Networking calls

consulting
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 12, 2024

What are good things to mention or not mention when having networking calls for consulting positions? Best ways to get the referral?

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Adrien
Expert
updated an answer on Feb 13, 2024
Ex-McKinsey interviewer & Senior Consultant | Harvard MBA

Hi,

4 pieces of advice from my experience, having been on both sides of such calls:

1) Show interest in the consultant's work: This is the best way to build a connection. Consultants spent a looot of time at work, and are happy to discuss what they do (unless they have a steerco the next morning)

2) Ask meaningful questions: to do so, ask yourself ‘could I find the answer on Google’ ? If answer is yes, better think of another topic

3) Save hiring questions for the end of the call: By then, you should have been able to build a rapport and such questions should flow more naturally

4) Start asking for hiring advice: Consultants might spontaneously offer to send your CV to HR (that's what I used to do). If they do not, then you can politely ask if he/ she could do it.

Cheers,

(edited)

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Sascha
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replied on Feb 13, 2024
Accenture | Digital Strategist | Empathic Case & Career Coach | Personalized sessions & training

Hey there 👋

first of all I would suggest not only thinking about the transactional benefit you will have from connecting and networking with someone, but about having an interesting person in your network that you can exchange information with and / or learn from. 

As soon as it is becomes transactional, your conversation partner will think “what's in it for me”? And then it comes back solely to your CV and if it is “worth” handing it in (and potentially receiving the hiring bonus). 

But if you connect on a personal level, people will be more inclined to help you because of your personality - which in most cases will be your most distinctive factor compared to your peers (your USP so to say).

Now to connect on a personal level, start by searching for people that you are really interested in. You can for example look out for interesting positions and ask about the content, tasks or even how they got there. But also extracurricular activities can be a great starter. Try to exchange on current interesting topics (e.g. refer to a post on LinkedIn they recently published).

Once you have reached a more personal level you can directly ask for a referral. Best case is they directly refer you - Worst case is they refuse. If the latter is the case, you have the opportunity to ask what you can improve so they change their mind. It's not a “one-shot” kind of situation. 

Always keep in mind networking is about human beings and human interaction - Never purely rational.

Hope this helps a little 😊

Have a great Tuesday,

Sascha

 

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 13, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

How do I bring up the topic of a referral provided the call goes well?

You can “hint” at it. Say you're definitely going to apply and ask if they have any advice or guidance for you.

===============HOW TO NAVIGATE=============

Ask about them

People love to talk about themselves. Just ask them what they've worked on recently or what their journey at BCG has been like. Importantly, do your research beforehand - find out what they've done and try and pick something from their past that looks interesting to you. Tailor your questions just like they tailor their FIT questions to your resume."So, how did you end up in the Industrial Goods sector?"

Ask insightful questions

Ideally, your questions should also show them that you're insightful, inquisitive, bright, thinking about current topics, etc. For example:

"I saw you worked on a big digital transformation for a financial services company - I experienced one myself and it seemed so hard to move such a big organisation. What did you see as the major challenges and breakthrough moments?"

"I know that x big trend is happening. I also know that y types of companies exhibit z traits. How do you reconcile this difference when ensuring y companies adopt x trends?

Summary: Ask about THEM and ask insightful questions!

You need to:

  1. Be ready to explain why you're interested in the firm/role
  2. Be ready to give your own background
  3. Have researched the company
  4. Have good, genuine questions for the consultant
  5. Actually have a conversation and ask them follow-up questions, truly talk/connect with them, etc.
  6. Be natural/genuine
  7. Get more “tag” calls from them (happy to explain this technique in my coaching session)
  8. Get a referral by asking in the right way  (happy to explain this technique in my coaching session)
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Florian
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replied on Feb 13, 2024
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

Don't overthink it!

Ask about anything that you are genuinely curious to know about. Do not ask questions that sound smart just for the sake of it. The latter is neither authentic nor will it help you get more information about the role/firm to decide where you want to work in the future.

Many people look at these interactions from a purely transactional way, not building a connection with the interviewer ("if we have a networking call and I say X, I will get Y - a referral"). 

This does not work in this situation or any other situation if you want to stand out and get a referral. A referral is the byproduct of an interesting conversation and profile you can share with the interviewer.

Cheers,

Florian

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 15, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) What are good things to mention or not mention when having networking calls for consulting positions? 

In general, good questions to ask should be related to something you are genuinely curious about and:

  1. Not be related to something you could easily find online
  2. Not be related to the firm only (e.g. how is XYZ at Bain), but to the experience of the person (e.g. How did you find XYZ in your experience?).
  3. Be related to a positive experience of the person

2) Best ways to get the referral?

To find a referral, I would recommend three steps:

  1. Identify the best people to contact to receive a referral
  2. Write them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work better. You should target 30% conversion for your messages; if you are not achieving that, there is space for improvement.
  • When sending emails, your goal should be to organize a call, not to ask questions – you can then use the call for the questions.
  • You need to close the call with an indirect request for a referral – don’t leave that to chance. There are specific ways to phrase it.

I would recommend preparing three main things before the call:

  • Your own pitch. 3-4 lines should be enough
  • 3-4 questions on the personal experiences of the person. Avoid asking questions about the company only
  • A closing question for the referral. It should be an indirect request to avoid being too pushy

Before the call, I would recommend having your CV and Cover ready – in this way, you can send them right away if the person wants to refer you.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Cristian
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replied on Feb 13, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach
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Pedro
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replied on Feb 29, 2024
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | Market Sizing Expert | 30% discount in Feb & March

Think about what is really relevant to you and what is really relevant in your profile. Your questions should somehow highlight or incorporate these.

Please read this in the context of making questions around topics you are passionate or curious about, or really matter to you. Otherwise it will be mechanical and that is what you really want to avoid at all cost.

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Adrien gave the best answer

Adrien

Ex-McKinsey interviewer & Senior Consultant | Harvard MBA
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