Finding the way from a networking conversation to an actual job can be anything but a straight line. Knowing how to guide conversations depends on your expectations.
Andrew and Scott share ideas that will up-level your networking success.
Don’t miss these Topics:
- The outcomes you should expect from a networking conversation.
- Mindset for network conversations.
Resources (including affiliate links)
Raw and Unedited Transcript
00:00:02 – 00:05:14
job seekers radio. I’m Andrew and I’m Scott. This production is meant to provide meaningful support to fight great careers faster whether oh you are working or not. Today’s episode is brought to you by the anatomy of the networking conversation is an e book a free resource. We’ve put together for you so downloaded at job. Seekers radio DOT COM in today’s show. We’re talking about. How do I know that networking will actually lead to a job? You don’t think about it there. There are different ways of getting a job no matter who you are. What kind of job you’re looking for? There’s always a mix. The point we like to make is that networking is more likely to help you than not a majority of people at least in our observation get jobs through networking. If if we’re thinking and I’m GonNa make up the numbers here if we’re thinking maybe eighty percent get their jobs through networking and twenty percent. Don’t well it’s possible. Then you may be in the twenty percent. Who hasn’t yet that doesn’t mean? Networking is not a valuable experience for you. That can actually help. Support your job search in some fashion so we want to talk today about the different things that could help you in networking that will actually help your job seeking speaking. If you’re coming to this podcast. It’s likely because you realize that Scott Ni- consistently evangelized networking what we’re not saying is that applications. I don’t exist or don’t work or don’t matter what we recognize. That many people come to this podcast because they want to hear the networking side of the story to know okay it. How does this actually work? And how do I know it’s working. That’s really the foundation of our podcast is to talk about those things. Li probably still have to do applications nations. Even if you’re doing the networking yes. They’re still a process involved to be hired. And just because you’re networking doesn’t mean that that process goes away You’re briefly it’d be lengthened. You don’t control the Baraza exactly. We had a conversation with someone recently. WHO had said? But I’ve never gotten a job through networking before and and while I have no reason to think that’s incorrect. That doesn’t have to be completely true. To the extent that networking will help you. Who at every step of the process? Even when you got an interviews simply through a blind application the networking the discussions with other people about job seeking about what’s going on in your industry. Whatever all of these things will help you in your job search regardless us of how you landed the interview Mike Question for that individual? How does he really know that the networking didn’t help them get at Jane? How does he know that somebody he knows wasn’t a mutual connection? Sure and somebody called that person and gave him an endorsement or especially in the now. We’ve got linked. I can pull somebody up on Lincoln and see who my mutual connections are assuming there are some and then I will have already talked to that person. Listen hate you know so. And so well right there that’s part of networking so something is working there and to your point. I think there’s value do in questioning not so much whether or not it’s working for me but em I open do i. Are My eyes open to how networking is affecting me Because sometimes we think that our own processes are adequate. There’s a statistic that we often in it’s true across the board regardless of WHO’s actually doing doing the research it somewhere between seventy and eighty five percent of jobs are filled through networking recognize that. Hey you know there’s certain professions wins. They’re probably a little more amenable to networking than others. Yes as well as positionally. The the higher the positions the more networking actually really benefits And so that may be another perspective that may be. The individual has worked his way up into leadership positions within a single company company and so the the visibility to that kind of networking has been different. I think about my brother I have an older brother who has received offers. are at least requests to apply through networking just because of the nature of his work and he’s very visible within his expertise and so oh that happens for him sort of by chance but is it really by chance. And that’s kind of the point that I make with others that this is a process that really goes beyond beyond just our job seeking that comes back to your statement about keeping your eyes open and your ears open because you may be so focused on the applications that you don’t recognize that there’s people around you that are actually working on your behalf. You just don’t see it too exactly so that’s great observation. One thing we always encouraged people to do is be realistic about the conversations that you’re having and what you want that to lead to may not be where that conversation goes sure and and one specific example I can think of is a gentleman.
