Progressive Referral-Base Networking

To capitalize on your referral base network, it’s important to implement different techniques and strategies in order to maximize the return of investment. In this article, I’m going to suggest different techniques or strategies that will continue to build your referral-base network so that it will provide you with a wealth of referred candidates and yet provide you with a progressive recruiting tool that can diversify your results.

When you first started building your referral-base network, you used simple tools like meeting key people, asking for referrals from placed candidates, or attending professional networking events.

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I noticed that over time, my network became stale and didn’t grow to include the kind of key people who could make a significant impact in my referral base network. I decided to take a look at new and progressive ways of refreshing my existing network and adding to it as well.

  1. Trend capitalization is an excellent way to refresh or build your network. Following trends will diversify your network and give you more visibility. If you pay attention to trends, you’ll have a definite advantage by having the ability to contact a greater network pool. We have all used Craigslist.com, LinkedIn, or Zoom. You can also capitalize on other trends, such as structured network groups (i.e., the Five O’Clock Club or the Financial Executives Network Group). I have recently started networking with YouTube as well. Here, I’ve experimented with looking for people’s video resumes and marketing myself using video.
  2. Create a network plan that will identify who you’d like to meet and why. I designed my plan similar to that of a pyramid. It identifies the need as well as who in my pyramid could provide referrals for that need, based on their profile in the pyramid. The final and most important step in network planning is connecting your network, which adds value. Connecting a network is like a round robin. I may speak to Jane on ERE, and she knows Eric, and Eric knows Steve, who knows Todd. I can ask Jane, “I think you know people who know Todd ? any chance you can introduce me to him?”
  3. You are a brand, regardless of your employer. Brand yourself to your network in order to obtain your referrals. An effective referral-base network will source candidates to you based on your reputation, so treat it as a brand by marketing yourself creatively. I recently did a testimonial on television for a local job board. TV viewers saw who I was and where I worked. It could have worked against me, since the ad was for a job board and viewers might have asked themselves, “Why use Mike when we could use a job board?” The answer is simple: you got free publicity with a testimonial that will further enhance your credibility as a professional.
  4. Globalize your network referral base and stay in touch. When you were growing up, perhaps you had a pen-pal in a different country. I have network-referral contacts pretty much all around the world, and I’ve benefited by stay in touch with them. Call and write to people while consistently staying in touch in order to give value to your network.
  5. Building relationships is very important and is critical in obtaining a referral from your network. I’ll never ask for anything without giving something first. I like to showcase how I’m different from others by taking interest in how I can help someone. For example, I like to give a free market analysis and salary survey over lunch. Being creative is important in building relationships and your goal is to stand out.

In time, with the right network, you’ll see more and more candidates being referred by more than one person. In other words, people hear your name once, they hear your name twice, and they hear your name three times, and pretty soon they feel like they must check you out.

Mike Nale is a managing partner of The Brand Management Group, LLC in Honolulu and is the host and co-producer of the upcoming TV show later this year called ?Help Wanted Hawaii.? Mike has over 10 years of experience as a Recruiting Manager, Work Force Planner, and Advisor to some of Honolulu?s Top companies. As one of Hawaii?s most recognized and respected recruiting experts he enjoys mentoring and coaching recruiting teams and volunteers teaching ?Careers with a Purpose? to high school students through Junior Achievement.

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3 Comments on “Progressive Referral-Base Networking

  1. Aloha Mike! Very well written, and a nice job looking at different facets of the oldest, and most successful, method of marketing/networking in existence – word of mouth. Never underestimate the power of a referral. I especially appreciate #5 since so many people out there just take and forget to give. Giving upfront will in turn keep your pipeline filled. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Mike, this is a very refreshing article. It’s almost the end of the day for me and I had to read this article before I shut the office down. I’m new to the game of recruiting and reading articles like this just reminds me why I got into it, it’s because guys like you have a TRUE passion of helping others reach that ‘next’ level that were all trying to reach.

  3. Mike, You’ve done a nice job of refreshing the basic techniques of establishing and maintaining a network. I feel the addition of new or creative approaches to creating new connections is great.

    However, these approaches may be viewed as intimidating by recruiters because their focus is filling the reqs or jobs they already have on their plate.

    For them it should be pointed out this is a long term strategy that pays dividends over time. And, it’s not necessary to stop everything you’re doing to reinvent yourself as a recruiter. Rather, take one or two techniques and begin to incorporate them in your weekly and monthly plan. As your network grows it will provide improved access to people and information.

    Your pyramid perspective is fine but I’ve preferred to describe it as ‘spinning the web’. That image more closely reflects the inter-connections of a network and how individuals far removed from one another by time, space, or discipline can affect a connection across the ‘web’.

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