You Networked. Now What?
Connections, networking events, cold emails, and InMails. You’ve pulled all the stops to score one phone call or coffee chat with a person at your dream company in hopes that they’ll refer you. Congrats! You jumped the first hurdle and the call is on the calendar. Now you might be thinking – how do I do this?!
We’ve got you covered. Here are some tips to ace your upcoming intro call:
#1: Do your research
It’s important that you spend some time researching the company prior to the conversation. In addition to browsing their site, take advantage of other resources like blogs and social media that will give you a well-rounded understanding of what the company culture is like or what the job you’re interested in truly entails. Most company blogs offer useful clues about the work environment and the personalities of current employees. Social media channels can provide information about the latest happenings at the firm, links to relevant press releases, news clips, or event details for upcoming recruiting events you may want to attend. This intro call is a great time to ask questions that can help you decide whether or not the opportunity makes sense for your career. By demonstrating that you have thoroughly looked into the company and what they do, the person will know that you’re driven, interested, and not wasting their time.
#2: Know what you’re looking for
If someone agreed to chat with you, it means something on your profile or outreach message piqued their interest. It could be your past internship experience, athletic involvement, or leadership role in student organizations. Whatever it may be, it’s now your shining opportunity to market yourself. Most initial conversations last for about fifteen minutes so it’s critical that you secure their full attention right off the bat. You must show, early on, that you’re a strong fit.
So, how do you do this? Combined with doing research, you should think about what aspects of the company interests you, how the role fits within your long-term goals, and how your skills can add value to the team. By exhibiting strong a strong sense of direction, ambition, personality, and confidence, it shows that you are motivated to make the best of any given opportunity and that you have given your career path some serious thought.
#3: Ask more questions
As much as it’s a platform for you to strut your stuff, it’s an opportunity for your contact to practice interviewing, mentorship, and pitching themselves and their company. Asking thoughtful and relevant questions will better you for future conversations and conversely, will make them feel valued and helpful. Show the person on the other end that the chat isn’t just a “check the box” exercise.
#4: Take initiative
If the role sounds like an opportunity you’d like to explore further, express your interest, and take the initiative to ask about the application process so that you’re fully prepared from the get-go. Mention what specifically intrigued you about the role and/or the company. Following up with a thoughtful note adds a professional touch to round out the conversation and also reminds them to follow through with the referral (should they agree to vouch for you).
Remember, even if it may seem intimidating at first, intro calls are not meant to be grounds for interrogation. The goal is for your potential colleague to get to know you better and evaluate whether or not there you’re a fit for the company and for the role! Everyone wants to find the best people to join their team just as much as you want to find the right company to work for so approach this conversation as a mini-exploratory interview that can get you to that first official round.
Jessica Ong joined AlphaSights in July of 2015 and serves as an Associate on the New York Recruiting Team.