00:05:14 – 00:10:01
I met this week. I didn’t have any expectation of where that would go and we had a a good conversation. We’re going back and forth and you know he goes. What can I do for you? I love that question because it’s something like even though I called the meeting. He was really good and open about saying. How can I help you? And that’s when I had an opportunity then to know that I was in rapport because I felt comfortable. He feel comfortable and I just laid it out on the line what I was looking for but that was not my expectation when it happens be prepared that somebody is going to go to that place already well and I also so think about that. Even if I have a specific desire for a networking conversation I want to get something specific out of it and that may just be finding finding a name or two for people that I should be talking to be on one of the things that I do. Feel strongly about is not pushing that agenda allowing the networking conversation to go where it will organically because you never know what you might uncover that way. I think that in terms of the glass art that they do as a hobby. Some of my best work has actually started with a mistake. And so if if you take that point of view that a networking conversation may lead me down on a path I hadn’t planned on. It might actually be better than if I’d gotten what I planned on. Be Realistic about the outcome. Outcome could just be a great conversation could pay. And that’s it. The outcome could be an introduction to another person. The next step might be just an endorsement. Right just somebody saying Hey Endorse you for these skills. Or I’m gonNA write you a recommendation on Lincoln or whatever but it doesn’t always go directly to a job offer so going into a networking interaction and expecting that to go right to a job offer or an invite for interview even though that could be an outcome and here we get into whether or not. That’s realistic frankly. I don’t think it is I. I come back to the idea that and I know I’ve mentioned this before in prior podcast that trust that is developed over time in other words more than one conversation. That’s that’s generally when people will either come up with the idea or feel comfortable saying I would like to give you or or give you the information about this opportunity. Opportunity and trust is going to be built based on how many times you have shown up coming back to the thought of going to the gym when you go early in the morning the way I do people. People don’t generally talk early in the morning. They’re all waking up there in the gym because they want to actually get the benefits of the gym more than the social aspect. That’s not always true but most of the time and people don’t start saying good morning to you until they’ve seen you there over and over again and you have in a certain way. Become come a part of their regular life if only just being seen but they’re much more likely to open up when they’ve seen you more than once if you’re just having the conversation listen to to get to know people better and maybe to talk about whatever it is in your industry or your your specific line of work. Whatever that is you’re having having these conversations the deeper concepts come up after? They’ve made those connections several times in those conversations. It’s likely you’ll have an the opportunity to at minimum plant. Some kind of a see that could be harvested later one of the things. I encourage all of my coaching clients to do is always have a branding statement or a way to present yourself. That people can remember and often. We rely too heavily on our job title. which doesn’t always communicate value? We actually actually encourage you to put something better together that is over and above what you would call title at company. His always gonNA translate. Well I can’t say enough about the idea of personal branding. That will look different for everyone. And I think that’s actually the advantage. The ideas it’s more than just your job title. It’s more than just the work you’ve done in the past. It really should be speaking to your potential and the direction you want to move not uncommon. That you’ll also walk into these networking situations and people. I don’t know how to handle it. They don’t they don’t do networking either or they don’t fight. I had several conversations with clients this week because we set them up for success. Success by giving them best practice and a checklist and things to follow so that they get consistent results in their networking when they run across. Somebody who doesn’t doesn’t live to that same standard. They get a little irritated. Well that it also will put you off your own process because hey I’ve got a step-by-step here how come you’re not following can’t and you can throw yourself off that way so being resilient in those moments can be really a benefit and that’s not to say that we shouldn’t be following processes processes actually.
