Messed up with my connection in the recruitment process?

Neue Antwort am 4. Juni 2023
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Anonym A fragte am 30. Mai 2023

I had a great coffee chat with someone at this firm. The conversations have great and she seemed open to help with my application too which was so amazing. I sent her a follow-up thank you email after the chat and we kept in touch. I think I was too aggressive in my most recent follow-up as I asked her directly if I could get a referral in our most recent email exchange.

It's been a week now and she hasn't responded. I feel like I messed up. I think she might be also on the recruiting team for my school. What should I do? Should I send her a follow-up or is that being too much again? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!


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Content Creator
antwortete am 31. Mai 2023
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate

Hi there,

Don't follow-up anymore. That will come across as being even more aggressive. 

At this point, if they don't answer, then just move on and start looking for someone else that could refer you. 

You can leverage the guide below on how to conduct these coffee chats in a more effective manner so it potentially leads to a referral:


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Content Creator
antwortete am 1. Juni 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

First, don't worry! These things happen. you're learning. It's not the end of the world. If she hasn't said yes, it's unlikely she was going to anyway…you shot your shot…no harm done!

Second, move on. Try another avenue with other people. Plenty of other opportunities.

Third, try a new approach next time. Referrals are best after for during the call/in person (not via email), and, it's much better to hint at one than explicitly ask

Keep pushing! Others will come.

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Content Creator
antwortete am 31. Mai 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: What should I do? Should I send her a follow-up or is that being too much again?

I would look for someone else that can refer you. I don’t see advantages in a new follow-up in this case.

For future emails and calls, I would highly recommend to never ask for a referral explicitly – you don’t want to appear clearly transactional in the relationship. Also, when you ask indirectly it’s much better to do so during the call than by email.

You can find more on referrals below:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation

▶ The Exact Steps to Get a Referral

Good luck!


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antwortete am 4. Juni 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 6+ years of coaching


First of all, don't beat yourself up about this - you live and you learn. It may just be that she is a bit busy with work right now, and will respond to you later. Wait another week or so, then feel free to send another short, polite follow-up if you want to. That said, I'd also encourage you to pursue other avenues - look for other people you could reach out to at that firm.

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antwortete am 31. Mai 2023
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

it is not very typical for a consultant to simply ghost a candidate because they didn't like a specific ask in an email. If they don't want to adhere to your request for a referral, they would probably give you some wishy-washy reason as to why they can't or suggest another course of action for you - but they would usually reply, especially when you had a good dynamic before. 

Therefore, a reasonable assumption would be that your contact person is either swamped with workload at the moment or possibly even on vacation. Give it some more time and if you don't hear back after another week, you can send a gentle reminder asking if she had received your previous message (no need to repeat your request in the follow-up email).

In any case, keep looking for other people who could provide you with a referral in parallel because you can't wait forever. I also agree with what others said here that it's best to not bluntly ask for a referral because of the transactional nature - but if you need to be more direct, it's better to do that on a call or in person than via email.

Best of luck

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antwortete am 31. Mai 2023
300+ coached cases | Former McKinsey interviewer + recruiting lead| End-to-end prep in 2 weeks

First, take a deep breath. It's great that you've made a connection at the firm you're interested in and have been keeping in touch. It's also perfectly fine to ask for a referral, though the timing and manner in which you ask can certainly influence the response.

Now, to your current situation. Here are my suggestions:

1. Wait a bit longer: Everyone gets busy, and it's possible that your contact just hasn't had the time to respond yet. Give it another week before you follow up.

2. Follow up with a polite note: After a reasonable amount of time has passed (two weeks is generally acceptable), you can send a polite follow-up note. Apologize if you came across as too forward in your previous email and explain that you understand if she isn't able to provide a referral at this time.

Here's a sample message:

"Hi [Contact's name],

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to follow up on my previous email regarding the referral. Upon reflection, I realize that I may have come across as too forward, and I apologize if that was the case. I truly value your advice and guidance, and I understand if you're not able to assist with a referral at this time.

Regardless, I appreciate the time you've taken to speak with me and the insights you've shared about [Company's name]. I hope to keep in touch and continue learning from your experience.

Thank you, [Your Name]"

3. Learn from the experience: It's important to learn from this situation. In the future, try to build more rapport before asking for a referral and when you do ask, do so in a way that allows them an easy "out" if they're not comfortable doing so.

Remember, one perceived misstep doesn't necessarily mean you've blown your chances. Handle this with grace and professionalism, and you may still be able to salvage the situation.

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Content Creator
antwortete am 31. Mai 2023
McKinsey & Co. | Mentor & Coach for 4+ yrs | 80+ trainees | Columbia MBA


Don't beat yourself up. It's from these experiences that we learn. Honestly, I wouldn't go for an additional follow-up.

If the person you talked to doesn't respond, I would start thinking about expanding and diversifying your network.

Hence, I'll try to reach out to other people who're working in your target company to get to know them better and discover more about the company you're applying for. 

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antwortete am 31. Mai 2023
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger |Former Head Recruiter | Market Sizing

Sometimes (very frequently) consultants are under “crunch time”, i.e., they have to be 100% focused on their client. As such, they may take longer to reply. I wouldn't draw any conclusions from that.

In any case, you probably stepped on the line with that request, so just make sure you are not that “aggressive” again.

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Cristian gab die beste Antwort


Content Creator
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