11 November, 2013

When It Comes To Getting Hired, Being A Friend Of A Friend Beats Being The Best Candidate

In yesterday's post I said something I've said in this blog dozens of times before: I said that  companies don't always hire the best candidate. In fact, they often pass over a great candidate who's still in the "stranger" category to hire a less qualified candidate who is not a stranger - somebody who is "networked" to the employer through another person. 

When it comes to getting a job, being a friend of a friend is way better than being the best candidate. 

Employers like to portray themselves as meritocracies where the best candidates always get hired but in all my years collecting ridiculous fees for "finding" candidates for employers I've never once placed a candidate with a client who wasn't already networked to the person they ended up hiring. Not once. Even when I conducted nationwide searches for big publicly-traded companies and brought them A+ candidates, they still hired B+ candidates to whom they were networked instead of the A+ stranger. And I still got paid. It's crazy. 

So what's the lesson for job seekers? Simple: You have to get out of the "stranger" category. You don't have to be the employer's best buddy but you do have to get out of the stranger category. The easiest way to do that is to figure out who you already know who can introduce you to the employer thus moving you from the "stranger" category to the friend-of-a-friend category.

if your friends aren't introducing you to people who can hire you, ask them if they know what you did when you were working, before your career blew up. Chances are, they don't know anything about your skills, experience or knowledge. So tell them. Instead of spending 8 hours a day sending resumes to strangers who are just going to hire a friend-of-a-friend anyway, spend 8 hours a day telling your friends and acquaintances what you do and what you're looking for. Somebody you already know can introduce you to your next boss but they won't do it until you tell them how to recognize the right company or the right job for you.
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