00:10:01 – 00:15:04
There’s always a process. It may look a little different for the various companies. You’re going for if you’re applying assuming you’re applying to more than one company. They’ll have if some differences in the process being aware of what the processes are finding out more about. It will actually benefit you. And we’ve talked about this a lot in the anatomy of networking working conversation. But it’s always good to let people know why you’re there in that conversation like yes. I’m looking for work but I don’t expect you to find me Ajab. Yes I’m working on a project. This is what it looks like. I’m just seeking advice right. Having a purpose for that meeting will actually allow that person to carry those seeds for you effectively as we talk about have a project you’re working on. We highly recommended something that relates to the work that you want to continue doing doing or the work you want to start doing because again. We’re talking about planting seeds for your potential for the future that you are envisioning and the better. You can speak week to that with a personal branding statement as well as talking about the projects. You’re working on. It gives people a more holistic view of what you might be doing doing or might be able to do and they will think of that in the future. I think about a Gal who still to this day will contact me saying hey I found a job. Would you be interested even even though we haven’t talked about my job seeking in quite a while she’s still thinks of me that way because you had planted that seed exactly so many years ago go still bearing fruit exact day and and she’s a delightful person. We’ve we actually have gone back and forth on this. When I see jobs that she would be the interested in? She’s actually not looking for fulltime work. She wants pertain temporary. So when those positions come up and specifically in the Financial World Yuck I think of her first I. Let’s not overlook the level of relationship. You have with this person. Meaning the Kremlin. Crammer against the apex of networking would be eh networking with hiring managers. Now working at that level is different. Than if you’re add a frontline level. The objective might be different so if I’m networking with hiring managers is a higher probability. That’s GonNa lead to something like an interview or an application or a job creation process. If I’m networking with somebody frontline or here here. They may not be in the position to hire but they certainly can put their thumb on the scale and say you should look at this person. Yes so the outcome from that conversation isn’t job. Its thumb on scale and the strength of that relationship and we talked about trust is going to be really important. The networking allows allows you over time to build that trust so that when they do put their thumb on the scale at matter. You actually bring up another point under that I think is also worthy of some discussion. And that is do I go to the networking events only with higher level positions attending or. Do I attend things whether it’s a job seekers group group of some kind or any of the other job fairs where most of the people that I’d be talking to our entry level. You’re actually touching on that. I think both are important but for different reasons. I don’t recommend that anyone pick only those events where the hiring managers are networking amongst themselves. I think thank you need to balance both out because to your point there have been times in my career where maybe I wasn’t the person that they they would choose and that it might have been. Maybe that wasn’t a company I wanted but I could still give them a referral to others that I knew who could do similar work. The fact that I’m networking with with the frontline employees actually benefited them as well. What we’re at advocating here is? Yes you can go to group events and there’s value to that I’m more talking about the one on one one conversation with people that I know people I’ve been introduced to or an individual. I reached out to directly on Lincoln and we get into a conversation. And and where does it go from there so not that there isn’t value. I look at events more like a top of funnel activity where you’re taking the group event to an individual level exactly in and then filtering filtering people and you’re on that page. Yeah it’s it’s more about the conversations you’re having don’t look at the source of those conversations as specifically an issue try try to get a balance of the different kinds of positions of the people that you’re you’re working for because both of them can help if you do enough of these network meetings what you’ll find and is that there is some consistency to them and you’ll get into a rhythm and then you’ll be more aware when the conversation actually changes inches and there’s a shift in that conversation from cordial you know back and forth banter two. Oh do you have skills doing this or something like that. They start asking you what I would perceive or at least qualify as interview questions from a sales perspective. Those buying cues in other words that someone is asking you questions that actually have some depth to them because they’re interested in knowing more.
