Getting a referral

Referral
Edited on Apr 23, 2021
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 22, 2021

Hi everyone,

I reached out to people in multiple firms for coffee chats and able to schedule some sessions with partners and managers from multiple firms. While I think this will help me craft my cover letters, however my ultimate goal here is trying to get referrals from them. My question is how do candidates get referred?

Do I ask straightaway at the end "Do you think you can refer me?".

Thanks!

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 23, 2021
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Ian
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updated an answer on Apr 23, 2021
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Hi there,

You do not ask "can you refer me" at the end. If they were going to, now they will be turned off by your lack of tact. Rather, you can "hint" at one (step f below) by saying something along the lines of "This has been so helpful. Thank you so much for your time. I will definitely be apply in the coming weeks - do you have any advice for me?"

Make sure to also "play tag" (step e) and get put in touch with someone else (i.e. preventing a dead end).

Feel free to reach out to discuss a bit further (verbalizing is a bit better than just writing steps), but I recommend the following:

a) Reach out to people in your network

b) Reach out to people once removed from your network

c) Reach out to people with a similar backgorund to you (i.e. same alma mater, same historically underrepresented demographic i.e. gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc., same career switch, etc.)

d) Tailor a message to them specifically both showing interest in them and their journey and demonstrating that you have done your research and could be a valuable hire

e) Play "tag" across calls you get so that you can work your way towards the company/office/role you want

f) Never directly ask for a referral, but "hint" at needing one (this is nuanced and important...happy to talk through wording)

(edited)

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Clara
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replied on Apr 22, 2021
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Hello!

Congrats, you are doing a great job, and it´s a hard one! Cold calling is always hard, and seems useless until some doors start opening.

Furthermore, is a volume game unfortunately, the more leads you generate, the higher chances that one indeed converts into a coffee chat!

Once you have the coffee chat, there is no need to be so direct. At the end, they have done that a million times with other candidates and perfectly know what you want, a referral.

Show geniune interest in the firm, the industries they serve, how they work... and engage in a good conversation. The rest, in terms of next steps for referrals, will follow

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous A on Apr 23, 2021

Thanks!

Florian
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replied on Apr 23, 2021
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Hey there,

If they agree to a chat it is important for you to make a positive impression. If that all works out, some should automatically offer you a referral.

I quote from my own article: Consultants are constantly reminded by HR to look out for potential new hires. Hence, they will automatically offer to refer you should they be convinced by your resume and the interaction they had with you. Hence, never ask for a referral directly.

https://strategycase.com/how-to-get-a-referral-for-mckinsey-bcg-bain

Be ready to

  • provide your resume and cover letter
  • answer questions regarding your background and motivation
  • discuss trends / topics that are relevant for the person based on their work within the firm

Fingers crossed!

Cheers,

Florian

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Anonymous B replied on Apr 22, 2021

What I did was asking for a call to get some tips about the process, then indirectly asked for referral by saying " and if you could provide some networking opportunities"

it worked for me even though I dont come from a target school neither I have a great GPA, but what I did was I focused on sending people who share similarities (which is very important), which in my case was my college alumni

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Anonymous A on Apr 23, 2021

Thanks!

Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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