Monday, January 28, 2013

Employee referrals are working!

My LinkedIn network, visualized
You have more connections that you think - LinkedIn network, visualized (Photo credit: For Inspiration Only)
Interesting  NY Times article about how big companies are getting more and more referrals from current employees these days.  And even more interesting are the 104 (and counting) comments by people that have read that article.  There are a couple points I would make about this:
1) Like it or not, networking is probably the number 1 way to find a new job today, and it has be come so much easier with sites like Linkedin. Many of the comments about this article were negative saying employee referrals constitutes cronyism, lazy recruiters, etc, however the simple fact is that we trust people we know more than people we don't know.  And we all have a bigger network than we initially think we do.
2) One point in the article (and the comments) is that networking is difficult for those that have been searching a long time and have "lost contact" with much of their network.  I would make 2 points about this:
     a) building a network can be started on line. Make a connection online by searching for people you know  (via Linkedin, Facebook or other) and then propose you catch up and chat.  See what they are up to and be interested... Relationships are built one conversation at a time. At some point you can ask whether they know someone in a particular field or company that you are targetting.  
     b) working to get contract work, volunteering, etc can help build the new component of your network, which is something everyone can do if they just do what they can do at this moment (e.g., if you can't contract work you can volunteer).   You will meet new people and extending your network is key to finding opportunities.

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