Working in the Executive Search industry means that networking is a large part of my daily activities. I love to connect people, which is essentially all I do. Whether it is connecting candidates with jobs, clients with the right consultants, or setting our teams at Mangaard & Partners. Not to mention how it often entangles with my private life. For example, meeting people in a social context that at some point end up as candidate. Just last week, I had at least three interesting experiences about how networking often surprises you and brightens your day.
A snap from the past…
Some 4-5 years ago, I led an executive search process for a Regional Director for Europe in a global production company. It was a great search, the role was exciting, and I had the opportunity to interview several fascinating people across Europe for the opportunity. We had a successful placement, but this story is about one of the candidates that didn’t get the job.
Jorge (not his real name) was an excellent candidate for the job. I was meeting a few candidates in the airport in Amsterdam, and Jorge was flying in for an interview.
Unfortunately, his plane was delayed and we only had time for a 20-minute meeting before I had to catch my plane home. But before he could disembark and we could find each other etc. we were down to 15 minutes. So, in oder to spend our time wisely, we decided to do a walk ‘n’ talk to my gate.
It was one of the most impressive interviews I’ve had in my entire career. One might think, that Jorge could have been shaken up a bit due to the delay or taken back by the walk instead of an actual interview. But not at all. Jorge just cut straight to the point, spoke almost non-stop for the full fifteen minutes. He was certain that he knew what I would ask him, so if it was alright with me, he would just tell me all I needed to know. He took a risk, he could have been wrong, and I would have ended up reconsider him as a possible candidate. But the amazing thing was, that he was 100 percent right. He managed to tell me all I wanted to know.
In the plane home I was still baffled but immediately decided he would be a shortlist candidate. Destiny, however, would that Jorge pulled out of the process. He was offered an excellent opportunity in his company, managing the APAC region.
It’s been almost five years since I talked to Jorge. But last week I got a snapchat request to add him and a message (yes, I try to be hip!).
I didn’t know the sender, though. The picture: A selfie of Jorge with a huge smile in front of the airport gate in Amsterdam where we say goodbye five years ago. The text said: “Back in Europe… Got a new job. Let’s meet soon.”
Looking forward to meeting Jorge again. Just a top-notch guy and now in a senior EMEA position.
Last week I was getting my car serviced. I decided to wait at the work shop, and just work a bit on my laptop.
During the hour I was there waiting, six or seven people came into the shop. But three of them were special:
First one was one of my former clients. We hadn’t talked for a couple of years since he moved to a competitor of his that was off limits for me since I still consulted for the company he left. We agreed to have a coffee after summer since he is again open for a new role and I might have a role coming up where he could be the perfect candidate.
The next person, I didn’t know. Until she asked me if I had any affiliation with Mangaard & Partners? It turns out; she just applied for a position at my company. She very politely presented herself and told me why she found the role so exciting, hoping she would be invited for an interview. She will. She seemed like a very skilled and kind person.
In the meantime, a few people came and left but just before my car was ready, the last person came in – I kid you not – it was the very first person I ever placed, working in Executive Search. He didn’t recognise me, I had forgotten his name, but I remembered his looks. I asked if it was him, and sure enough. He thanked me; it had been an excellent job. We exchanged business cards and I went on my way.
Wow! Small world!
I naturally interview a lot of people. Both for specific roles but also often just informal coffee meetings. The best part is also hearing about peoples’ passions, views on the world, etc.
Last week, I had an interview with a candidate that told me that his spare time was all used in renovating an old house he had just bought with his wife. The biggest challenge was that he wanted a unique and custom made Greek decorated marble wall in the hall. But he had trouble finding an artisan that could conduct the artwork he wanted. I told him that I had a candidate interview a few months back, where that person told me a similar story. I just quickly looked through my LinkedIn on my mobile and found the person and sent him a message.
We continued the interview, and when we were done, a message ticked in on my phone, name and number to an artisan doing that exact artwork. The candidate was thrilled!
I just received a good bottle of wine from the candidate; he went further to Shortlist, fortunately that was decided before I got the bottle of wine!
I love networking.