Maximising Personal Networks

Expert AdviceThis tip is inspired by an email I received last week.

As we are already aware, the market place is experiencing a significant change. There has been an increase in cautiousness all around us, including in clients and their decisions to definitely recruit. It becomes even more important that we work both harder and smarter to ensure our success. Trust is paramount currently so any opportunities to use existing relationships to lever new business are to be seized with both hands! This is part of what I recommended at the conference – make the most out of your current relationships! Family, friends, colleagues, ex-university or school mates, perhaps even current customers? (Now there’s a thought).

The story behind this tip goes something like this, with names changed to protect the guilty. For conciseness I have condensed the conversations.

Regional Perm Recruiter, Midlands: “Hello candidate, what’s your current situation?”

Candidate: “Hello recruiter, I have just accepted a job as a web performance analyst paying £28.5k so I am off the market.”

Regional Perm Recruiter, Midlands: Congratulations! (whilst rolls eyes at missing the opportunity to place such a good applicant). Which company are you joining? (eyes light up again at the prospect of discovering a potential new client with a tinge of nervousness in case it is a current client of his).

Candidate: Company X, a firm based in the North West.

Regional Perm Recruiter, Birmingham: (Phew! Not one of my clients then). Well done again; When do you start? Who did you resign to? (Like any good permanent recruiter he doesn’t end the call before getting all the backfill details – so let’s leave him here….)

After the call Regional Perm Recruiter looks on his database and finds the company in the Manchester area and passes the information through to the Manager for Permanent Recruitment for that region. A quick email reveals the following:

Regional Perm Recruiter, North West: “My brother works for that company! I can do a bit of digging and find out what’s going on there!”

The above story is one that I am sure has been played out a thousand times before. Chasing a company down to find out how they recruited, right after the event. I am also sure that it has been played out a hundred times before that a consultant chases down a client contact in a business where a family member/friend also works. This will happen much more often without us knowing, rather than us finding out. (Finding out stings much more than not knowing.) Not knowing is ignorance. Both hit us in the pocket because we could have made the placement. If this consultant had truly been using their personal network better they may well have known about this already.

How do I use my personal network intelligently then Recruitment Dad?

Speak to people you know, about what you do. Tell them how good you are. Ask them to either introduce you to someone where they work who you would be interested in talking to. OR get them to find out what they are currently recruiting for at work and give you the right contact details. Do this regularly. DO NOT expect even your closest family members to remember this after one conversation! It is also worth noting that you should consistently be helping those in your network out too. Find out what they may need help with – a recommendation here and there will make the whole relationship work so much more smoothly!

In my first week working for my most recent employer I emailed everyone in my personal network to tell them who I work for, what I do there, what the company does, how good the company is and most importantly the type of things they could tell me about that would help me – such as jobs in the right sector! Low and behold three days later I was given an exclusive perm job for a senior web developer! Why? Because they trusted me, recognised the mutual benefit in passing me that info and knew I would make sure it was delivered upon. (Need I also point out that I am not a billing consultant, yet this is so ingrained for me that it is part of my natural behaviour). This job is hard, yet there are those who seem to want to make it even more difficult! Recognise the fact that those you are close too will become your greatest evangelists if you tell them to be. They do not themselves have to be “the client” to introduce you to new business opportunities. This is the easiest form of business development yet, in business to business sales, can often be overlooked.

Get networking – you’ll surprise yourself!

Related Articles:

Selling Better – How to Develop More New Business

The Power of Relationships

Prospecting for Business – Winning New Customers

and don’t forget:

Recruitment Dad Reveals His Identity

Recruitment Jobs and Careers

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3 Responses

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  1. I’ve seen many recruiters who keep their jobs a secret from friends and family, or at least rarely publicise it. To the ordinary earthling, the work of recruiters is a mystery, and it can take more than a couple of sentences to explain (especially if they say !Oh, can you get me a job?”).
    Recruiters often therefore play it down, and don’t invite personal friends and family into their business network. I think there’s also the feeling that they’ll come off like some insurance or pyramid scheme salesman, who is encouraged to bleed their personal networks dry.
    On the contrary, a recruiter who really believes in the value of what they do, has no problem explaining to anyone, and actively engages everyone they meet as a potential candidate, client, or industry informant. Just as police officers cultivate informants, it is vital for recruiters to have contacts in every company in their chosen sector.
    I’m always amazed whenever I meet a shy or reticent recruiter, but the current reliance upon technology has meant that direct contact with real people is becoming scarce. Lets face it, we talk for a living, and need to keep practising every day.

    Stephen O'Donnell 24 May 2010 at 12:50 pm Permalink
  2. People forget that the first thing they need to do is tell everyone that they are looking for work. This is the first step in networking. They don’t realize that they have a network that starts with them and spreads through their friends and through their friends…and so on and so forth. Jobseekers need to tell people they are looking for work and tell them to tell others. Facebook (or some other social networking sites such as Linkedin) should be used to put the word out.

    Carl 12 August 2010 at 4:51 pm Permalink


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