Recently a client asked me how they could find out more information about the health sector, apart from what they could find on the internet. I spoke to my friends in recruitment to find out exactly what are the best methods currently to get the inside track on an organisation which will assist someone in getting employment and this is what they said:
Ask your friends and colleagues if they know anyone in the sector that you could speak to. Look through their friends on Linkedin and see if any of them work in that sector, and say, ‘X, would it be possible that you could introduce me to Y’. Usually people are delighted to help.
If friends are unable to help, then you could write to someone that you have found in that sector. The letter could go along the lines of, ‘I am a recently graduate and I came across your name on ……… I am trying to understand more about the NHS and I was wondering if you could spare a few minutes to talk to me about your work at ……. I know that you will be very busy but if it was possible for you to spare 10-20 minutes to discuss your experiences, it would be hugely appreciated’. The success rate of these type of letters is around 40%.
If they do agree to meet with you, do your prep before you go. Find out areas such as the company financials, who sits on the Executive Board, what good news stories has the company had recently etc.
In the meeting, mirror the behaviour of the contact – it will make you more likeable. If they speak for 2 mins about themselves, you speak for 2 mins about yourself. If they are very businesslike, then you be very businesslike. The sort of questions that you could ask to start the conversation include – how is you day going so far?, how did you join the organisation? what projects are you working on right now?
Think about questions around TIARA
T- Trends eg ‘How do you predict it will be different in 5 years time?’, ‘Where is the market heading?’
I – Insights eg ‘What surprised you most about this role?’
A – Advice
R – Resources
A – Assignments
Good luck in your informational meetings and remember, try to keep it to 20-30 minutes long.