Top interviewing tips: how to network effectively
Top tips from Lisa Jobson (pictured), director of talent at Harvey Nash:
- Prepare yourself physically and mentally as first impressions are important. Check your appearance (clothes, shoes, hair, finger nails) - be immaculate. Check your body language - be upright and open, encouraging people to approach you.
- The handshake. Ask a friend what yours is like (firm and dry, or limp and damp). Remember to also make eye contact and smile.
- Prepare your introduction and personal elevator pitch. "Hello, I'm Lisa Jobson from pleased to meet you" Generally the person will respond accordingly, but if not, add "and you are?" Also know what you and your company do in one sentence/paragraph.
- What are your objectives? In the first instance, it should not be to win business or find a new job, but to establish warm relationships that will give you the ability to pick up the phone to them at a later stage.
- Who is attending? Contact the organisers and request a delegate list, select key contacts you want to talk to and do some research to help strike up a meaningful dialogue.
- Approach. Begin by approaching those either standing on their own or those not huddled in a private conversation.
- Opening a conversation. Prepare some opening comments and questions to start new conversations. For example, “What stimulated you to attend?”.
- Building a conversation. Once conversation is in full flow, ask questions to build on their comments to gain further details about said strategy or project.
- Encouraging openness. Try using past tense questions as they tend to encourage more openness. For example, "What have been the major strengths of your business? What has it meant to your business to secure the right people?”
- Noting good contacts. Actively listen to what is being said and make a mental note of it. Create a valid business reason for the call back.
- Closing a conversation. “I would like to continue our conversation, could we arrange a call/appointment for next week?” …and exchange business cards. Or, “It has been a pleasure talking to you, but I’m sure you want to talk to other people.”
- Follow up. After the event, remember to follow up as agreed, know what you are going to say and what your objective is.
- Maintenance. Once your network is up and running, maintain it and you will never have to start from scratch again.
This is the first in a series of articles.