00:15:04 – 00:20:02
There’s there’s an agenda growing there. It may never actually grow into a full agenda that I am going to help you get your next job. There’s interest there that we we want to respond to so as that conversations starts to change and and those interview questions are coming. I generally try to ask very similar questions for two reasons. First of all I can get more information about that person about that person’s percents company and all that also you’re showing curiosity and the other person that is another step of building. Trust the more information you gather the more you know what they’re looking for in even if they are up here they may know of an opportunity coming or a need in the organization that they helped craft that job statement. They just haven’t posted it yet. So there’s always a reason that the conversation shifts to that interview question just be aware of it be aware of it and take note of of it. If you’re like me I forget very quickly I forget the little things the details very very quickly. I- that’s been true of me for as long as I can remember it’s always encouraging urging to read the stories that say oh that means you’re particularly intelligent setting that telling yourself out. No I read. This is in an article that I read not too long ago and so of course I grabbed onto it really point to right. No my point is that because I forget things quickly I have to write them down as assumes I can if you’re like me make time to write down your notes obviously you’re not going to be taking notes in every conversation you have before you forget them. Write them down because if you go back to that person sometime later and follow up with questions about what you talked about. That sends a very very powerful message to that person that you thought enough of them that you remember what they were saying and if you WANNA be remembered do that it also reminds me Scott of the conversation you had where you applied for the job. It wasn’t a fit. Somebody else got it. They were better qualified. But you kept in touch and another job. Oh came open and then when you went to that interview. And truthfully I consider every networking interaction an interview. This happened to be an actual interview. But they were doing some a future. Yes in future cat writing during the interview it was for a position that was not yet budgeted budgeted for the following year. When I that kind of stuff happens all the time right so if I had not had the country I actually applied for a position? That was an administrative assistant position for which I was terribly. overqualified could do the work absolutely and I. I would love if if there are any employers listening to us right now. I would encourage you to stop. Judging whether or not someone there’s overqualified for a position with the fear that they’re going to move on or move up for Heaven’s sakes hire them so they can move up at your company. There is great value in bringing people in who are overqualified and I’m using air quotes over qualified for a position but setting that aside I had applied for this position and his response this to me was you are overqualified. Why would you want this position and my response was and I had done my homework about the company I want in your company and and I will do what it takes to get in your company and move up in there is value there? I would much rather hire someone who is going to feel good about my company and maybe even replace me to allow me to move up. There’s value in that in the interview. That’s a position creation discussion not uncommon. That you’ll come into an interaction with the hiring manager who hasn’t yet had anything posted and they start talking to you and they come to this realization. You have what I need to solve this problem. I didn’t realize I had the networking is really almost like a consultation. If you think about it I think that’s the best way to describe it. Yeah so if you start saying okay I have this set of skills that I do things things in this kind of way and I have this brand and I’d like to learn more about what you’re doing in this area they’re like wow. I never thought about having anything like that. The last full time position and I was hired into. That is exactly what happened as we think about this. And you realize you do have skills and knowledge and training and all these things things that could be helpful. If you’re talking about that in the sense of a brand you’re putting yourself out there in a different way from the person who is just trying to interview for a single position position you’re actually showing them all of the value or at least a bigger chunk of the value that you’re bringing to the table that allows them to sort of relax into into what could be for the future as they are creating that position. If you show one curiosity for the company itself also that that sense of adventure of going along that adventure with them. You’re going to go on the journey with them. Now they’re having a completely different perspective of you and your candidacy.
