We all want to get to in front of the hiring manager, both in reputation (or brand) and in person. Although getting there can be a long march, it’s even longer without a roadmap!
Here’s another one from the “Chronicle of My Job Search Mistakes”: By not thinking about their level of relationship to the hiring manager, I was not asking my contacts for the right help.
I was networking, but not interviewing, so there had to be something missing. When a networking contact failed to show up a meeting, I sketched out a roadmap to the hiring manager (thanks for the napkin Caribou Coffee!).
Based upon a contact’s level of relationship to the hiring manager, I determined to ask them for help in one of three areas: Connect, Learn or Influence.
Connect: People who have limited information about the company or hiring managers, but can make introductions to others who are inside the firm, understand the firm, or have a relationship with individuals who can influence the hiring manager.
Learn: People who have a good working knowledge of the business who could teach me about the culture, business model, view of the department where I want to work, and hiring practices. These insiders can also can make connections to individuals who can influence with the hiring manager.
Influence: People who are close to the hiring manager and can carry the message of how I can serve the company to the hiring manager.
Ranking of contacts:
I considered two factors. The first was knowledge of the company. The second was their strength of relationship to hiring manager.
A company insider who does not know the hiring manager, is great to learn from but has little direct influence. The same goes for service providers who work in the hiring manager area or former employees of the firm.
An outsider who is a good friend with the hiring manager will not have a strong working knowledge of the company, which limits their ability to match you against the current needs of the firm. This is why they behind the hiring manager’s peer, in terms of influence. My highest ranking goes to the person who manages the hiring manager.
Learn versus Influence:
Do you need both? Yes. Meet with “Learn” contacts first, so you can determine if the company/role is a proper fit and then get ideas on how to fine tune your pitch.
Where to start:
Ask for any type of connection, but the priority of contacting them would be learning before influencing.
Again, the roadmap to the hiring manager will be unique, but you will still connect, learn and influence – if you understand where each networking contact fits, you are more likely to get a better result.
Good luck today.