Ah, Kevin Bacon, love him or hate him, I say refer to him more than I should. I have been known to date myself when I mention his name to a potential intern of my niece. Wikipedia goes into detail on the “Bacon Index” but, I am not going to go there. I want to focus on the simple idea that you can make a bacon number out of anyone. In non-bacon terms, you find a connection, a person in common in most situations, breaking the ice to a more productive conversation.
I tell all students, job seekers and professionals if you are not on LinkedIn, make it happen. I do use LinkedIn to promote our blog as well as positions I am hiring for however, I tell others to use it as a business card holder. You are never going to remember my name 6 months from now but, if you are applying for a position with me it’s good to have the connection down the road.
From an HR perspective, why would you not want to keep in touch with past candidates, past colleagues?
Making the Connection
I personally think any position has room for networking and making strong connections. Do you have a meeting with someone new to your organization? What about the most recent passive candidate you have been working with?
Take 5 minutes prior to that meeting or phone call, do some research. Do you see a common connection? Not only does this show the person you are talking with that you care but, that you are putting in extra time to a new relationship.
You would be amazed now only what you can discover about a person but, how smoothly a conversation will go after you have said, “I saw that you worked at ABC Company” or “I went to Marquette University too”.
Do what you say you are going to do
I often volunteer myself to review resumes for people I know. If I say I am going to do it, I will do it. Granted it may take me a bit based on my schedule but, I can guarantee you will hear from me again. I don’t always work at the pace I think people I am helping would like to hear from me at but, it will happen.
Follow up not only builds your reputation but, leads to referrals for GREAT candidates.
Good Ol’ nice to meet you card, when was the last time you got one? Chances are not recently. I send them often. In Fact I have a few that go out every day. These cards can be a welcome to our company, thanks for taking the time to have coffee with me or even great to talk to you yesterday.
These cards are always handwritten and always include my business card.
Building strong relationships are not only important to your career at any stage but, can help you become a master at finding the connection, a bacon link between you and another person to build a stronger relationship.
Jen Ray Fun Fact: My bacon number is 3 if you were wondering. I have also been known to give other celebs their own numbers (Steven Tyler, Bruce Springsteen etc).