People You’ll Meet During Your Job Search – And How to Prepare

By Alyson Garrido

If you’re on the hunt for a new role, chances are you’re having lots of meetings to spread the word. While you’re meeting a variety of people, it’s important to consider your messaging and how to get the most out of each conversation. It starts with considering each person’s motivations and how to progress your search effectively through your connections.  

“Alyson Garrido,Courtesy of Alyson Garrido”

The External Recruiter

Recruiters work with companies to fill open positions. Companies often hire recruiters because they do not have the capacity or desire to take on the initial screening process in looking for the ideal candidate. Through their strong relationships at companies, recruiters are able to hone in on the best candidates for a role and present the candidate to the company. Recruiters have a clear understanding of the company’s needs and culture.

Recruiters can help by submitting you for positions and typically have a great deal of information about market trends and salary norms. You may ask them about competition in your field and ways to stand out from the crowd. Recruiters are typically juggling multiple roles at the same time and may not be in touch with regular updates.

The Speedster

We all have this person in our lives. They are willing to help or make an introduction and they are always running at a million miles an hour. If you end up with a meeting (more likely a phone call) with a speedster and they tell you they only have a few minutes to chat, it’s important that you are prepared with a quick and concise explanation of what you’re looking for in your next role and how they can help.

It may sound something like this: “Thanks so much for taking my call, Tracey. I’m looking for my next role and planning to make a change to the tourism industry. I see you’re connected with Tina Dels at Dels Tours. Would you be able to make an introduction to her or another member of the team there? It’s one of my target companies.”

The Generous Spirit

I’ll never forget the first time my mentor asked me how he could help me. I wasn’t looking for a job, we were just having a catch up and I fully panicked. I knew what a generous offer it was and I wasn’t sure how to handle it. Now I am prepared with a question or request every time.

Although you don’t want to drain your generous friends and contacts, if you are in need of an introduction or some guidance, those who have helped in the past are highly likely to do so in the future. You can test things out and ask for feedback from your generous contacts and call on them a bit more regularly. It’s also a good idea to plan how you can help them help you. For example, be specific about your desired position or provide a short bio when you ask them to make an introduction. This will make it easier for them to support you and identify the right roles.

The Hiring Manager

When talking to a potential hiring manager, it’s important to highlight the problems you solve. This meeting also gives you a unique opportunity to learn about the team’s needs and skills gaps. You can then speak to how you can make a contribution to the team.

Even in a less formal setting, it is still important to be prepared for pointed questions. You don’t want to be caught off guard.  If you’re nervous about how to talk about yourself without selling or bragging, consider sharing a story about a piece of work you’ve really enjoyed or talking about what you love about your work. When you talk about what you’re good at, you may appear calculated or worse, conceited. Talking about what you love or enjoy about your work, on the other hand, will usually showcase the same things while allowing you to relax and get personal. When you talk about the things you love, you’ll naturally light up and show a more authentic side of yourself.

The Company Insider

Talking with someone who works at one of your target companies is a great way to get beyond the public image and website to really learn what it’s like to work there. Use this opportunity to ask about work-life balance, perks, structure or management styles. Like when you’re talking with a potential hiring manager, you can also ask about skill gaps and, more specifically, what your contact did to land their role at the company. Talking with someone who works at one of your target companies is also a good time to see if the company has a referral incentive program. Such programs may mean that your contact can also benefit if they refer you for a role. If the company doesn’t have such a program, your contact may still offer to pass your resume on or put in a good word.

Your connections can play an integral role in finding the right job and it’s important to customize your approach when talking with different people. Making the right connections and keeping in touch can help to ensure that you land in the right role quickly and be the first person people think of when new opportunities arise.

Alyson is passionate about helping women advance their careers and find jobs they will enjoy. As a career coach, she partners with her clients to identify their strengths and create a path toward a more fulfilling career. Alyson also provides support for interview preparation, salary negotiations and performance reviews, ensuring her clients present themselves and their goals in the best possible light. Learn more at


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