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She asked the right question. “Does anyone work at/have contacts at XYZ company? After a great first contact, I’m interested in them. I’d love to follow up.” 

Deepening and broadening a great first (or second) contact puts you ahead of the competition. Most people don’t. They’re busy, don’t get the value, not building the critical skill of reverse interviewing — more often called informational interviewing.

So when is it worth it? When it’s a great fit. When it’s what you love to do, and a great culture fit. It’s even more OMG-valuable when it’s under your max commute time, great benefits, and even more money than you thought. You WANT it. So how?

How to find those contacts?

When you get there, what to do?

What do you say?

What do you ASK?

 

In this post, we’ll cover the criticals… 

First, keep a running list of what you want to know about — the advise no one else can give. This could be a former employee. No matter, think in categories..

  • What’s the work like, day-to-day
  • How do they describe the culture? Is it positive, inclusive and focused on results that would work for you, the company and the customers?
  • If they could change just one thing about the company, what would it be?

Second, whether at the location where you would be working, or one across the country, find the people who are in the same kind of position you’re interviewing for, or positions that are similar or related. People around a position often have a clearer view of a situation.

  • Post the question in your social network of choice. Search your contacts on LinkedIn for someone who works there. Even better if it’s at a location out of town or out of state.

Third, when you’re in that person’s office, physically or virtually, be respectful of their time, have one point, stick to it, start and finish with appreciation. And when you get the position, whether it’s with this one or another company, let them know. A hand written note will make you memorable.

BONUS: Ask them who else you should talk with. Your first contact is rarely the best contact for you, and s/he may well know who is.

 

 

RESOURCES:

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