How to secure an information meeting – what to say

This sections provides information to secure a meeting with a potential hiring manager both on the phone and via email/social media.

What to say on the phone, once you are put through to the ‘right’ person!

When speaking to the potential hiring manager, if you’ve been referred.

“ Hi, my name is Joe Smith.  Jill Taylor suggested I give you a call, is now a good time to chat for a few minutes?  The reason for my call is that Jill said you know a lot about Advertising.  I am currently researching opportunities for Account Directors in Advertising. Would you be open to spending 20 minutes with me talking about your industry and where you see trends?  Your opinions and insights will greatly help me to get some ideas where I should be focusing.  I realise you are probably very busy so I am happy to meet for a coffee before work or at lunch if that makes it easier for you.  Do you have 20 minutes in the next 2 weeks for me?”

This is to the point, friendly yet assertive.  If the contact agrees to meet you, send a confirmation email of the date and time and thank them for talking with you. If they refuse to meet you, ask if they know anyone else that may be in a position to offer their insights.  Mention any competitors, suppliers or customers you know.

If you get knocked back, don’t worry its not anything personal, they don’t know you. They are probably busy.  Do not get discouraged and stop making calls.  The next person may be the person who has a job. If you stop digging, you are not going to find gold.  Gold is what you will find with perseverance.

When speaking to a potential hiring manager, you don’t know!

First find something in common.  Google the person you wish to contact. If they are a tennis player and so are you – there’s a common interest. If they are a member of the same LinkedIn group or they know someone you know – there’s a common interest.  If they studied the same degree or went to the same university or worked in the same company or industry – there’s a common interest.  Find something that you can use in your introduction to them.

See below for an example script.

“ Hi Kelly, my name is Justine Grey, we haven’t spoken before but I noticed that you and I went to the same school so we may have passed each other in the play ground.  The reason for my call is to ask if you would be open to gifting me 20 minutes of your time. I am conducting research into your industry and I would greatly appreciate, if you could share your experience of it with me. I am happy to come up to meet you any time it suits in the next three weeks.  Do you have 20 mins to spare for a coffee?”

What to say when you don’t know the person you want to connect with & you have been unable to find something in common.

Use a similar approach to the above, however, try flattery and appeal to the person’s ego.

“ Hi Steve, my name is Iman, to be completely transparent, we haven’t spoken before, however, I’ve been conducting research into ABC and your name came up as someone who is likely to be expert in that area.  Hence my call.  I wondered if you’d be open to chatting to me perhaps over a coffee and share some of your knowledge of ABC”.   OR

“Hi, my name is Suri, I am exploring roles in your industry and wondered if you’d be open to chatting to me about how I might gain experience in your industry?”

After you have delivered whichever introduction you select. You might be asked who you are and what you want.  When asked this be honest.  Tell the person you are looking to learn more about either the job, or the industry and the best way to do that is from people in the field.  If they ask where you are calling from, say you aren’t calling from a company, this is independent research. If they ask, “Are you looking for a job”?  You response is, “I am only looking for information to help me better understand (insert the type of role you are looking for) or the industry”.  Tell them you understand their time is valuable, which is why you are happy to buy them a coffee and limit the meeting to 20 mins/30 mins (insert what feels right).

NB: The only time you would ask if the person had a job directly is if the job you are seeking is one of many or the jobs are know to have high turnover rates, such as Truck Drivers or Call Center roles.  In this case the direct approach often works, such as “Hi my name is Gerald, I’d like to speak to you about any potential jobs your company may have, I am an experienced XXX”

Via email
When contacting a potential hiring manager, if you’ve been referred.

The manner in which you contact someone on-line is very similar to the approach you would take when phoning someone directly.

If you have the persons email, adapt the script to suit.  See example below

In the subject line write: Referral from (name of the person referring them) Jill Taylor

Dear Fred,

Jill Taylor suggested I connect with you, as she tells me you are an Advertising expert.  I am currently researching opportunities for Account Directors in Advertising and wondered if you would be open to spending half an hour with me talking about your industry and where you see trends?  Your opinions and insights will greatly help me to get some ideas where I should be focusing.  I realise you are probably very busy so I am happy to fit in with you any time in the next two weeks.  I will only take up half an hour of your valuable time.

My contact details are below.  Please email or call to let me know what time suits.  If I haven’t heard in a few days, I’ll reconnect as I guess you will be busy.

Thank you in advance, I do appreciate that you will be doing me a favour and I hope to be able to reciprocate down the track.

Kind Regards,
Joe Smith
Tel: 0411- 111111

Via LinkedIn
Find a target contact and connect on LinkedIn. Send them a connect message, such as the one above.

Once the person connects with you. Send a message that says.  “Thanks for connecting with me, I hope to meet with you in person in the future. Kind Regards”

Now that you have their details, you can either send them a follow up email or call them directly. Use groups in LinkedIn to find potential hiring managers for you to connect with.  For example, if you are looking for a Financial Accounting role in Retail, search for groups such as CFO’s or Retail.  Start your search as broad as possible then narrow it down using the features in LinkedIn.

Never send the standard LinkedIn connection. Always tailor your message. Be aware the mobile version of LinkedIn, sends standard connections, so its best to connect via your PC, not your mobile device.