Inviting or Recruiting?

Businesses have recruiters, whose job is to find the right person for the right position. BNI has had a tradition of inviting new members, without qualifying them in advance. If all BNI members develop the mindset of recruiters, there’s a good chance that everyone will get more and better referrals.

In simple terms, recruiting can be defined as searching for new members, while inviting is requesting someone’s presence. Businesses use recruiters, either in-house or outsourced. They don’t have people called inviters. So recruiting is part of business culture. It’s about finding the right person for the right role.

Visitors do bring business into the room, and there’s certainly a case for inviting visitors who would by unlikely to want to join BNI or to become good members of a chapter. That is one category of visitor. However, there is a second category and that is ‘visitors whom the chapter would like to recruit as members’.

In the words of Dr Ivan Misner, “Right person, right role. You want to find people who are a good fit in the organization. I think all too often, the only kind of test we give people is the mirror test. We stick it under their nose and it fogs up we take them. I think you have to be really selective. Selective for the right reasons, not based on color, religion, sex, but based on a quality business professional”.

So, how can we make the transition to think about recruiting when inviting visitors? It’s not about filling vacant categories with people who are willing to pay the annual subscription.

A chapter has to look for good quality members, who will really get the whole culture of givers gain. If you get the right member, they are going to help grow the team and will be a quality member for the whole team. It’s about strengthening the team with new members.

It’s a good idea to introduce the idea of Givers Gain during the conversation when you invite a visitor. If a business person likes the whole idea of givers gain, they are more likely to be in tune with the culture of BNI and more likely to appreciate the power of the contribution section of the meeting when they visit.

A second key point is to educate chapter members on the definition and principles of recruitment. When recruiting new staff, a business will specify the attributes of the person they’re looking for. It’s important for BNI chapters to do the same.

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