Not all pink slips come from Victoria's Secret
It may sound like a "misery loves company" festival, but these parties are not really designed for commiseration. For the most part, they are a casual venue for recruiting or networking. The Los Angeles Crescent Hotel is the "birthplace" of pink slip parties. There, job seekers are given name tags in one color and recruiters wear different colors. Since everyone knows why you are there, there's no hidden agenda or awkwardness about motives. They had the first one in February with about 100 people in attendance. By March, the number was doubled. The Los Angeles Times reports that at the most recent pink slip party, the line to get in is around the block by 6 pm.
Edwin Duterte has founded a company that specializes in these gatherings, called Pink Slip Mixers. The purpose, he says, is for job seekers to network with each other, give tips on making a good impression, or spicing up a resume. Pink Slip Mixers use a large projection screen to display job needs and job leads.
"My biggest priority is to get more community interaction," Duterte told reporters.
One recruiter regularly shows up at pink slip parties to collect resumes. Wendy Tuttle, Director of Management Placements at DD Factor told reporters that each time she goes to a pink slip party, she has fewer and fewer jobs to fill, but she tries to focus on the positive.
"My view is, let's try and be as hopeful as we can. As word gets out, the candidate pool is going to become more interesting and diverse. It's not like a job fair, where someone is bumped along from recruiter to recruiter. It's not about resumes at all. It's about a connection."
Jobs seekers and those looking to hire are encouraged to mingle. BCS Staffing sends recruiters who mine pink slip parties for candidates, says President Beryl Smith.
"We need to come out and support events like this," she says. "It's about everyone doing their part."
Most of the time, the venues are donated as everyone is pulling together to make it better. Liquor businesses donate the drinks and the parties sell them for reduced costs, so basically there is no profit involved.
Some firms that are looking to hire view this time of high unemployment as a chance to cherry pick talent. Stacy Lentz of Taylor Grey, recruitment consultants, told reporters, "This is an opportunity to get A-list players in the market on your team." She attends pink slip parties organized by Rachel Pine of Fastbook and sponsored by TheLadders, a job search Web site. According to Grey, the place is packed, shoulder to shoulder, resume to resume, business card to business card.
Adding another dimension to the events, some pink slip parties take donations and give the proceeds to charities, like the monthly parties held in New York that ask for $20 to get in, and then donate the money to the Ronald McDonald House. That way, those who show up are not only serious enough to lay down cash to get in, but they can satisfy their charitable inclinations at the same time. That's a great way to find the silver lining in a pink slip.