How do you really connect with people during networking calls?

itsnottough's picture
Rank: Baboon | 143

Have had very ineffective networking experience during the past few months that led to almost zero interview during recruiting season. I've got people telling me I have a good story and seem passionate about the industry but still no one was willing to push my resume. I feel that it might be because I didn't really connect with the people on the phone, only asking standard questions about the office, deal experience, etc. How do you guys connect with people during networking calls? How do you find anything in common with those people? How do you get to diverge from talking about career path to talking about interests, at a networking call that's supposed to be career-oriented? How do you get people to like you?

Thanks in advance. Having failed miserably at this year's recruiting, I really need some advice to tighten up my game.

About my background, I am an international female and a non native English speaker. I don't have a very strong accent as I've been trying very hard to fit in and I'm also in a sorority. Doesn't really help when you're networking with investment bankers tho who are mostly American guys and you barely have anything in common.

Comments (33)

Nov 12, 2015

Some possibilities:
-Weak/uninteresting resume
-Boring chat based on drivel

Nov 12, 2015

Thanks for the response. I was commented to have a strong resume by an analyst and I had multiple IB experiences in the past, although all of them were in boutique. How to you make a chat less boring? I can make interesting conversations in casual settings but don't know how to do it in networking calls when you can't just say things spontaneously

Nov 12, 2015

Focus on alumni first

Nov 12, 2015

Serious question: did you ask them to push your resume or did you simply expect them to out of the goodness of their heart?

Throwing out some massive generalities here so I apologize if it doesn't apply, but in my experience women in general shoot themselves in the foot by being so passive, and women of certain nationalities are even MORE passive than that.

Your problem doesn't sound like you failed because you didn't talk about hobbies or whatever - it sounds like you talked your way in but didn't close the deal.

Nov 12, 2015

I admit that may be my problem. Out of probably thirty calls I only asked one analyst if he could pass on my resume, he said yes but I was still not offered an interview. I usually ask people in the end "do you have any advice for recruitment" and sometimes people will offer to connect me with more people. However at the same time I doubt that I standout among other candidates and am still exploring ways to get more personal and memorable

Nov 12, 2015

Yeah, after you make that connection (and it can 100% be a connection on a business, not personal, level) you have to just go for it. Once they start complimenting you (you have a good story, you seem really knowledgeable, etc.) you ask them for a job or to introduce you to people who can give you one.

It doesn't have to be blunt or awkward either. "Do you know anyone still looking for interns?" is a good question because it allows the person to volunteer or to give you other people at other companies to talk to. "How would I best position myself for an internship in this field, for example, with your company?" also allows them to deflect a bit and give advice, step up and get you in the mix, or realize what you're saying and respond "well we aren't hiring anyone but X, Y, and Z" might be.

    • 3
Nov 12, 2015

If networking calls aren't your strong suit, then why not just do face-to-face networking lunches or informational interviews? It's definitely easier to build rapport in a more intimate setting.

I agree with CRE though, if your resume is strong and your story checks in, your resume should be passed on quite often.

To err is human. To forgive is divine.

  • Financial Rep in Consulting
Nov 12, 2015

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Nov 14, 2015

There are usually three reasons that you wouldn't connect with someone:
1) You're just genuinely different people and probably wouldn't want to work together
2) You're socially autistic like a large portion of ivy students now
3) You're socially normal but unable to communicate it due to language barriers
All that said, speaking on the phone is really awkward the first couple times. It takes a while to get comfortable/right, so if your English is fine and you're normal, hit the phones harder/more often.

Best Response
Nov 14, 2015

Reach out to people with similar backgrounds as they will be more willing to help
- Women bankers
- Sorority alumni (They don't have to have necessarily graduated from your university's chapter. If they're in the same organization, but from a different school that works as well), I've used this in the past
- University alumni (alumni working at any of the firms you are interested in, but also those who were in the same clubs or organizations as you when they were a student is also a good way to help)
- International students (international students who are currently analysts could give you really great advice on what got them through the door, how the overcame any challenges they may have faced, etc. Again, because they relate to you, they may be more wiling to help then the run of the mill analyst)

Hope this helps! Have you tried any of these?

