Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Networking by the numbers

400 – 80 – 20 -2

Do you know what these numbers represent? No, these aren’t the secret numbers in Lost (one of my favorite TV shows, by the way).

400 Contacts -> 80 Meetings -> 20 Interviews -> 2 Offers

In this weak job market, it’s going to take a lot of networking to get a job. Conventional wisdom is that over 90% of job seekers land a job via networking.

These numbers are my estimates. Yours might be different. Work through the numbers so that your expectations are set correctly and you know how much time and effort the networking process will require. It truly is a numbers game.

Contacts: A contact is anyone who you would share your marketing pitch and target job with the hope that they might know of and lead you to another contact who could help you. They might ultimately be someone who could hire you, but not necessarily. They can include your parents, parent’s friends, classmates, and former co-workers. A highly networked alumnus recommended Salesforce.com’s personal edition to track his hundreds of contacts

Meetings: Meetings can occur by phone or in-person. The ideal meetings are in-person informational interviews at your contact’s office. Some of these meetings may lead to actual interviews. Don’t be get anxious if they don’t lead to interviews immediately.

Interviews: These represent the number of companies you interview with, not the number of interviews. So if you had 5 interviews for one job at one company, that only counts as one interview (not 5). Using the numbers above, it may take 18 rejections to get to your first job offer. Gird yourself for a bumpy ride.

Offers: No explanation is necessary. Most job seekers want at least two offers. They want the opportunity to choose and compare offers. Having two offers can sometimes provide negotiating leverage.

To determine how much time the networking job search process will take, let’s assume the following for an unemployed job seeker:

  • Connect via email with 50 contacts per week (10 per day). That’s 8 weeks.
  • Meet 10 people per week. That’s 8 weeks.
  • Interviews occur throughout this period as you discover potential opportunities or make valuable connections.

Total time: 16 weeks or 4 months.

The ratios can be somewhat better for MBA and college students. The ratios are worse for big career changers (desire new role/function and industry), in particularly tough job sectors (e.g. private equity, investment banking, real estate), or if you’re employed and have little time to network intensively.

What numbers and assumptions are you using for your networking job search?

Category: Networking