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How to land a meeting with the right person at a target company

schedule referral interviews, set up referral interviews, network like a pro,
Schedule referral interviews to learn
about companies and opportunities.
Unlike informational interviews (which help you learn about a company or job), referral interviews help you meet people who can refer you to the right people at companies where you want to work. Because of their tremendous potential, schedule referral interviews often!

To arrange such meetings ...

  • Determine who you want to meet and why. For example, meet first with influential people you know who may know decision makers at your target companies.
  • Research intended interviewees and their companies.
  • Call, email or invite people to connect on LinkedIn, explaining why you want to meet.
  • Read this article to learn meeting set-up tips.
  • Create a Referral Interview Success Sheet based on my template and bring an updated version to each meeting.
During the meeting ...
  • Present your completed Referral Interview Success Sheet and talk your way through each section to acquaint interviewees with your background, accomplishments and strengths.
  • Show them the Target Companies section where you've listed companies where you'd like to work along with the name of people you know there (if applicable). Encourage them to fill in blank spaces next to target companies with someone who you could contact.
  • Ask interviewees to look at the Other Companies section (which you leave blank) to encourage them to suggest other companies and people to contact.
referral interview target companies,
List your target companies and any contacts you know.

referral interview companies,
Leave the Other Companies section blank for the interviewee to fill in.

After the meeting ...
  • Follow up by email to thank the person and to secure contact information for the people they suggested you call.
  • Ask if they prefer to contact the people first (this can be a good opportunity for the person to vouch for you), or if they prefer that you contact them with no introduction.

Elements of the Referral Interview Success Sheet
Your Name: Include degrees, certification abbreviations (if applicable)
Example: Bill Brown, MBA, CPA

Contact information: (phone number, e-mail address and address)


Power statement: Summarize boldly what you offer professionally. Use this same statement on your resume and LinkedIn profile.


Sales leader skilled at achieving goals and motivating sales teams.
An accomplished treasurer who approaches challenges with common-sense solutions.

Proof points: State experiences and skills to prove your power statement.
Background includes extensive experience in executive speech writing, public relations,  …
Proven track record of energizing under-performing organizations, mergers, etc. …

Key Accomplishments:
Company 1:
Include the company name and city, your title, and your years of service

• Accomplishment 1:
Include a quantifiable accomplishment (% saved, $ raised, number trained, etc.) and how you did it.
24% sales increase by implementing point-of-purchase displays.
$210,000 in reduced costs by maximizing efficiencies.

• Accomplishment 2:

Company 2:
• Accomplishment 1:
• Accomplishment 2:

Examples: Six Sigma black belt, negotiations, forecasting, customer service, etc.

List companies. Ask interviewees to suggest a company contact.
Example: XYZ Corp. -- Company Contact: (leave blank)_________________

Leave blank. Ask interviewees to suggest companies and contacts within those companies.

Example: Company: (leave blank) Company Contact: (leave blank)


Referral interviews work!
By arranging frequent referral interviews, you can gain many valuable referrals and learn about job opportunities that may not even be posted. So give it a try … request an interview meeting with an influential person today. Each person you meet can bring you closer to a hiring decision maker who is seeking someone just like you … and that, my dear friend, can help you land a great job.

What tips or questions about referral interviews do you have? Share them via the Contact Us tab or on the LinkedIn discussion board that might have brought you here. If I can be of help to you, let me know. Invite me to connect on LinkedIn or send me a note via the Contact tab. -- Kathy


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