Cultivate Your Best Work Relationships

How to Make the Leap to Management Through 'Discomfort'It happens to me at least twice per year. A former co-worker contacts me to see if I’d be interested in a position at their current company. It’s a powerful gesture. They are on the inside, and typically have the ear of the hiring manger.  As long as you don’t horribly blow the interview, you’re as good as hired. And then there are the secondary networking effects. Someone you used to work with just happens to know someone on the interview committee of that job you’re applying for. I’ve reaped that reward too on a couple of occasions.

Networking?  More Like Curating

It’s so important to keep in touch with the people whom you respect and trust.  I’m not talking about the narcissistic networking that has you keeping in touch with anyone who could ever do something for you one day. I’m talking about the people you’ve worked with that kick ass. Former compatriots that you have simpatico with personally, but more importantly work wise. If one of you move on, keep in touch. Drop the occasional email, have coffee or lunch, stay in each other’s LinkedIn network.

Hiring Sucks

I’ve said it here on this blog plenty.  Hiring sucks, and that will work to your advantage in a networking situation.  If I’m hiring, and one of my employees who totally rocks it every day says that they know someone who would be great for our open position, I’m going to perk up and listen.  It’s a great shortcut in time and effort.  If your inside guy is awesome, chances are his recommendation is going to be awesome.  It greatly expedites the hiring process and increases the quality of candidate.

This is also great for the referrer because it makes them look good.  Another personal example.  The company I work for has a referral bonus (told ya hiring sucks).  Not too long ago, they had an opening for a position, and I knew the perfect candidate.  I turned them onto her, they hired, I got $1,000 six months later, and we are still getting rave reviews about her from the customers every single month.  It’s a total win-win-win.

This strategy is simple, too, right?  You like these people. They like you. You like to keep up with what each other is doing professionally. You’re probably already doing this to some degree, but here’s what I suggest. Take a quick five-year history inventory. Think about all of the people you worked with that totally kicked ass, and with whom you’d work with again in a heartbeat. Get in touch with them and stay in touch. You never know when your well-cultivated network will intersect with serendiptity to land you the perfect job or the perfect recruit.

4 Responses to “Cultivate Your Best Work Relationships”

  1. The most important work relationship to cultivate is the relationship with your boss. If the boss actively dislikes you (and by that I don’t mean he/she does not like you, I mean he/she actively dislikes you; there is a difference), it matters not what others think of you, how much you know or how good at your job you are; you will be gone.

  2. I have very well learned in the past few years of the value of (human) networking, and the frequency of getting from who you know. Unfortunately back in my longer term career days, I didn’t socialize in my field, and friends got married and drifted off here and there. I can find groups now, and sites to post my 2 cents on, but for me it remains a challenge to find people that can tolerate me when I soon mention I am looking for opportunities. I have enjoyed a few contract gigs more recently, and I pass out the cards and introductions early and often – and I am not picky – I will be grateful for low end anything these days, and likely do it well.