00:20:02 – 00:25:11
This is really effective. especially if you have a solid network within an industry so I was actually coaching a candidate here not too long ago ago. who had some subject matter expertise in a specific category? Let’s just call it. That and they reached out to their members of their network and he was really apprehensive about Out even networking. He didn’t WanNa do it but he did it anyway. And he reached out to this person that he had established credibility with and they said Oh. Well we’re opening a site. We haven’t decided minded on a location yet. And he went into full court. Press to have that site open here in Portland versus somewhere else. Because he had done this before with that that hiring manager who didn’t know he was on the market. Instead of spending his time interviewing for a job that was already posted he went through the process of creating establishing and building doing a business case with this hiring manager who hadn’t offered him anything by the way right. He did all this in advance and by the time they got it approved. Oh well who we gonNA hire to do. This is fantastic. And so they just bring him right fast tracked him right into the process. Here’s another idea that when you’re doing your networking not because you’re looking for job because you might have something to offer other people that you already know. That situation can come up. And it wouldn’t have had he not been doing that when now we’re getting that’s a really good case for we’re continuing your networking while you’re in your work while you’re entering job that was almost accidental right. But you’re in the right place at the right time right. And in this case he he knew how to solve a very specific problem that they were having and that was establishing a new site for a call center and he thought he pitched this area is the best area to put it. That’s fantastic. Yeah so what I took away from. That is if you can position yourself as a solution to a very specific problem that you enjoy solving then people will say that. Oh how I have that problem too and then the conversation is much easier when you start thinking about okay. What about the interview? What about an application? You know so then I go through the mechanics of a process process knowing that. I’m not the compliance candidate. If you know what I mean it also puts you in a different mind it. You’re much more confident going through that process because you’ve gotten there in a different from way talk about self-confidence we talk all the time with people who’ve been out of work for a while and self confidence is the first casualty in long-term unemployment and long-term is in quotes as well because it’s different for everybody that is going to completely change how things go during the process part. It could also be that just by you doing that conversation. You just happen to be in the right place at the right time exactly where someone has had a situation. Let’s just call it. The situation in that could be somebody quit something more. They retired retired got fired promoted transferred medical leave whatever that looks like and they need someone stab like like yesterday but you showed up today. ’cause it just happened today. Yeah if you don’t show up that won’t happen for you right. You gotta show up you gotTa be in out there networking networking and showing up so that they will think of you. You’ll be in the right place at the right time. But if you don’t leave your home and your only putting out online applications it won’t happen for you. So this is how we know networking is actually working is if you do enough of it you’re actually going to be in the right place at the right time or one of these things happens. You’re immediately kind of fast. Tracked into the process agree. Because I’m now having a interview conversation screening interview with a hiring person and I think about out experience that I’ve had where I was talking with a colleague about the topic at hand in training. I was conducting styles preference training where we were discussing. How you can read other people’s styles and all this and the manager of this group offhandedly commented Oh you should apply for this open position in her division and It’s like oh well you know I don’t have any experience in your division and I just sort of laughed it out but she followed up with me later to say no. You really need to apply for this position position. That was a really interesting conversation. Any of wasn’t even talking about my interest in moving into a different position. It was only because we were having thing one on one interaction. If you’re out there and having these conversations you’re much more likely to run into those opportunities because you happen to be there. Granted there are some people who are just more introverted. nisus going to be a much greater effort for them. I acknowledge that but I would also challenge you. If you’re one of those don’t let it keep you from getting out there networking figure out a way where that’s bring somebody with you as a support mechanism or whatever you gotta be out there. I’m an introvert. So Oh I I have to work at doing this stuff. It’s exhausting for me so if you WANNA tear the in recovering introvert reach out to beef. Save our emails and contact. Information are all over the odd cast. But but I’d like to ask you a question about that situation. You just described. How would you rate or at least evaluate the strength? Your your relationship with that person that recommended you contact a second contact or It was probably the third contact.
00:25:11 – 00:30:11
