The Worst Part Of Networking: Handling a Stalemate

Posted by The Editors on February 13, 2012
The Worst Part Of Networking: Handling a Stalemate
You’ve heard it time and time again: Networking is the key to scoring a job in today’s tough market. Fair or not, it’s all about who you know and not exactly what you know. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking and typically employers fill these openings through unadvertised ways, like in-house referrals or through a group of friends.

As job seekers, we’re swamped with articles and tips to follow that are supposed to help us network successfully but sometimes—and through no fault of our own—networking becomes one-sided. Perhaps it’s just a busy time for members of the workforce, but recently the number-one question I’ve been getting among job seekers and friends is, “Why aren’t they calling me back?”

Consider this situation:
You’ve been on the job hunt for a few months and have been fully immersed in building up a solid network. Finally you think you’ve found the break you’ve been looking for. A friend connects you to his friend who mentioned there was a recent opening at her company that you’d be the perfect candidate for. So you go back and forth with each other exchanging job histories and advice, and all of a sudden you stop hearing back from this person.

You think, maybe she’s just busy or maybe the phone call we planned for today just slipped her mind. So you leave her a message asking to reschedule and you wait. After a few days and no response back, you send her an email. Still no response. A week goes by and still you haven’t heard a word. Now you’re left feeling confused, frustrated, angry, upset…you get the idea.  

So what do you do when the conversation comes to a lull or abruptly stops? And what could possibly be the reason for that person’s lack of communication?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1.    Limit your follow-up.
It’s okay to follow up, but don’t overdue it. One email and one phone call is enough to let that person know you’re concerned that she is okay and is still interested in cultivating a professional connection.

2.    Don’t get pushy.

We all know how frustrating the job search can be and what it feels like to be ignored. Getting pushy and sending your connection email after email isn’t going to make her want to help you more. The last thing you want is to sound annoying and risk burning any bridges.

3.    Be patient.

It’s important to realize you may not be that person’s top priority at the moment. Everyone is busy and they will (hopefully) get back to you when they can find the time.

4.    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Simply because you think this could be the person who will help you land a job, it doesn’t mean you should be completely reliant on her. Continue networking no matter what the circumstances are, and if the relationship becomes stale, at least you’ll have other people to continue networking with.

Have you ever fallen victim to one-sided networking? What tips and advice do you have for these kinds of situations? Let us know what has worked for you.

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