Although career coaching can make a huge difference in how quickly job seekers find employment, there is nothing like the speed and power of the grapevine. One of the realities of today’s job search is that most hiring managers, given the opportunity, prefer to hire a candidate who is recommended to them by someone they know and trust. The best way to get your foot in the door at an organization is to come recommended by someone already working there.

What does this mean for you? On one hand, an effective outplacement solution can help you build a great introductory presentation based on your background and career accomplishments.

On the other hand, you have to leverage your network in your job search. You simply cannot afford to neglect your personal collection of people with whom you have developed relationships. Make sure they know that you are looking for a job, truly understand what you do, and know your unique value. If people don’t understand what you do or what you are looking for, they can’t help you.

Capitalizing on word of mouth

More and more employers of all sizes acknowledge the power of word-of-mouth job referrals. Many offer their workers financial incentives to help fill job vacancies by providing information to the company about family, friends, and business acquaintances who are not already employed there. Many companies have transformed what was once an ad hoc situation into a formal program using financial incentives to motivate and reward successful referrals.

Internal referrals benefit both sides. Job candidates recruited via personal referral start with a better base of knowledge about the position, the company, and its culture because of their connection to the referring employee. They are usually faster at getting up to the required standard of performance. Research suggests that employees who perform well are likely to recommend potential recruits who are also likely to develop into good performers.

Plugging into the grapevine

Word-of-mouth recruiting comes with disadvantages too. It limits the number of applicants for consideration and discriminates against those candidates who do not have a personal connection to the hiring organization. For these reasons, employers that are concerned about workforce diversity may not be as receptive to a formal internal referral program, even if they still make occasional use of personal referrals.

If you are hoping to take advantage of a personal connection to land your next job, make a plan. An outplacement company can guide your strategy. After you have worked your personal network, develop a target company list that comprises all of the organizations in your local area for which you would like to work. Use social media like LinkedIn or Facebook to figure out all of the ways in which how you are connected to people in those organizations. You can even use these online networks to develop connections if you don’t already have them. But you have to take the initiative. Just do it.

15 October 2013

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