I actually know this individual through other training opportunities or we were acquainted but we weren’t close. It’s not like we had a daily conversation or work the the project but that was the start to finish got involved in working with her because of the training that I was providing but then she asked me to accompany her to some of her locations that she supervised to discuss how we keep that training that we had gone through a live with her direct reports and it was in one of those conversations those times we would go out in the field and and visit her locations that this conversation really began not only had. We established established a working relationship before that relationship got much deeper and much more trusting because of that conversation that happened and then when she became something of an internal advocate for me with her boss she put me in touch with her boss to explore the possibilities. It changed the way I approached the conversations because she was asking me to. I was far more confident in the conversation. Then if I had been feeling desperate about it so again what we talked to people who have been unemployed for a long period. We talked to them about their feelings of desperation. If networking builds your confidence why wouldn’t hugh oh I would. Yeah I do actually one of the only reasons I do it as an introvert is so that I know because I know it works and then when I do I feel better afterwards even though it takes a lot of energy right because now I feel like I have traction. I’ve had a conversation with a person and I feel human coming back back to the initial question of have you know the networking leads to a job. I guess my first idea here is have those realistic expectations of what networking working is doing. In this moment if I go into a networking conversation thinking that I’m I want my next interview to come from this conversation. I’m probably probably overshooting it. I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation. Instead if I go into that network can conversation to learn something about the other person or to learn something about a new perspective on the kind of work that I do. That’s going to be far more valuable because it’s more attainable. And when I attain that I’m going to feel oh good about it if I instead I walk into a networking conversation thinking I want my next interview to come from this and I don’t get it then. I’m going to start reinforcing the idea. Yeah that doesn’t work when in fact. I haven’t been realistic in the first place. Not An uncommon. Also kind of a corollary to this right place right time. Kind of thing is that you’ll get getting a great conversation to have a good back and forth with somebody and they’ll say I don’t do that but they do and that’s an opportunity for you to get referred into another portion portioned that organization because that’s who they work with and that’s who they would do that right and that’s a logical reason to actually be doing that at working as you run into people or you know. Maybe you compile lists of people I even think about this. That they’re just really strong refers though I have no problem referring to people so you have to get to know them before they’re going to think of you in those terms so you. You got to keep showing up in my mind when I go to networking interaction. I assume it’s an an interview because everything I’m doing is recognized and observed by the other person the other advantage of that assuming you do get an interview you’re going to be showing up the same person in the HR world. I I hear it all the time. It oh well. That person interviewed well as if they were a different person during the interview them. During the other conversations networking actually helps to present. You as you are so if you are approaching this as an interview I would say be authentic. Don’t think Oh this is so I’m going to be different from the minority will be you you be. You don’t don’t try and change your personality or or are your your motivations. Just be authentic but as you get in there you’re treating this like an interview. You’re being very comfortable and very authentic. Then when you you do progress to the interview you haven’t changed your showing them a consistent idea and they will continue to trust you and don’t get out over your skis as people say often. Yeah I get into these conversations and it’s like Oh this isn’t this isn’t good. This is not going anywhere and then it ends up going somewhere. Don’t evaluate or analyze or judge that conversation until after it’s over two great advice is oh come in with your mind right and focused on the conversation then contributing and planting the seeds and and then when you’re gone from that place then evaluate shower went. That’s also going to help you keep from looking like you have specific agenda for that conversation if it’s networking when you’re saying you’re curious about the person and yet you’re judging and as you go you’re actually setting yourself up for failure we’re trying to keep our mindset straight that if I come come into the mindset.
00:30:11 – 00:32:16
Hey I want job. This guy’s going to give me a job job job job. GotTa have my resume ready. While I can’t completely discount about that idea in certain specific situations that may be effective but in my work and my networking that generally puts people off more than it gets the job. So I really do. Think that if you go into a networking opportunity whether it’s in one on one conversation event or anything else go in with the idea that you’re going to have an enjoyable time you’re going to be open to the possibilities that show up for you in that moment. You’re not judging it as you go but you want to plant those seeds. You WanNa do the things that help people understand who you are and what you offer. You’re probably going to have a better time and as you evaluate it afterwards you will see the progress aggress over time. That’s how we answer the question. Do I know that job seeking will lead to a job. You’ll see how it ties together. which have to pay attention? That’s why we have created a free resource for you so that you can optimize your networking conversations for optimal value. What would that be? It’s called the anatomy the of networking conversation. Wow where can I find that. That’s on job. Seekers radio DOT COM along with the show notes at job seekers radio DOT COM forward slash zero six seven. We want to thank you for this time with us today. we we know it’s an investment of time and this episode has gone a little longer and we. We really appreciate the fact that you’re here with us and that you’re you’re on this journey with us we want to encourage you. If you haven’t already done so to go over to itunes and subscribed to get future episodes. You can also listen to some of our past episodes bench. Listen absolute download the mall. We like binging. It’s not that way though. Scott Wilson Oh this is Andrew and I’m Scott in the words of t s Eliot. What we call the beginning is often the end and end to make an end is to make beginning? The end is where we start from. Love that all right. Thanks everybody by.