Counter-intuitive finding regarding one's personal social network #jobs #SNA-ONA-VNA


Bernadette Boas <bernadette.boas@...>
 

Tom, Validas and others,

 

I know I am late to this discussion, but having just gone through some experiences lately, I thought I would share:

 

I agree that many people, employed and unemployed, do not build a network, and work that network , while they have a job, or when they do not. And why not, even when you have a job a network is key to new projects, challenges and opportunities, even new jobs.

 

Though I just started my own business, I spent the first part of the year with an Outplacement Group, that did a fantastic job in training, coaching and teaching how to network a room, gather key information and contacts from current and new acquaintances and sources, and how to leverage all of that new found network in your job search, promotion, etc.  Some of their pointers were:

 

-          Stressed that the best time to look for a job was when you have a job – therefore building, maintaining and enhancing your network is critical

-          Held “Working the Room” networking training sessions using mock scenarios for making introductions, asking the right questions, and closing for a valuable contact or source name

-          Stressed that people should not position their networking discussions as ‘job search’, but more so information gathering sessions to collect ideas, suggestions and guidance from the individual, vs. wanting to know something about a job.

o   This concept was the key piece to the issue; current networks do not have new information to share.

§  They absolutely do, but since they know you so well, and ‘the hunt for a job opening’ is the usual thing someone is asking for when ‘must do networking’, their mind gets turned off to new ideas, what they are thinking is “oh gosh, I do not know of any job openings or have any’

§  I have learned and it is preached, everyone wants to help you, therefore be sure to ask and position what it is you may need properly, so they can.

o   Instead, use every networking activity as ‘information gathering’, collecting ideas, suggestions and guidance from new folks, and especially from your current long standing network. When requesting time with someone; tell them that “I want to gather your ideas, suggestions and guidance” that will support my networking activities…..and you will be amazed at how many contacts and new ideas they will share.

§  I have significant proof that this approach works, as my current network was and is key to my ability to find opportunities, projects and clients.

o   And again, as Valdis said below, none of us can look at networking as a temporary short term thing. We never know what is going to happen; good or bad, we need to work and grow our network for any of it that may occur.

o   Pay Forward – in the last several months, I have focused a good amount of time on helping others find jobs, leads and contacts; even before I was provided any. I have found that paying forward and helping others, has a 2-3 time return back, of contacts, leads and opportunities. When people see that you are helping others and opening your network to them, they work really hard to help you.:)

 

 

One last thing: there is great debates on whether size of networks, and ensuring all are quality contacts for you, is a critical element for successful networks. I too have learned that a not so quality contact may not be useful to me today, but down the road, they could be. Therefore, unless someone is completely harmful to your network, add them. You never know when you can use them. And again, I have found 1-2 instances of that happening with me.

 

I hope that is useful.

 

 

Bernadette Boas

678-438-1908

The Boas Group

Bernadette.boas@...

 

“Driving Change, Delivering You Results”

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Valdis Krebs
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 6:41 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] Re: Counter-intuitive finding regarding one's personal social network

 

Tom,

None, as far as I know. I am coaching several recently riffed friends
in "network building". The only thing many of these professional
outplacement firms[every friend got a different firm based on his/her
past employer] do is to proclaim networking as a "must do" activity --
but they do not back it up with training/coaching/teaching.

The one common problem I see in most of my recently riffed friends is
they did NOT build their network before they needed it. And what ties
they had were all massively redundant to their immediate corporate
colleagues -- many who got let go together with them.

They are madly networking now, but everyone they now meet knows they
have a transaction they are anxious to pull out of their back
pocket... "needy networking" [as I call it] has a large failure rate.

The message I keep repeating: The network you are building now should
not atrophy once you get your new job! In fact use your new job to
expand and diversify your network -- always have several paths in case
your job ends tomorrow. I also keep reminding them that quantity is
not the answer -- build a strategic, wide-ranging network, with both
strong and weak ties. Size is not the prize -- it is reach that
matters.

Valdis

On Jun 10, 2008, at 4:40 PM, Tom Short wrote:

> Now I find myself
> wondering how many of the job search agencies are aware of these
> findings, and incorporate the conclusions into their "how to"
> materials on networking for job seekers. I haven't seen anything
> about "weak ties" being so valuable. Interesting!


