What to ask in networking call?

I recently applied to an analyst position at a national real estate broker, and someone I know thinks they can connect me with the head of the team for a phone call. What type of questions should I ask them? How should I approach this call in general?

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Comments (9)

Jun 23, 2020 - 3:15pm

one question I always end with that leaves the caller thinking is: "what's one piece of advice you could give me going forward that changed the way you think?". it usually takes then a second to realize their path, and it gives you the ability to fully let that knowledge sink in

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Jun 23, 2020 - 3:20pm

Something similar was asked a few weeks ago, I found my comment, I think it largely applies to your question as well (see below)....

Okay, good job on the cold emailing! Shocked how few people do this (as a note, I almost always say yes to request when I get via email/linkedin if I can quickly see it's not spam). A few points to consider....

Get this "non-target" stuff out of your vocabulary, why this matters is beyond me. The target/non-target stuff is talked about 1000x more WSO than most firm's hiring (I wrote a post on this a while back, call a pet peeve). Do not act like you are 'less than' anyone, you got your foot in the door, that's all that matters.

I would classify this as an 'informational interview', not a 'first-round' interview or anything else part of a recruiting process. It is as much about them marketing the firm as it is you trying to market yourself. In fact, I really wouldn't even try and ask about jobs/positions, etc. They know you are looking for jobs, you do not need to make it focus of the call. That said, if they have positions open on the website, you can ask about those. You can also ask about how they recruit for FT and interns, let them guide that discussion.

Use this as a 'get to know you' opportunity, but really, focus on them. You said it is with the CEO, so I'm guessing this person likes to mentor students, let them do their thing. Listen and take notes. Have questions about the firm, industry, and career paths. I'd personally avoid the resume selling points on your side, GPA/major/school, this person probably won't care. They want to help, let them help you as they best do.

Establish some means of future follow-up or communications. Not sure the best context, but you need to just sense that out. Send a thank you/follow up shortly thereafter. Then do any thing you said you would do. Hint, if they recommend you go read something, look at something, join a group, or whatever, do it (if you think its worth it). Then you can 'report back' on what you found, etc.

I would strongly avoid asking for 'referrals' or 'can you introduce me to people' on this first call. If you can go back and forth with this person by email, then you can can drop hints like that later. Seriously, LESS is MORE... they know you want a job/career in the industry. They were once in your shoes, you really do not need to sell this.

Back to the follow-up, if you ask about major issues/trends in their firm/industry (and you should), take notes. If you find an article/report/news that relates, share it with them. It's a small token, but people respect it. The key is to be genuine, do it from true mutual interest, not to suck up.

Consistency and persistence counts, keep emailing, and maybe ask for another call in a few months. Give personal updates, like how your senior year is going, interviews you have, etc. People enjoy mentoring, let them know it is helping.

Good luck, and keep emailing like you are, people will say yes. In fact, re-email those that never respond. That second email may cause a twinge of guilt and really has the much higher chance of getting a response (this is personally true for me). What's the worst, they ignore it?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jun 23, 2020 - 8:05pm

Ask them two super generic questions and then end the call by saying "well uhh I don't really have any more questions for you"

Someone has actually done this to me

Jokes aside, just get to know their "story". Where they're from, why they're in xyz city, why they're at xyz firm, what their opinion is on how a specific market or product type is going to perform thru Covid (helps if you've been doing your own research), ask them what they've been doing to stay busy while stuck at home, just have a conversation.

I could go on. Do a handful of these and you'll see it's not a huge deal. Just relax and treat the guy like a regular person

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Feb 4, 2021 - 3:31pm

I usually send a thank you note afterwards and anytime something important happens I reach back out and tell them, ask about what they're up too, etc. it's actually super easy if the first phone call goes well. I had one where I asked for 15 min of the guys time and we ended up talking for almost two hours. He recommended me some books to read. When I finished them I reached out, told him I got an internship and what not we ended up talking again for an hour and a half. Probably go up to meet him and some others during spring break or something.

Feb 4, 2021 - 4:00pm

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