October 19, 2016

How not to Network

Networking is easy — except when you make it hard on yourself.

Last month I ran into a medical device executive I’ve known for a couple of years (let’s call him Peter). He’s considering a job change and a couple months earlier asked me for a few referrals.

“How’d it got with those introductions?” I asked.

“I never got in touch with them,” he replied. “I’ve been so busy.”

I was mildly annoyed. He’d asked for introductions with a sense of urgency. I guess it wasn’t that urgent after all.

Job seekers, and everyone else who has occasion to ask for a professional introduction, take note.

When you ask for a referral, you are asking someone to take time and expend relationship equity with the individuals you want to meet. It’s not a big deal, but it’s not trivial, either.

Asking for a referral and then not following up is a cardinal sin. You’ve wasted the time and goodwill of the person from whom you requested the favor. You can only make that mistake once, because you won’t get help a second time.

I’m sure Peter will be back with another request. But next time, I won’t be nearly so eager to help.

Words
of Praise

What differentiates Mike is his effort to understand the role and the company before he starts the search. This gave him the insight to attract qualified and interested candidates. He did a fantastic job keeping me, and our CEO, aware of his progress along the way. Most importantly the search was a success.

— David Lester, VP, Global Human Resources, Taconic Biosciences