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What it’s like to go to an Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixer

(BUSINESS) It can be intimidating to go to an Austin Digital Jobs recruiting mixer due to the size, but listen, everyone’s slightly nervous – here’s what it’s like to actually go to one.

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The following letter is written for those of you who have never been to an Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixer…

You’ll arrive around 4:45 and realize that it’s a Monday, so finding parking is easier than you thought. Your heart is beating slightly, because new places are scary, no matter how confident you are.

You see the bar up ahead. You see an unassuming line of people at the door, and there’s a succulent at the front table. That’s nice. The doorman checks your ID (and you’re secretly flattered, but act slightly annoyed)..

Then you get signed in

There are seven people in line ahead of you, so you look around and well, you don’t know a single person (but you don’t realize that most other people don’t know anyone either). You hold your folder filled with resumes to your chest and wait your turn. You start to peek into the venue to see which employers are there, just waiting to meet you.

At the registration table, you’re greeted by a friendly face, and asked whether you’re job hunting or looking for talent, and given the appropriate badge. Your handwriting sucks, but you write in big bold letters what you’re looking for, and you notice that employers’ stickers are vertical and job hunters’ stickers are horizontal. You’re told the neon name tags are worn by partners who are most eager to hire. Bingo!

You make a mental note so your eyeballs focus only on the vertical or neon stickers in the crowd, spelling out in equally bad handwriting what they are looking for.

You’re handed a list of which types of jobs each employer is looking to fill, you circle the ones you want to visit (make a plan, trust us on this one), and you are excited to job hunt after you order a lil’ a drink** (so you can stay focused!) – that feels pretty Austin-y. And look, recruiters are sippin’ too, that’s cool.

There’s even a photographer there offering you free, high quality headshots, so you remind yourself to circle back to in between employers.

You start moving about the cabin

You start making the rounds, and the first hand you shake is a younger recruiter who is looking for someone like you, only he says they need a specific skill and you don’t quite have it, so you hand him your resume, and you part ways politely.

You see a line of people on the rooftop, are they waiting for a table? You ask someone what’s going on and they tell you it’s free career and resume coaching and you can have 15 minutes with an expert. Bingo! You wait a few minutes and a table opens up, you learn that your resume is outdated and ineffective and quickly walk away with some tips to improve that and affirmation that your career is moving in the right direction.

Time is of the essence because you only have two and a half hours, and you’re pressuring yourself to make the rounds, but tell yourself to remain calm.

After two or three more handshakes, you make it over to three employer booths in a row, and you hit it off with two recruiters and line up two interviews for later in the week.

You go grab another drink to celebrate, and meet a few more folks along the way. Before you know it, you’re out of printed resumes, have several phone interviews lined up, an in-person interview, and things are looking up.

You nailed it!

It’s almost over, so you start heading out and you thank the registration table (always be networking), and head out to your car.

You start ‘er up, and drive home with some pep in your step because YOU, my friend, have just made it a successful first Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixer.

You tell everyone on Facebook about it when you get home, you nail the job interview, you become the Prince of Zamunda*, you get the job, and you tell everyone how awesome ADJ is, because BOOM, it worked.

*Obtaining the Prince of Zamunda title not guaranteed. For everyone.
**Drink responsibly, friends.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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ADJ

ADJ Recruiting Mixer headshots are here!

The December ADJ Recruiting Mixer was wild (in a good way), and your headshots are now available – use them as your profile pic anywhere!

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After hand selecting your most flattering shot and lovingly editing every single one, photographer Erik Binggeser has released all of your stunning headshots from the last ADJ Recruiting Mixer.

He has very generously offered you all full license to your image so you can use your headshot online as your profile picture anywhere, so please do (you look great)!

I legitimately have no clue how he made us look good standing against a sterile, boring wall, but he DID. That’s what I call talent. Or magic. Or sorcery. I’m not going to ask, though.

And if you didn’t get a chance to tip while you were at the event (we know, it started sprinkling, many of us ran away), it’s not too late – click here!

Click any image to enlarge:

Didn’t get an email alert about your pics being ready? You might not be on ADJ’s weekly email newsletter list, but subscribing is free and easy, amigos!

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RSVP to the next ADJ Recruiting Mixer – see what’s next

If you’re curious about the offline events offered by ADJ, let’s talk about what’s coming up next!

