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Ever wondered if who know really determines if you get a job?  What if you know a lot of folks who are supposedly in the position to get you in front of an interviewing manager?  We asked A. Harrison Barnes, founder and president, his views on networking and the old adage of, “it’s who you know”.  Here’s what he had to say:

“First, there are definite benefits to knowing the right person; however, just because that “right person” moves you to  the front of the line, you still have to prove you can do the job and you have to convince that hiring manager that you indeed have what it takes”, says Barnes.  This is one reason some people are hesitant about referring someone to their employer.  They may like you perfectly well, but they may not be aware of your abilities as an accountant or human resources leader.

When possible, you should also try to develop your networking towards a mentor or even a former employer who can recommend you without hesitation because he knows you have what it takes.  A mentor naturally is one who’d know; after all, he helped build that foundation that is your career.

There are those whose neighbor is the company president and who’ve landed a job because of it, but if you can’t pull your weight, your time spent with the neighbor’s company isn’t likely going to be rewarding for your or advantageous for him.  Remember – you can leave the job, but odds are, you’re going to be neighbors for quite some time.  This is why you shouldn’t take advantage of someone’s position for the wrong reasons.

The founder also says it’s important to not write off the administrative assistant or file clerk as an important contact.  It very well could be the hiring manager believes the sun rises and sets on the secretary who never drops the ball, never fails to schedule the meeting or never forgets the client’s cold nature and remembers to turn the thermostat down.  Let’s face it, many companies are successful because of those in the background who make it happen.

Finally, A. Harrison Barnes reminds job seekers that there are many incredible positions that are had every day with absolutely not networking involved.  These jobs are filled by those who didn’t make a phone call and who didn’t call in a favor.  They knew they had what it takes without the head start and as a result, they easily bypassed even those with favorable recommendations that preceded their interviews.

Bottom line is not always about who you know, but rather, what you know, what you bring to the table and what you contribute to a company’s overall success.  Believe it or not, in the long run, that’s all that counts.

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