Valdis Krebs <valdis@...>
 

A better way to think of weak ties is as "bridging" ties -- connections you have to people that run in different circles and therefore have access to different information/knowledge/opinions/ ideas/etc than you do.

Valdis

On Jun 10, 2008, at 5:32 PM, Erick Thompson wrote:

Tom,

One more tidbit on weak ties.

A close friend and colleague from British Telecom once told me that your close knit group of strong ties will give you great access and deep sharing, but not so much new knowledge and connections because you already read the same books, think the same thoughts as your close group.

It is the weak ties where you get the greatest extension of your knowledge, network and new perspectives.

Erick J Thompson
Partner | Interactive Knowledge Solutions LLC
erick@interactiveknowledgesolutions.com
(612) 235-6358 Office | (612) 605-4827 Fax
(612) 384-0980 Mobile



From: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com [mailto:sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Tom Short
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 3:40 PM
To: sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Counter-intuitive finding regarding one's personal social network

Thanks, all, for your thoughts, pointers and insights. The
Granovetter work was especially illuminating and helpful. Hadn't
heard of him before - very helpful pointer.

So that pretty much clears up my question. Now I find myself
wondering how many of the job search agencies are aware of these
findings, and incorporate the conclusions into their "how to"
materials on networking for job seekers. I haven't seen anything
about "weak ties" being so valuable. Interesting!


Valdis Krebs <valdis@...>
 

Tom,

None, as far as I know. I am coaching several recently riffed friends in "network building". The only thing many of these professional outplacement firms[every friend got a different firm based on his/her past employer] do is to proclaim networking as a "must do" activity -- but they do not back it up with training/coaching/teaching.

The one common problem I see in most of my recently riffed friends is they did NOT build their network before they needed it. And what ties they had were all massively redundant to their immediate corporate colleagues -- many who got let go together with them.

They are madly networking now, but everyone they now meet knows they have a transaction they are anxious to pull out of their back pocket... "needy networking" [as I call it] has a large failure rate.

The message I keep repeating: The network you are building now should not atrophy once you get your new job! In fact use your new job to expand and diversify your network -- always have several paths in case your job ends tomorrow. I also keep reminding them that quantity is not the answer -- build a strategic, wide-ranging network, with both strong and weak ties. Size is not the prize -- it is reach that matters.

Valdis

On Jun 10, 2008, at 4:40 PM, Tom Short wrote:

Now I find myself
wondering how many of the job search agencies are aware of these
findings, and incorporate the conclusions into their "how to"
materials on networking for job seekers. I haven't seen anything
about "weak ties" being so valuable. Interesting!


Erick Thompson <erick@...>
 

Tom, 

 

One more tidbit on weak ties.

 

A close friend and colleague from British Telecom once told me that your close knit group of strong ties will give you great access and deep sharing, but not so much new knowledge and connections because you already read the same books, think the same thoughts as your close group.  

 

It is the weak ties where you get the greatest extension of your knowledge, network and new perspectives.

 

Erick J Thompson

Partner | Interactive Knowledge Solutions LLC

erick@...

(612) 235-6358  Office | (612) 605-4827  Fax

(612) 384-0980  Mobile

 

 

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Tom Short
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 3:40 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Counter-intuitive finding regarding one's personal social network

 

Thanks, all, for your thoughts, pointers and insights. The
Granovetter work was especially illuminating and helpful. Hadn't
heard of him before - very helpful pointer.

So that pretty much clears up my question. Now I find myself
wondering how many of the job search agencies are aware of these
findings, and incorporate the conclusions into their "how to"
materials on networking for job seekers. I haven't seen anything
about "weak ties" being so valuable. Interesting!


Tom Short <tman9999@...>
 

Thanks, all, for your thoughts, pointers and insights. The
Granovetter work was especially illuminating and helpful. Hadn't
heard of him before - very helpful pointer.

So that pretty much clears up my question. Now I find myself
wondering how many of the job search agencies are aware of these
findings, and incorporate the conclusions into their "how to"
materials on networking for job seekers. I haven't seen anything
about "weak ties" being so valuable. Interesting!


Carol H. Tucker
 


Valdis Krebs <valdis@...>
 

This is all explained in the book "Getting a Job" by Mark Granovetter. Written in 1974 it is very relevant today. Parts are very academic, but overall it is a very worthwhile read about how networks bring knowledge of job openings at some social distance. Granovetter is the originator of the term "strength of weak ties" ... which you have just stumbled across Tom.

