The focus of my hiring plan involved calling and emailing a large number of contacts in a short period of time. The majority of my calls were fantastic. Most people are good and want to help others in any way they can.
There are exceptions.
To begin, I would never call and ask for a job. Rather, I would ask for advice, feedback or information. What's more, I would try and schedule a face to face meeting for this very purpose.
I followed this approach when I called "Bob" with Big Company A.
Me: "Bob" this is John formerly with "Company X" how are you?
Bob: Fine, what can I do for you? Why are you no longer with Company X?
Me: Company X is having some financial issues which resulted in a reduction of staff. Why I called you Bob, is I realize you will be attending the Big Trade Show later this month and I was wondering if I could schedule an appointment with you at the show?
Bob: Why? What do you want?
Me: Well, with your position and the fact we are both in the same industry, you would be a great place to learn about other companies in our space.
Bob: We aren't hiring.
Me: I understand Bob, and please understand that is not why I called. There are so many great opportunities out there and I believe you are a central figure in this industry. Therefore, I think it would be great to meet with you and get your opinion on our industry and who the dominant players are.
Bob: Um, OK. I don't know what I can do for you or what you want, but you can look me up at the show.
Me: How about we schedule a time? I was thinking Wednesday afternoon at 2 PM?
Bob: No, just come find me. I will be pretty busy. We can talk then. Well I gotta get going. Talk to you later.
Needless to say, "Bob" avoided me at the show. No big deal, I had several other meetings and interviews which resulted in my current position.
All the same, about a third of my calls were similar (though not as negative) as the above call. The good news is the other two thirds were positive and rewarding.
Be prepared for calls and meetings which go bad. Know the difference between what is your fault and the world view of the person you are meeting.
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