Most job seekers meet somewhere between 3-5 people at their target company during an interview process. They usually only meet these people once – on interview day.
But what is the value of meeting more people?
Well, obviously, the more people you meet the more knowledge you’ll have about how the target company works. You can meet them well in advance of your first HR contact. You can research them in advance and test them (friendly? Stuffy?) on your interview day.
But there is also the awareness campaign that you should be doing with target companies – to make yourself known to possible interviewers or HR/recruitment team. Ideally, you should be actively looking to penetrate your target companies throughout the process, during an offer negotiation as well as during your first 90 days.
The more you are known to your target company, the better your odds of finding a job there.
Just to be clear, though. To penetrate means that you create awareness of your candidacy/unique skills with as many people as possible. If others know you (or know of you), the risk in interviewing you and hiring you goes down. It especially important in a hiring market that favors the employer.
So how do you penetrate a company in advance and during your interview process?
1. LinkedIn – hopefully you are already using Linked In and using your connections to reach a much broader group of people. Many of them may work now or in the past at your target companies. You absolutely have to be actively building a strong network here and actually using it. Find out what groups people at your target companies have joined and become a member. That way you can e-mail them directly and begin to network within the group.
2. Facebook – If they have a page on Facebook, become a regular contributor there. First “like” their page and then begin providing feedback. “Share” and “Like” their content.
3. Phone/reception staff – Upbeat and friendly never hurts you. So every opportunity you have to network, should be taken. Even if only a brief few seconds, your demeanor matters. To someone who gets hammered all day with requests. A simple “how’s your day”, if it is genuine, can help someone and help you on the day you arrive for the interview. And don’t think the opinion of the phone operator or greeter is insignificant.
4. Ask to meet others – you can always ask during the interview whether you could be introduced to others. Wouldn’t you want to meet people on your team or others working at the same level? Or someone in a key cross-functional support role. All they can say is “no”. But don’t just ask HR. Ask the people you interview with if there are others at the company who would be open to a few questions. You never know, maybe you’ll get an invite to the company’s Thu night drinks!:-)
5. Blogging/Public Relations – If you have a blog. Especially if it is industry related (technology) or key function related (marketing), you could highlight your target companies. Highlight key initiatives, new products or the upcoming charity event. And then send a link to their public relations team or firm.
6. Company Website – Who runs the website at your target company? How about writing up some feedback for the webmaster? Or writing a review of their site on your blog? Offer to write a product review on Amazon. This one is endless!
7. Industry Conferences – Find out where your target companies go to show off their new products and services. While you might have to drive a few hours or get on a plane, this is a target rich environment. Since other similar companies will likely be there as well.
As you can see by trying a few of the ideas above, you can become known to your target companies in a way that should be seen as highly beneficial to both parties. Assuming your approach is a confident one and you are not appearing desperate. Sending your resume to every recruiter in the company for jobs you are not necessarily qualified for will most definitely NOT act in your favour.
Hopefully you can see how each of these work together as part of an integrated strategy to build awareness of you and the impact you could have on their company.
What are your ideas to penetrate a target company? What has worked for you? Please leave your comment below!