[Choose Me, Hire Me!] Networking for CEO’s?

Headlines blare: “Why You Should Hire Me.” While times may be challenged, there is work (and jobs) to be had. I’ve been in the people (and teams) assessment business for over 25 years, both as a coach to managers and teams and as someone directly responsible for hiring thousands of people through roles running large staffing / recruiting operations. I’ve designed selection processes, designed and run interviewer training programs, and written and spoken on the subjects of recruiting and selection. From that experience I have a pretty good sense of how and why people get hired. “Choose Me, Hire Me!” was a nine part series on the ways people can improve their chances of being hired. This is a follow-up commentary.

This past Sunday’s New York Times [LINK] article by Michael Winerip “Generation B – Resume Writing for C.E.O.’s ” caught my eye in more ways than one.

The story chronicled the tale of a couple of executives, including one named Mark Gorham [Note : this post has been corrected from an earlier version which misidentified Greg Sam ], an accomplished and now-unemployed former rising corporate star, and the steps he was taking to job hunt through the high-end Boston based firm New Directions.

What struck me in the article is the dread Mr. Gorham approached networking, even with people with whom he had worked. As I’ve posted before in the nine-part series “Choose Me, Hire Me!” on this blog, developing AND maintaining an active network, apart from doing great work in your job, is likely the most important thing you can do to sustain your career.

Among other things, your personal networks save you time when you need to chase down resources about which you have only limited experience, they help you when you need to find someone who might have an encountered a business challenge that’s got you stumped, and oh yes, helping you bounce off ideas and job leads when the time comes.  As I pointed out in Part 1: Know Yourself of the “Choose Me, Hire Me! ” series  you should take growing and nurturing your network as an essential key of career management.

Part of nurturing your network and the people in it – not unlike nurturing plants in a backyard – is taking time with people every know and again. It doesn’t have to be when you need a job – it’s preferably when you don’t need a job. Giving folks a call to say “You came to mind today and I wanted just to call and catch up” works, as does calling to say you had not crossed paths with someone recently and just want to say hello. For people who are more inclined to e-mail than calling on the phone, dropping a line with some interesting news piece that made you think of them is a way to keep the connection.

Good networks are about helpfulness, resources, reciprocity, and staying connected. In the case of Mr. Gorham, accomplished as he is, it looks like this is one business and personal step that got missed on his way up the corporate ladder.