The tendency, for most people in a job search, is to wait too long before following up on networking contacts, leads, or introductions.
There are several reasons they delay, however, few of those reasons are ever really valid. The delay, however, often hurts their networking effectiveness and they don't even realize it.
What are some of those reasons, how do they hurt, and why the rush?
Here are some observations and insights…
It's not uncommon for job seekers to get a new contact name, or be introduced to someone as part of their networking process. And it's equally not uncommon to hear that days or weeks have gone by and the job seeker hasn't yet followed up with that person.
They often have multiple reasons for not calling a new contact right away, including…
- They don't want to appear "over-anxious". There's a difference between being over-anxious and having a sense of urgency. The former can appear needy, the latter is a sign of a professional on the ball. It's how you come across that makes the difference.
- They are not sure how to approach them so they procrastinate out of nervousness. Being unprepared is one of the most common reasons for waiting. Yet there is ample material available on this site and other sources online to help.
- They want to be sure there's been enough time for the introduction to be made. When someone says they will refer them, they often want to wait until they feel the introduction has happened before they follow up. Usually they wait too long, and there is no harm in making the call first.
- They want to see if they'll get called first. If an introduction is made for them, they sometimes feel that if the person is willing to talk to them, they will call first. Waiting for someone else is never a positive, proactive approach and will rarely work out.
- They want to do all their research first. Too often people procrastinate with the "justification" that they have to learn all they can about the person or company before making a call. While having some information is important, "Analysis Paralysis" will usually kill all hope of results.
- They don't think the person will really be of value to them in their job search. Too often, people wrongly rationalize that the contact is not a worthwhile connection for them and so postpone, or neglect to call at all. It's not only hiring managers and recruiters that are great contacts though. Often the best leads come from the least likely sources.
So what? Why is it important to call them right away anyway?
- If you have no urgency, they won't either. If a referral got word to expect to hear from you, and you call days, or weeks later, they will rightfully believe that your search for help is not urgent, so they will take their time in responding as well.
- The referrer may be left with egg on their face, and won't help further. In many cases, the person that made the referral contacts the person they referred to give them a "heads-up". If it takes you days or weeks to follow up, the person often wonders what kind of people the referrer is sending. It reflects poorly on them. If that happens, the referrer is not likely to help with further names in the future.
- You're losing time and opportunities. The longer it takes you to follow up, the more time goes by that could have been used to build that new relationship. There may be opportunities that go by in the meantime as well, missing them.
- It speaks to the sense of urgency you're likely to have in a job as well. When they get a sense that you don't have a sense of urgency in your networking, it's easy for them to assume you won't have a sense of urgency in your job either… causing them to question how great of a catch you might be.
- They will be less willing to refer you on to others. In each of these scenarios, they are much less likely to refer you on to others if they don't get a sense of urgency from you. They don't want to put others in a position of waiting for you to call, or forgetting about you because they were contacted quite a bit later.
Don't wait to follow up on those referrals! Call now, and demonstrate that you're serious about moving forward with your search. You're results are likely to improve dramatically!