A meet-and-greet is an informal meeting that allows job candidates or employees to meet key people in a casual environment. Meet-and-greets can be integrated into the hiring process to allow candidates to meet their potential colleagues and engage in more natural conversation than a formal interview provides. Integrating an office walk into the meet-and-greet is also useful for demonstrating the business environment to a job candidate.  Meet-and-greets have become a common feature of the onboarding process. Onboarding meet-and-greets are great for giving new employees face time with colleagues and partners from the outset. Beyond onboarding, some companies encourage employees at all levels to accept meet-and-greet requests from other employees to build relationships. For instance, the Head of Marketing might take a meet-and-greet with a public relations employee who wants to learn more about the company’s overall marketing strategy.

Meet-And-Greet Benefits

A meet-and-greet with a job candidate gives a clearer picture of the role they are considering and lets their potential colleagues become comfortable with them before they start. The informal setting encourages candidates to be more genuine and spend less time crafting the answers they think you want to hear. The employees who would work with the job candidate also benefit by feeling they have a say in who joins the team. Meet-and-greets during onboarding help new employees put a face to the names they are likely to encounter in their work. It also helps to kickstart relationship-building in a more natural way. There is no pressure to stick to work goals at these meetings, so new and existing employees can bond over shared interests. Meet-and-greets between longstanding employees can also provide benefits. Employees can express interest in promotional opportunities and learn more about new areas of the company. Executives can build their reputation for being approachable and learn from the questions and new ideas employees share. 

How To Prepare for a Meet-And-Greet with a Job Candidate

A meet-and-greet should not replace the interview process but can be prepared as an effective supplement. Keep these tips in mind to prepare a meet-and-greet with real value.

Consider the timing

Meet-and-greets with job candidates often involve coordinating multiple schedules. For this reason, consider limiting a meet-and-greet to job candidates who have already completed formal interviews and appear to be a likely hire. In spite of best efforts, it is also very difficult to create an informal environment when first meeting a job candidate. Saving the meet-and-greet for later in the hiring process will boost your chances that the job candidate brings their true selves to the meeting.

Select participants

Meet-and-greets provide the greatest benefit to both the hiring manager and the job candidate when they involve employees the candidate is likely to work with directly if hired. If the job candidate is being considered for a role on a team, selecting participants from the team is best. This will help the job candidate to understand the personalities they would be working with. It also helps team members get a sense for whether they will be comfortable with the job candidate as a colleague. 

Set expectations

Meet-and-greets should be informal. To make the job candidate comfortable ensure you spell out what they will be doing and who they will be meeting in advance. For instance, you may wish to tell them if the meeting will include a walking tour or if it will occur over lunch. It’s also helpful to tell the job candidate exactly who they’ll be meeting and provide participating employees with the job candidate’s resume. This will help the job candidate feel more comfortable and make it more likely that genuine conversations can take place.

Put your best foot forward

As you are likely saving meet-and-greets for candidates that you feel quite serious about, make sure that you put in some effort to show off the things you’re proud of at your company. This might include a walking tour to introduce them to break rooms or other amenities. It can also include lunch or a coffee to further encourage an informal environment.  At a minimum, don’t leave candidates guessing about where to go if this is their first in-person visit. Make sure they have clear instructions on where to arrive, where they can park, and how to access the building and find you on arrival. 

Follow up

Even if the job candidate is not having their meet-and-greet with the hiring manager, make sure that they leave knowing what the next steps will be in the process. This can be as simple as reminding one of the participants to share this information or having the recruiter make a quick follow-up call after the meet-and-greet.

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Meet-And-Greet Best Practices for New or Current Employees

Informal meet-and-greets should not require a formal practice to set up. You can help set expectations by encouraging the following behavior. 

Be considerate

Whether requesting a meet-and-greet or receiving a request for a meet-and-greet, remember to be considerate to your fellow employees. A little bit of kindness goes a long way here. No employee should feel that they need to jump through hoops to make a meet-and-greet happen, but remember that these meetings can go a long way toward building a solid relationship. Be responsive to any requests and be polite when making a request.

Set reasonable time constraints

A meet-and-greet between current employees should not generally be a long event. It is perfectly acceptable to have a short meeting between current employees that only lasts 15 to 20 minutes. Regardless of how long the meet-and-greet is planned to last, it is important to be fully present during the meeting. Similarly, don’t attempt to drag out a meet-and-greet beyond the agreed amount of time. Topics requiring further discussion should be held for a later occasion. 

Follow up

After a meet-and-greet, it’s a good idea to follow up and thank the person you met with if you requested the meet-and-greet. If anything comes up during the meet-and-greet that requires you to take action, make sure you follow up with the person you met with after taking that action to share what was done.  

Ways HR Can Encourage Meet-And-Greets

Meet-and-greets provide an important opportunity to have genuine conversation in situations that might otherwise become formal and stilted. This is particularly true in the hiring process, but can also be valuable for new and current employees. HR can help encourage meet-and-greets by suggesting them as part of the standard hiring and onboarding processes. HR can also publish employee communications encouraging meet-and-greet requests and make themselves available when requests come their way. 

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