Networking for a referral

networking Referral
New answer on Aug 22, 2020
3 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Aug 21, 2020

Hi everyone, a couple weeks ago I reached out to a a bunch people on linkedin who are recent alumni at my school and work at top consulting firms. A couple answered and we had pretty good 30 minute phone calls. Following this, what next steps should I take to further build a relationship and ask for a referral to their company? Keep in mind I'm an incoming senior and most applications are due in about a month or less

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Content Creator
replied on Aug 22, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I think you are following the wrong strategy.

You should “close” on a referral during the call, not after. Many people think this is not possible, but if you have the right script it works. When I applied I got 6 invitations out of 6 applications in this way.

You may try to follow-up with your current contacts you had a call with and hope to get a referral mentioning you are going to apply soon. But “hope” is not a good strategy. My suggestion for your next calls is to find a way to get a referral during the call.

You can find more on referrals at the following link:

Please feel free to PM me if you have additional questions.



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Content Creator
updated an answer on Aug 21, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Well done on getting some calls lined up!

Now, in terms of at the end of/after a call make sure you:

1) Write a thank you message within 24 hours

2) At the of the call, if they have not offered a referral then try to play "tag" and get put in touch with a 2nd person (i.e. at the office you're interested in, of a closer background to yourself, in a practice you're interestedin, etc.

3) Finally, a few days before you apply, send them an email essentially saying "thanks for your time x weeks/months ago, just wanted to let you know I'm applying in a few days. If you have any advice I'd love to hear it, otherwise thanks again for your time"

This is your final attempt at pulling out a referral!

Note: If you know the person well (close friend, etc.), it may be worth the gamble to just ask directly (use your own discretion here)

In terms of networking tactics:

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 hometown, 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) Leave a strong impression - i.e. don't ask "basic questions". Rather, demonstrate your ability/intelligence by asking smart questions, carrying a natural conversation, showing genuine interest, etc.


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Anonymous B replied on Aug 22, 2020

Hi there

Although it's possible to impress people with your intellect in 30 minutes and get them to refer you, in practice this is actually quite rare. Let me give you two real examples of how networking has worked:

1) An ex-McK manager founded a recruiting firm and he was mandated by MBB for experienced hires with a specific skill set. My friend reached out to him after finding him via an advert on LinkedIn. They had a 'pre-interview' assessment and my friend was successful so she got a referral+interview. Some of the coaches on this site can also act as referrals so you need to find out who is willing by perhaps posting a few details about your profile or private messaging the coaches. Finally university placement offices also tend to have contacts

2) Another friend reached out to an alum from her uni for info on consulting careers. They had a nice chat and stayed in touch via messages where my friend kept the alum updated on her application status. During this time she also organized a consulting seminar at her uni where she invited the alum as a guest speaker. Alum was impressed and then proactively offered my friend a referral where she was successful. But please note the time from first contact to referral was in excess of 3-4 months and it was a very natural process vs forced

Given you don't have time - focus on the first path. Networking for a referral one month before a deadline is not the most effective way

Best of luck

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Francesco gave the best answer


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