Recruiting via Networking: Some Rules

1. Backtrack: Ask yourself who would know the person you need. Network with that person. A few names are all you need to get started.

2. Target 3 names from each person.

3. Don't ask for people who are looking: You want former coworkers, bosses or subordinates the person thought were great.

4. Ask for other referrers - people who might know someone in addition to people who would be candidates themselves.

5. Do a mini-reference check. Find out why the referrer considers the person highly qualified.

6. Share info. The more you tell a person about the company and role the more comfortable she will be in helping you. (Of course, with all the info in hand, someone might try to make an end run around you which can be fatal if you are working on a contingency basis).

Note: I am not a master of the referral. Targeting 3 names per referral call is a very exciting idea for a headhunter but the people who speak to me are unlikely to give even one.

Here's my problem. Let's say I call Joe Blow and make it very clear that I want to know who he knows who does this work. Not who he knows who is looking.

He says that he doesn't know anyone. It can't be true because everyone knows good people in his own field. Do I tell him that straight out? Or, perhaps active listening would would be good: "You mean you don't know any Product Managers?"

But, is it a good idea to do battle with strangers you call out of the blue - for a favour? Perhaps that's what separates real sales and business-people from the amateurs. They are always willing to initiate contact, ask for what they want and argue their case.

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