network is crucial to success in the crazy market we’re in.

We want to stand out from the crowd

There are close to 40,000 recruitment agencies in the UK. That’s a crazy number! We are in one of the most crowded industries out there and just calling people and asking to work their jobs isn’t good enough anymore. You need to stand out from the crowd. Our USP at Spectrum IT is that we are deeply embedded into the local tech community. We help run and sponsor a huge array of local user groups and we have an excellent network in the area. We don’t want to be just another agency, we want to go above and beyond to be the best at what we do and this is just one of the ways we’re working towards that.

I enjoy the social aspect

User groups are in the evenings, they’re not in my working hours and I have no obligation to attend. Ultimately, I enjoy the social aspect of catching up with everyone each month and hearing about the new projects they are working on. It’s good to get to know other people in the industry and hear their points of view on things, sometimes it’s easy to be trapped into the bubble that you are in, especially in lockdown times!

User groups are a key part of how I build my network and how I do my job. I think they have a whole host of benefits for everyone in the industry from recruiters to junior devs to Senior management staff. If you’re not a part of one I recommend you check out the user groups available and give it a try - https://www.spectrumit.co.uk/about/user-group