Why I Enjoy Networking with Candidates
Mod Note (Andy) - as the year comes to an end we're reposting the top discussions from 2015, this one ranks #41 and was originally posted 7/29/2015.
I thought I'd write a networking post from a different perspective. We often see advice on WSO from people who are undergrads or recent hires with advice on how to network into the industry (good fresh perspectives from people who have recently navigated "the system"). I wanted to give a bit of insight from a different perspective as someone on the other side who participates in looking for talent: This is why I enjoy networking and how I think about it.
"I want to find the next 'me'."
I've noticed everyone I've ever met who participates in recruiting is a bit biased in this regard. We like hiring people who resemble us. For me, I respond very well to people who are highly technical and comfortable with numbers. I have a tendency to geek out. I fully acknowledge there is much more to than this, but this is my soft spot. For others it's being a varsity athlete. Another favourite is school backgrounds (If I can be so bold as to say: you Americans love it when you see someone from the same school, especially non-targets).
My Advice: People are much more responsive if you have some kind of hook. If your initial contact is too "copy and paste" it risks fading into the background. The best cold callers I've seen are the ones who take a few extra minutes to customize the email by doing a quick LinkedIn creep to find a common thread.
"I want to be here."
The job is hard. The hours are long. I like networking with potential candidates because it always reminds me how lucky I am to be here. When I went to MBA school, I got to know a bunch of smart, hard working people who didn't get the chance to be here. They were brilliant, highly qualified, and wanted the job (and could probably easily do it). But it is a selective field and they just didn't get the opportunity for whatever reason (didn't click with an interviewer, had an off day etc.) I like networking because I like seeing smart, hard working, eager and ambitious people put their hand up and say: "I want to be here."
My Advice: Be positive, eager and do your homework in advance. Spend the time to have a good idea of what you are potentially getting into and make good use of people's time by asking thoughtful questions.
"I want you to be here."
I doesn't really matter what level you are in the IBD food chain (including / especially if you are on the outside wanting to get in). A simple rule to improve your chances of success: be the person who people want to work with. Be the person who people say: "I want to work with X, because (s)he's awesome and makes my life easier." Doesn't matter if you are a:
- Candidate ==> be sought after by a bank / team
- Junior Banker ==> be sought after by an Officer
- Officer ==> be sought after by an MD
- MD ==> be sought after by a client
My Advice: There is always someone you should be trying to impress. You want the person to walk away with the feeling that they want you on their team. You want someone to bang on the table for you. Even if you are "in" this is important come bonus / promo time.
Hopefully, you find this helpful as you craft your interactions with people at different firms. SB's for any other useful tips, especially from people who are in the enviable position of being on the recruiting / hiring side of the table.