    • 4
Nov 15, 2015

Have been focusing on calling university alumni these past few months, have emailed a few internationals but had very low response rate. The ones that got on the phone with me were not engaged in recruitment so they told me they weren't of any help. Haven't tapped the sorority network yet, will be using it these following months. Thanks for the advice

Nov 16, 2015

have you been following up with the alumni you've been in touch with? A small check in here and there makes all the difference. Ask them for advice. Ask them who the HR contact would be for the program. Usually they'll give me a name and also say I forwarded your resume.

Would wait months to tap the sorority network, send emails now! A lot of recruiting has already happened and a lot of slots have been filled for this upcoming summer. Everything was pushed up earlier this year.

    • 1
Nov 14, 2015

What about all the women's programs that are offered at BB's and some other banks? It seems like a lot of the women who make it into BB's did so via some female recruiting initiative.

As for the networking calls and emails, you need to upfront from the get-go about what you want. Bullshitting back and forth is cool and all, but at the end of the day it's all about you getting a job. Ask how you set yourself up for a first-round interview, etc.

And you need to stay on top of people. If you don't hear from a bank within a week, send an email and ask them what's up. If you don't take the initiative it's likely you'll be forgotten about and passed over. You don't necessarily need to follow up every day but at least once a week.

Nov 15, 2015

Agree with most of this, but it's a little late in the game for the diversity programs. Recruiting for those diversity programs (a tleast for the junior year program) is all wrapped up.

Nov 16, 2015

Re: making the switch from formal to informal, it could help to latch on to some underlying connection you have to the person (same school, interest, sport, etc.) That usually works for me

Nov 16, 2015

Over the phone -- very hard unless you sound like Frank Sinatra.

Nov 16, 2015

I mean, I am not the only one networking by phone, I suppose, there should be a way to get along with a person.
I tried speaking about school but it does not take long and converges to work any way

Nov 16, 2015

Have you tried telling her she's cute

Nov 16, 2015

Easiest if you grab a drink with that person (not always an option though)

Nov 16, 2015

Set the tone at the beginning of the conversation. One way is to ask how their day/week is going and then respond with a light-hearted comment or anecdote. Or when they ask about you, respond with a semi-informal answer.

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Nov 15, 2015

Agree with most of the comments here. I'm also an international and got my resume passed to most of the BB by non-alumni. I've done this all through networking calls, where I didn't ask "can you pass on my resume" type of questions. The point is if the person is interested in your experience/background/story, he/she will bring that up.

In terms of connection, start with alumni, then move to non-alum. Try to find people with similar background (target to target, non-target to non-target, same interest, nationality, study-abroad, same connection on LinkedIn). Also call as many people as you can. Someone is gonna help you eventually.

Nov 15, 2015

Thanks. What type of questions did you ask if they were not can you pass on my resume type of questions? The best thing that ever happened to me was analysts offering to introduce me to other people

Nov 15, 2015

What else can I do to stand out in the process...something along this line. Imply that you've done the best you can, see if the person can offer you something. Usually they will offer to connect with other people or pass on your resume

Nov 16, 2015

I think that given your stats, the interview will most likely gravitate in that direction anyways so I doubt you'll have to force it. Conversely, it can also go the other way and given your impressive stats, they will just grill you harder in your interviews. The former is more likely than the latter though.

Nov 16, 2015

At recruiting events, you always want to steer the conversation away from work. Whoever you're talking to spends the vast majority of his/her day dealing with the markets, and the last thing they want to talk about is more markets. Your goal at these things is to make a good impression, and they're more likely to be impressed by the fact that you're a pleasant dude than they are by your technical expertise. In interviews, you won't have to dictate the direction, so don't worry about that.

Nov 16, 2015

ah okay, I've been taking the wrong approach then... It seems that in every recruiting session, every student is only asking about the trader/salesperson's job and the markets rather than just having a normal conversation...

I'll definitely keep that in mind during the next recruiting session

Nov 16, 2015
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Nov 16, 2015