Speaker Summary: “Targeted Networking is the Best Way To Find The Best Job” by Scott Uhrig on June 22

June 16, 2015

in Interviewing, Job Search, Life Skills, Meeting Reports, Networking

Scott Uhrig of Whiterock Partners, an executive search firm focused on executive positions for high-tech companies will be speaking.

  • Most jobs are found through networking (80%)
  • The best jobs are found through networking (Networking results in the highest quality jobs, most satisfying jobs, jobs in which people stay the longest – Mark Granovetter)
  • Less competition than “applying” for posted jobs

How would your describe your current approach to your job search? If you were describing your job search to a good friend, what would you say?

What has been the hardest part of your job search?

Do you have a target list of companies? If so, how many companies are on your list?

Do you have a target list of people? If so, how many people are on your list?

If you manage to escape the seduction of the online job sites, you might discover that 80% of all people find jobs through networking (and it’s likely the percentage is higher for knowledge workers).

In the late 1960s, Mark Granovetter, a PhD student at Harvard, decided to try to figure out how people find jobs. His research confirmed what we already know – that most people find jobs through networking (Granovetter’s research and the research of others he cites put the percentage between 60% and 90%). Interestingly, not only did most people find jobs through networking, but networking led to the highest-quality jobs, the most satisfying jobs, and the jobs in which people stayed the longest.

Targeted networking 5 steps:

1.Research the company

Find out as much as you can about your target companies using online research first, followed by a couple of phone calls if possible.

Here are some guidelines for researching a company online.

Check out the company’s website. Familiarize yourself with the company’s products and/or services. What do they sell and to whom? Are there specific vertical markets? Read through the bios of the key executives and board members. Check out recent press releases. Sometimes there will be analyst reports you can download for free that show how the company is positioned vis-a-vis competitors. If there is an events page, see what recent events the company has attended. Go to the event website and see what other companies attended the event to get a sense of competitors and partners.

Search for relevant videos. Check out YouTube and Vimeo, and use a video search engine to see what’s out there. Google indexes different video sites than Bing, so check out both. It’s likely you’ll learn more from non-professional videos than from highly choreographed, professional type videos that you might find on the company’s website. I like to search for the company name as well as the names of a few key executives.

Try to get a sense of the size of the company. If the company is public, it’s easy. If the company is private, try Hoover’s or LinkedIn for an estimate of revenues and number of employees.

2.Understand where you fit

The primary reason why you’re doing all this research is to understand how you might be able to help your target companies as an employee. Ideally, you want to be able to walk into a meeting with a Hiring Manager and have an informed hypothesis as to the needs of the company and how you fit in. I can tell you unequivocally that every company, no matter how successful or popular, faces challenges recruiting the right people. When a Hiring Manager meets a candidate who has taken the time to research the company and developed a thoughtful point of view, that candidate distinguishes himself or herself from the myriad of other candidates.

3.Identify specific Influencers and Hiring Managers

Ultimately, you’ll need to connect with Hiring Managers to secure a job. The first step is identifying who those Hiring Managers might be. In smaller companies, you may be able to readily identify relevant Hiring Managers directly through research, while in larger companies you may have to network a bit to identify those people.

If you haven’t already done so, this would be a great time to build your LinkedIn network by adding people you know who are NOT already part of your LinkedIn network. I’m not suggesting you connect to people that you don’t know, but if you’re like me, you probably know a lot of people that you’re not connected to on LinkedIn. Select Add Connections in the upper right corner of the LinkedIn home page. If you use Outlook, Apple Mail, or another email application, you may be able to import your contacts automatically.

While your goal is to connect directly with Hiring Managers, in most cases your strategy will be to network your way towards the Hiring Manager by connecting with key influencers. Even if you already know the Hiring Manager well, I believe there are often advantages to NOT contacting him/her immediately, namely the information and intelligence you’ll gain from speaking to influencers first.

4.Network your way towards Influencers and Hiring Managers

There are three types of people with whom you’ll be networking: specific target company influencers that you identified in step 3, people that I like to refer to as “connectors”, and everyone else. Let’s consider each separately.

Specific target company influencers. Ideally, you’ll work your way “up the food chain” within your target companies before connecting directly with a Hiring Manager. You might start with non-employees, then peer level employees, then Hiring Managers. As I’ve mentioned, even if you have a direct contact with the Hiring Manager, you may want to talk to other people first, just to get updated. This is an important step that is often overlooked or ignored. It’s almost always a good idea to have a conversation or two with a peer-level non-Hiring Manager before meeting with a Hiring Manager. I never ceased to be amazed what people discover when they take this approach.

Connectors. Connectors are people who are NOT obvious influencers for your target company, but are generally well-connected within your industry or career of interest. They are people who have broad networks and enjoy connecting with and helping others. They almost always have over 500 connections on LinkedIn. Malcolm Gladwell wrote an interesting article on connectors back in 1999 called the Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg.

5.Track your progress

A company centric approach involves tracking your progress relative to a specific set of target companies using metrics such as:

hiring manager identified

key influencers identified

diligence completed

warm introduction to hiring manager

call with miring manager

meeting with hiring manager

6/29: LinkedIn Headshots!  Come professionally dressed and smiling ready for a headshot.
Guest speaker Monique Maley will speak on executive presence for succeeding in business.  A strong executive presence is all about confidence, authenticity and being able to clearly articulate your value.


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