Career Advice

Highlight, Connect, Question: Keys To Getting & Keeping The Conversation Going

You walk into a room and see a friend who announces “Hi! I would like to introduce you to Mike. Mike and I worked together and Acme Co.” And before you can reply Mike grabs your hand, shaking it furiously and saying with wide-eyed admiration “I have heard all about you!” You blush, insisting that you really aren’t that big a deal.

I imagine that is the best feeling the world. It’s like you are a celebrity. In all my travels I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t appreciate being treated with that sort of admiration and respect. Especially recruiters and hiring managers.

Last week I offered some simple advice for building a great relationship with a recruiter: ask their opinion. This week, the advice is even simpler: treat hiring managers and recruiters like celebrities.

It doesn’t take a lot. Just follow these simple steps:

Get Their Name – When a recruiter or hiring manager contacts you make sure that you get their full name. If they introduce themselves as “Betty” make sure that before the call ends that you say “Betty, I would like to write you a thank you for your time. Could I please have your full name and email address?”

Look Them Up – Start on a search engine, typing in the full name and the email address. Make sure you go to all the usual suspects as well: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter. Recruiters and many hiring managers establish a digital footprint so that they can find and connect with great talent. Their information is usually out there.

One Highlight – After you have gathered your information, determine one thing that you are genuinely impressed with or curious about in the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s background. Maybe it is where they worked before, or a project they accomplished, or some club or society that they belong to.

One Connection – Once you have a highlight determine a way that you can relate or connect to that experience. Perhaps you worked at the same company but at different times. Or maybe you have a family member that is participates in the same hobby they do.

One Question – Now figure out how to weave your highlights and connections together with one question. The question is to provide the greatest possible chance for the hiring manager / recruiter to write you back and keep the conversation going.

When people do this well it works like a charm. Here is an example that a recruiter I know recently received (names and details changed):

Joann –

Thank you so much for connecting with me this past week about the position at your company. I had no idea that you had worked at Applied Physics. My brother Bob worked there for years and said that he met some of the most passionate engineers he had ever run across. Did you know Ruth Nelson? She and I worked together at FunCo.

Please let me know if I can provide further information as you consider candidates for this position.