PHOENIX -- Forget stuffy job fairs or faxing your resume to a potential employer. As dangerous as it might sound, these days you can hit the bar scene and the job market all at the same time.
To the casual observer, it may appear Denise Duke is out having a few drinks with her friends, but she’s actually on the hunt for a job. "What better than to shake hands over a beer than a resume?" she asks.
Denise is taking part in a different kind of job fair, where candidates fly in from around the country to attend social events with prospective employers. It's a mixture of martinis, music and mingling.
Rich Maloy is the executive director of Boulder Start-Up Week. "It allows people to mix and mingle and network and get to know each other on a much better level than at a job fair."
Dan Ryan of the Society of Human Resource Management says this kind of "social recruiting" is a growing trend around the country. "It's almost like speed dating," he says."And by doing that, both groups get a better idea of what the other one is like before they actually get down to business."
Tim Falls is looking to fill more than 40 open positions at SendGrid, a tech start-up. He likes seeing potential employees in this element. "they're not as stuffy and they're not as nervous and it's, they might not even know they're talking to someone who might be a potential employer."
Maloy Adds, "Culture is such an important part of hiring environments today, especially in small and start-up companies, that you have to make sure that people are going to fit within your culture."
However, Dan Ryan warns that these events can run the risk of being too much fun, leading to unprofessional behavior that may cost you a potential job.
"It's just like the office Christmas party where you always hear the stories about people who get out of control," he says. "You want to be somebody who stands out to the employer but you don't want to stand out in the wrong way."
So how do you stand out? Dan recommends you research the attending companies ahead of time. Be prepared to hand out business cards. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum, and force yourself to engage, even if you're shy.
"Go to an event and just kind of wander around and see what other people are doing," he advises.
Denise is using this social setting for doing just that. "I'm very much connecting with as many people as I can, shaking hands, figuring out what their business model is and how I can help them," she says.