How Networking Can Backfire
The similarities are not abundant, but one thing many job seekers and entrepreneurs have in common is their view on casual, interpersonal networking.
Both seem to share a misconception regarding how important networking is and the subsequent time they should be spending casually speaking with others in order to achieve their business or career aspirations.
Since I started my recruitment agency, I’ve found a few fundamental flaws with this theory, most which have proven themselves to be true time and time again via witnessing unsuccessful outcomes from those relying too heavily on their social graces:
1. We only have so much time in a day to achieve what we need to get done. To have a conversation with someone whom you don’t know hoping that it will somehow yield monetary gain takes a significant amount of time.
I would presume that it would at least be about 15 – 20 minutes to decipher whether this is a person whom you wish to even associate yourself with. Then, another 15 minutes to decipher whether they can be of any help to you. This is not to mention that in the meantime, you have to show these individuals that you actually care about their needs or risk losing that first 40 minutes or so altogether.
Finally, factor in the odds of them being someone who is not just being polite and brushing you off and you have a significantly low return on time investment.
2. You need a ton of failures before you know what the market wants and networking doesn’t allow that margin of error. When I first started KAS, I had to get a feel for what my potential clients wanted compared to what was realistic and feasible.
For me to find this happy medium, I needed many clients calling in through knowing my firm via my work in the media to allow myself room for significant error while still leaving myself open to being successful. We don’t know what the market truly wants until we take a wide survey of it.
As a business owner or a job seeker, you may be convinced that the target prospect needs something, but until they are writing you a check or throwing job offers your way, more evidence is needed. Then, when you know exactly what they need, the market somehow ends up shifting on you and you find yourself needing more test dummies.
3. When it’s business, it’s quick and candid. When a potential client calls into my company, I already know they have a need.
My team doesn’t need to ask them about their dog who just went to the vet, we don’t have to ask them about their vacation, we just ask them about business and tell the client the information that they request.
Within 5 minutes of these conversations, both sides know whether it is worth continuing the conversation. Also, the best part for both sides is that we don’t have to see each other at the gym every day following the rejection. This type of candor can’t be found via casual networking and allows me to manage the employees, market my recruiting firm and run the daily operations of KAS.
What Do I Do Instead of Networking?
Rely on yourself and build your skills. You can never dictate the actions of anyone else – only your own. Take the time to become better and better at what you do and before you know it, people will want to network with you.
Nobody ever got their name out by networking. People get their name out by being phenomenal at what they do. You have my word that the work you do on yourself and your business will yield a much higher return on investment than gabbing with that stock broker you exchanged business cards with on the subway last Wednesday.
In the End
People skills are a must, but to get to the right people, you must bring something to the table….and don’t we all wish life and business were less complex.
About the Author
Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement sales and marketing recruitment an executive search firm helping job seekers of all levels achieve their career goals via having top clientele in over 100 industries.
Ken has had articles appear throughout major media. To keep up to date with Ken’s articles, follow Sundheim on Twitter.