Valdis

On Jun 9, 2008, at 8:23 PM, Tom Short wrote:

I'm in the midst of job hunting, looking for my next position. One of
the tools I am using extensively for this is networking - no surprises
there, I guess. I'm part of a job search work team that is operated
by the outplacement services firm I'm signed up with (part of my
severance package - very helpful), and each week we meet for a couple
hours to compare notes, help each out with ideas/suggestions/support,
etc.

When the topic of networking comes up we are all surprised to discover
that when we ask for help making new connections - for instance in a
target employer - the most help comes from people we don't know well,
or at all. This is in stark contrast with the lack of help we get
from those who we would normally consider closest to us - our close
personal friends and family members. I have experienced this myself -
it was quite surprising at first, but now I just consider it normal.

This seems quite counter-intuitive to me in terms of the way social
capital is supposed to work - or am I missing something?

Anyone know of any research on this, or have experience, either
similar to the contrary?


Patrick Lambe
 

I wonder if this is a function of your strong ties (people closer to you) seeing pretty much the same opportunity landscape you do, and moreover knowing your likes and dislikes, filter quite heavily before making suggestions?

Weaker ties see different opportunity landscapes from you, and don't know enough to filter.

This would be an interpretation folllowing Granovetter's classic 1973 article "The Strength of Weak Ties" 
American Journal of Sociology 78: 1360-1380.

However, the characteristics of the labour market and trust also seem to play a role in whether the weak ties work for you. see: http://individual.utoronto.ca/amarin/uploads/85749/job_info.pdf which suggests that people who are also job hunting are simply more alert and attentive to job opportunities than people who are not.

and Ronald Burt has done some good work on trust and information transfer, Structural Holes (1992) http://www.amazon.com/dp/0674843711?&camp=212361&creative=380733&linkCode=wey&tag=leavethegreat-20

Or it could just be you've been fortunate enough to bump into a bunch of nice strangers.

P


On 10 Jun 2008, at 8:23 AM, Tom Short wrote:

I'm in the midst of job hunting, looking for my next position. One of
the tools I am using extensively for this is networking - no surprises
there, I guess. I'm part of a job search work team that is operated
by the outplacement services firm I'm signed up with (part of my
severance package - very helpful), and each week we meet for a couple
hours to compare notes, help each out with ideas/suggestions/support,
etc. 

When the topic of networking comes up we are all surprised to discover
that when we ask for help making new connections - for instance in a
target employer - the most help comes from people we don't know well,
or at all. This is in stark contrast with the lack of help we get
from those who we would normally consider closest to us - our close
personal friends and family members. I have experienced this myself -
it was quite surprising at first, but now I just consider it normal.

This seems quite counter-intuitive to me in terms of the way social
capital is supposed to work - or am I missing something?

Anyone know of any research on this, or have experience, either
similar to the contrary?



Matt Moore <laalgadger@...>
 

Tom,

I think you have just replicated one of the most
famous finding in social network research - Mark
Granovetter's 1973 paper "The Strength of Weak Ties".

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/soc/people/mgranovetter/documents/granstrengthweakties.pdf

"Of those finding a job through contacts, 16.7% said
they saw their contact often at the time, 55.6% said
occasionally and 27.8% rarely"

I sure Valdis could comment on this at length.

BTW Andrew McAfee has been using MG's tie-strength
stuff in some of his recent Enterprise 2.0
presentations.

Matt

P.S. GOod luck with finding a job.


Tom Short <tman9999@...>
 

I'm in the midst of job hunting, looking for my next position. One of
the tools I am using extensively for this is networking - no surprises
there, I guess. I'm part of a job search work team that is operated
by the outplacement services firm I'm signed up with (part of my
severance package - very helpful), and each week we meet for a couple
hours to compare notes, help each out with ideas/suggestions/support,
etc.

When the topic of networking comes up we are all surprised to discover
that when we ask for help making new connections - for instance in a
target employer - the most help comes from people we don't know well,
or at all. This is in stark contrast with the lack of help we get
from those who we would normally consider closest to us - our close
personal friends and family members. I have experienced this myself -
it was quite surprising at first, but now I just consider it normal.

This seems quite counter-intuitive to me in terms of the way social
capital is supposed to work - or am I missing something?

Anyone know of any research on this, or have experience, either
similar to the contrary?