Landing the job you want quickly requires more than just a well-crafted resume and a compelling LinkedIn profile; you need an effective job search strategy. A key part of this job search strategy involves making lots of the right connections. To be sure you’re playing this numbers game to win, monitor these five KPIs. You’ll learn how to refine your strategy to improve results and avoid mistakenly attributing a lack of interest to surface-level factors like age, experience, or resume gaps.
KPI #1: Have at least six meetings in the works with decisionmakers
Seek to have at least six informational meetings or interviews in the works at any given time with those in a position to hire you: your prospective boss or their boss. If you can achieve this metric, you’re on track to land an offer within the next couple of months. That is, you’re playing the numbers game to win as five of those six things will fall away through no fault of your own – budgets change, people change, the strategy changes, and so on.
For example, one of my clients, seeking an SVP of operations role reporting to a COO, told me: “I have six decisionmaker meetings in the works. Three of these meetings are scheduled; two of the three are informational meetings, and one is an interview. I’m actively following up on the other three; two interviews and one informational meeting that could turn into an interview. All of these meetings involve a C-suite executive in a position to hire me.” Sure enough, one of her six things in the works resulted in an offer that she accepted.
If you can’t hit this “six meetings” KPI, that may be ok. Perhaps you’re not in a rush, or looking more casually. Just plan for a longer search.
KPI #2: Target roughly 200 potential positions
“Potential positions” means positions you’re interested in that are either open or filled. Target enough potential positions, that is, fish in a sea with a lot of fish. If you’re targeting too few positions, you’ll find it difficult to achieve the “six meetings in the works” KPI.
For example, one client frustrated with her search results was targeting Chief Marketing Officer roles at hedge funds in a more rural part of the U.S. When we looked at this KPI, it turned out that he was targeting 13 potential positions: 13 hedge funds, each with one CMO role. With this insight, he jump-started his search by expanding both geographically and by the types of companies he was targeting to also include larger investment management firms.
Using this KPI implies that you’re taking the active approach to your search. That is, you’re actively reaching out to companies and hiring decisionmakers regardless of whether you know there’s an opening. This approach boosts your chances of landing interviews because you’re not just waiting around for the job posting to show up or the search firm to call.
KPI #3: Tell your network of 200+ about your search
You’ll want to let your entire network know about your search. Maybe you’re thinking, “I only talk to five people a week, how am I going to tell 200 people about my search?” If you think about your network as anyone who might be open to helping you, this goal comes within reach. Using this definition, colleagues who you’ve been out of touch with for many years fall into your network. So do professors you’ve lost touch with, your neighbor, family and friends, and possibly even your dentist!
Keep in mind that weak ties are often the people who come through for you. For example, one client blind-copied her neighbor, whom she didn’t know well, on an email she sent to 100 people in her network asking for help with her search for a Head of Financial Planning and Analysis position. Her neighbor stepped up with an improbable connection; her husband’s brother’s wife worked for the CFO of a global media company, and she ended up getting an interview.
KPI #4: Re-contact at least 80% of your network every three to six weeks
Keeping in touch is key to being a good networker. Maybe you had an informational meeting with an executive who was very impressed by you. If you don’t keep in touch, however, they likely won’t remember you when they have a need a month or two later or learn of a colleague who’s hiring.
Keeping in touch is easy to do. A simple “hello and update” email would work, or send them a link to a useful article, or provide additional thoughts on your last meeting. The goal is to stay top of mind, not ask them for anything additional.
KPI #5: Convert 80% of meetings to another meeting
In an informational meeting or interview, your #1 goal should be to land another meeting. Structure your informational meetings, for example, so that you’ll achieve this outcome. Before your meeting, for example, see who the person you’re meeting with is connected to on LinkedIn, and then ask about one or two of these connections. Or, share with them a list of companies you’re targeting in the hope that they might suggest someone at one of those companies.
This mindset also applies to interviews that don’t result in an offer. If you got along with one or more of the interviewers, bring them into your network. Connect with them on LinkedIn after the interview process is over. Email them (or call them) after the interview and offer to stay in touch. Be super gracious, wish them well on who they decide to hire, then ask for feedback and, ultimately, a referral. This is how my client, after three such rejections and then requests for referrals within the same Fortune 100 company, landed an offer on the fourth try.