I keep hearing this phrase used by many in career transition: “I would never work at that company”. It’s a common and natural thing to say when you personally don’t want to work a specific place that holds a negative association. When you communicate what you don’t want to the people in the best position to help us find meaningful opportunity, it is a clear mistake. But Andrew, I really don’t want to work there! I know, I know.
Enter the salesman in me. When I approach a potential client who has a modicum of interest in my services, I reach for the prequalification questions. These are questions to which I am seeking specific answers as to whether or not the prospect and I can actually do business together. In the case of the never-work-for-over-my-dead body response to an offer of assistance, it’s important to ask questions first before saying never. When I ask a job seeking professional, “Would you consider HP, or Nike, or Intel or any particular company as a potential employer?” And I get the never response, I don’t even ask why. See, I know–as do you–many people. In job search, in sales, in virtually any profession, your ability to meet the right people is critical.
That begs the questions: if you met someone at said company, is that a requirement to accept employment there? Is it mandatory? Is it even an endorsement of their products, services or corporate philosophy and culture? The answer to all those questions is NO! Networking is still by far the best method to find opportunity. Networking has a rich commodity. This commodity is all around us. It’s called PEOPLE. So, why limit your access to people with an “I never” response? Great question. The answer: DON’T.
So what’s the worst that can happen if you meet a 1st level/degree connection at said company that you don’t want to work for, but that person has a connection at a company that you DO want to work for, or with, or partner strategically? Keep the opportunity flowing, focus on communicating your unique value and brand. Meet more people, refine your messaging, and keep meeting more people. Eventually, your networking interaction will transform into an interview so be ready.
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