Should I network with people in the division I'd like to work in?

Neue Antwort am 10. Juni 2023
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Anonym A fragte am 8. Juni 2023

Hi all, I'd like to seek your opinion on networking. Currently I'm applying / interviewing with a few boutique consulting firms and corporate strategy role. 

Under such setting, the staffs working in the division I'm applying to is quite limited, which means that there's a high duplication between who to network vs. who will interview me. My questions are:

(1) Should I network with the key people who will interview me, “before” I apply? (For example, if I know the hiring manager is X, should I directly reach to X, before I apply?)

(2) Assume that I've started interviewing with the firm, is it suggested to continue networking with people within the division? What are some points to take in mind? (Not so sure whether networking / interviewing at the same time would be weird…)

Thanks a lot!

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Content Creator
antwortete am 8. Juni 2023
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate

Hi there, 

Avoid networking before the interview with the people you think might actually interview you. 

This might create a conflict of interest. For the very moral ones among them, they might refuse to interview you or be extra critical of your performance. 

In this situation, I'd just network with people who are in a similar role as the one that you're targeting. That should prevent the sort of situation you were mentioning from materialising. 

Sharing with you here also a guide on how to best conduct these discussions:


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antwortete am 8. Juni 2023
300+ coached cases | Former McKinsey interviewer + recruiting lead| End-to-end prep in 2 weeks


Networking is an important part of the job application process, as it helps you gain a deeper understanding of the firm and its culture. However, it is crucial to approach it with care, especially in your case where the teams are small.

  1. Before You Apply: You could potentially network with key people who will interview you before you apply. However, do it with genuine intent to learn more about the role, the firm, and its culture, rather than to gain an advantage in the interview process. Always approach with respect and a genuine interest in learning from their experience. If you're connecting with someone like the hiring manager, it would be wise to ask thoughtful questions about their work, the team, and the company culture, rather than specific details about the role you're applying for or the hiring process.
  2. During the Interview Process: Continuing to network after the interview process has begun can be delicate. If you've been networking with people in the division prior to the start of interviews, it's okay to maintain those relationships. However, it's essential to be respectful and sensitive to the fact that they are also part of the interview process, so avoid discussing your interviews or asking for insider advice. Focus instead on gaining a broader understanding of the company and the industry.

Remember, networking is about establishing a professional relationship based on mutual respect and interest. It's not a strategy to 'game' the interview process, but rather a way to genuinely engage with potential future colleagues and to understand if the firm is a good fit for you.

Best of luck with your application process!

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Content Creator
antwortete am 9. Juni 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Should I network with the key people who will interview me, “before” I apply? (For example, if I know the hiring manager is X, should I directly reach to X, before I apply?)

I would not target hiring managers but rather alumni of your school for networking. You probably won't know in advance if they could be your interviewers, so no need to focus on that.

2) Assume that I've started interviewing with the firm, is it suggested to continue networking with people within the division? What are some points to take in mind?

No need to continue to network once you got the referral/interview.

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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Content Creator
antwortete am 9. Juni 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Network with firms you have not applied to yet.

Do not network with firms at which you are currently interviewing. It literally doesn't make sense (networking is done in order to get the interview).

Congrats on getting the interview invite and good luck during it!

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antwortete am 10. Juni 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 6+ years of coaching


To answer your questions:

  1. Networking before you apply is always a great idea! Usually you’d be networking with consultants and not hiring managers, though – if you are looking for a consulting role, they will be the ones you’ll want to talk to to get a better sense of what the job involves, what the office culture is like, guidance/referrals for your application, etc.. The firm may have some policies in place regarding consultants who know you not being able to interview you, but that will be on them to sort out and shouldn’t prevent you from reaching out to people to network.
  2. There’s not much point in continuing networking once you’ve started interviewing, unless you’re just checking in / catching up with people who you’ve already established connections with. Networking is usually most helpful as a way for you to get to know the firm better, and help you get a foot in the door. By the time you are interviewing, you are a little past that point.
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antwortete am 10. Juni 2023
Former BCG Consultant | Startup Founder | Holistic approach to a successful application - cases & beyond | 10% discount


Networking can be a valuable strategy when applying and interviewing. Here are some considerations for networking in the specific scenario you mentioned:

Networking before applying: It can be beneficial to network with key individuals in the division you're applying to, including the hiring manager, before submitting your application. This can help you establish a connection, demonstrate your interest in the role, and potentially gain insights into the company or position. However, be mindful of the timing and context. Reach out to them with a professional and well-crafted message, expressing your interest in the company and desire to learn more about the role or division.

Networking during the interview process: Once you have started the interviewing process, it can still be advantageous to continue networking with individuals within the division. However, it's essential to strike the right balance and be mindful of the potential impact on the interview process. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Focus on building relationships: Use networking opportunities to connect with professionals in the division on a personal level. Seek to understand their experiences, perspectives, and insights related to the role or industry. Show genuine interest in their work and expertise.
  • Maintain professionalism: While networking, remember that you are still being evaluated as a candidate. Be professional, respectful, and avoid putting pressure on individuals for a favorable outcome in the interview process. Networking should be about building relationships and gathering information, rather than seeking an advantage in the hiring process.
  • Use networking to enhance your understanding: Networking can provide you with valuable insights into the company culture, expectations, and challenges. It can also help you gain a deeper understanding of the role and how it aligns with your skills and aspirations. Leverage these conversations to strengthen your overall knowledge and prepare for future interview stages.
  • Stay organized: Keep track of the individuals you connect with, the topics discussed, and any follow-up actions. This will help you maintain professionalism and demonstrate your ability to manage relationships effectively.

Networking should be approached with authenticity, respect, and professionalism. It can provide you with valuable insights, build relationships, and potentially enhance your candidacy. However, always prioritize the interview process itself, ensuring that you are fully prepared and focused on showcasing your skills and qualifications.


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