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The ADJ Recruiting Mixer goes down every quarter – the next event is in early December and we are currently finalizing which vetted employers we will be partnering with for the event (email us if you’re an employer interested in details).

And it’s going to be a big one. The date is December 4th and it’s in North Austin (per your infinite number of requests)!

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS & DETAILS

If you’ve never been to an ADJ Recruiting Mixer, here’s an outline of what to expect.

We invite you to join us – if you subscribe to our emailer, you’ll be the first to hear details (like date and time)!

PS: In the meantime, we also offer a free tech networking event you should come to!

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ADJ

Why Austin Digital Jobs started and where we are today

Austin Digital Jobs started as a tiny love letter to Austin and has become synonymous with opportunities in Austin tech, blossoming to over 40K members.

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When Twitter launched at SXSW in 2006, it was an instant hit, and everyone with a nerd pulse hopped on board. That turned out to be around 20 people in Austin, and we all got to know each other pretty well, eventually gathering for a BBQ in 2008 (which grew into our monthly networking event, BASHH). It was the dawn of the social media era and those of us in tech became the shepherds that ushered in a cultural shift – we were all asked to speak at conferences, we were tapped for guidance and consulting, we became the first nodes in a growing network.

By 2011, my husband and I were personally asked on a daily basis who we knew that was job hunting, and who was hiring. Daily.

Simultaneously, several of our friends (who were senior level tech folks) were moving out of Austin for cities like Boston and NYC. Most people are more apt to complain about it than take action, but we knew we had to do something. We searched for a community to send people to, but none existed.

Thus, the Austin Digital Jobs Facebook Group was born on February 11, 2011 and initially was comprised of a handful of our tech friends, which quickly bloomed to a few dozen, and within a month, several hundred.

We launched the group as a gathering place, but immediately learned that several trends made the group so critical – (1) adoption of HR tools that were designed to improve the process but really turned into another black hole for resumes, (2) endless job posting sites that offered subpar jobs and subpar candidates, (3) there was literally no community in existence that catered to both job seekers and employers.

Because of these three trends, creating a safe place for all parties to connect was important, and throw in the fact that you have to use a personal Facebook account when engaging in groups, and genuine connections that were once a rarity became the norm in our little corner of the internet.

In 2013, members begged for us to start offering offline events, but it was a huge ask because ADJ at the time was still a passion project that we did at our own expense on the side as a love letter to the city of Austin.

It was also a challenge because sterile job fairs already exist, so we had to put a lot of research, and put a lot of thought into how we could put together something meaningful, sizable, approachable, and casual enough to match the culture we all created together in the group.

We opted to host our first event in 2014 in a bar. A handful of employers came out to our pilot event – they were active ADJ members, and each sent one to two recruiters out to mingle, and later wished they had sent more – the room was packed, and the atmosphere was so enthusiastic. Enthusiastic yet calm. It’s hard to explain, but it was oh so Austin tech.

For the next year, we tweaked the event, and quickly needed larger and larger venues, ultimately ending up in one of the largest in the city. Today, the event requires multiple venues. We’ve added professional headshots. We’ve tossed in free resume reviews and career coaching sessions. And we still limit the number of employers so that it never feels like a job fair in a high school gym.

Quarterly Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixers have become a well-oiled machine attracting the highest quality employers in Austin.

The Facebook Group has also become a well-oiled machine, and like the events, it never feels overly polished (although trust me, it takes constant care to make this massive ship stay afloat), it never feels too corporate, and remains approachable and snarky, just as is the tradition in Austin tech.

We always have a post pinned in the “Announcements” section where employers can find high quality talent introducing themselves, we have a featured member every month, roundups of candidates in a specific role, roundups of helpful links, a weekly emailer that has quickly become a popular resource, video pep talks, anonymous questions that the community pours helpful opinions into, and more. All of this programmatic activity, and it still feels like the break room at work.

And that’s the secret sauce, the reason that over half of our members are employed – they hang around long after they’ve gotten a job. “Boaties” as they are nicknamed (long story) are loyal and eager to remain involved. The secret sauce is that we’ve always allowed our members to drive the culture, and we give them all of the credit for growing to be so big so quickly!

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