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How to Ask for a Referral

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  • Mar 24th, 2013 10:48 pm
[OP]
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May 4, 2010
1833 posts
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How to Ask for a Referral

Now I've read a lot about this but I'm still not sure how to go about it and I'd like some opinions.

I'm using LinkedIn to see who knows the HR manager in the company or the owner and am going to ask them if they could possible refer me. How to word such a request without putting that person on the spot? Some of these people I don't know super well or haven't necessarily kept in touch with. Is this a bad idea? I don't expect that it'll get me the job but an interview at least with some backing. I need to investigate this route now b/c interviewing isn't getting me the results I need (companies not serious, referrals will always beat out a regular candidate etc.). Having a contact is the closest step I can see to getting a job. I see it happen everyday and I'm putting any foolish notions of pride behind me. I hate asking other people for things and feel that I should be able to land something through my own merits... but that belief is becoming less likely and is admittedly naive when all things are considered.

Any thoughts? Has anyone ever done this that can shed some light?
7 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 27, 2011
3048 posts
342 upvotes
Toronto
I've given referrals before based on LinkedIn - but I will preface that I only gave referrals to people I know and trust. Are your connections close enough that they can spend 90 seconds selling you to their connection? If yes, then it's worth it. If not, then I wouldn't bother.
[OP]
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May 4, 2010
1833 posts
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Fair enough, although at this point I don't think it can hurt to ask and if the answer is no, thats fine.
Sr. Member
May 11, 2009
604 posts
197 upvotes
Why don't you just add the recruiters yourself and then send them a private message? That's what I did, and it worked really well.
[OP]
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May 4, 2010
1833 posts
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Ohmare_Q wrote: Why don't you just add the recruiters yourself and then send them a private message? That's what I did, and it worked really well.
Good idea, although this particular company, its not a recruiter its an HR person and I don't think they'll add me.

The funny thing is, I've gone this route in the past (getting my resume passed along through various links but it hasn't yielded anything).

What do people actually write when requesting this? I'm trying to figure out the right wording. Any guidance would be appreciated.

This and cold calling are my next steps.
Newbie
Mar 4, 2011
16 posts
Toronto
I think it is important that you are genuine with your request. Just be honest and no BS. Talk about what you're interested in, how your interest/experience fits in with the company, and how you came across this person. Then talk about how you would like to know more about the company and other people in the company to talk to. Don't just shovel the resume into their face and ask for referral, because people generally don't just like to be told what to do without even knowing who you are. If you've a particular position you see online or know about, ask about it, and show genuine interest. It is very similar to one of the thread here about networking. Try to build a connection. Once you've got that conversation going, it goes a long way.

Even easier if you already know the person, you could ask them how they're liking their job etc, and tell them you're in this job searching situation, and what you've been up to. Ask them if they have any inside information, etc. Once again, just be genuine and polite, that's the key.
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Oct 3, 2010
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It's hard to ask someone for a referral if you don't keep in touch with them. I always think this way:

Referral usually work when:
1) John knows Bob very well. They have been good friends/colleagues for years. They keep in touch every couple of months or so.
2) John knows Bob very well. Bob has a friend who is looking for a job. John will help Bob's friend.
3) John knows Bob. John works in Accounting but Bob works in IT. John will help Bob get a job at his company (no competition because they don't work in the same department)

Referral usually don't work in this situation:
1) John knows Bob back in University. Bob disappeared for years (no contact at all) due to his success. Bob suddenly gets laid off and starts crying for help. Bob messages everyone on LinkedIn and the first message is "Hey John, how's it going". The second message is "Is your company hiring?".
--

I usually don't ask "is your company hiring" as the second message. I knew a friend who works for a company. At that time, I was unemployed and shared my interview stories with him. I wasn't pushy and told him about my failure attempts. I kept on job hunting for months and didn't ask him to refer me to the company he works for. One day, he says "Give me your resume! We have 1 position open!". I gave him my resume and got hired!

I guess the key is: not to force the other person to help you right away.
Newbie
Mar 4, 2011
16 posts
Toronto
world25 wrote: I guess the key is: not to force the other person to help you right away.
Amen to that!

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