They’re Not Obligated to Help

by on September 27, 2017

They’re Not Obligated to Help

One bit of advice that a person who enters job search transition is likely to hear early in the process is the importance of networking with others. With statistics showing that as many as 80% of job positions landed are the result of some sort of networking connection, it certainly is sound advice. Many when they begin search, will say they don’t have a network. They’ll claim they don’t know anyone that can help. After some prompting, they are encouraged to think through all the people they may have ever worked with, family members, the contacts of family members, parents of their children’s school friends, others they will meet at professional meetings. All of these suggestions, and others like them are sound advice. And, yet they are not a guarantee that a given individual will help you. No one is obligated to speak up on your behalf.

So, what may keep a person from wanting to help one in career search? Sometimes it can be as simple as the job searcher is of one mindset, and the person they are seeking help from is of another. Those in search are often urged to build up their presence on social media tools, especially Linked In which is the best of those tools for one’s professional presence. And, indeed they may find others they have worked with in the past also on the Linked in platform. However, the person from their past while having a profile, may never look at their account, or not have their settings directed to send them emails from Linked In. Or, maybe they do see the contact, and then quickly get busy or overwhelmed with their own work or family life. Linked In responses are just not a priority to them.

Or, while they may recognize the contact, they’re hesitant to connect with them. Perhaps they did not think much of the person or their work ethic. They feel reluctant to put their reputation on the line for that person. In other instances, perhaps they would like to help, but they’ll explain that the company where they now work is a big company, and they don’t know anyone in the department that is hiring. Or, they do not know the hiring manager personally. Again, whatever the reason, there is a reluctance to go those extra steps.

Sometimes the lack of wanting to assist comes from ignorance. While many individuals are becoming familiar with the job search process of today and the tools and methods that support it, there are still many who are not. If they have not had to search for a job in over five to seven years, there is a mindset that is entrenched in methods of search that have long since passed on by. There are still some who may feel the best way to learn of openings is through the newspaper. Others may realize that there are online application systems, but have never filled out an online application themselves. Still others associate the hiring process only with the Human Resources Department, not realizing they are often the screeners or conduits in the process, but not the one who is actually making the hiring decision.

Yes it can be frustrating when it appears that those who are closest to you are reluctant to help put a “good word” in for you in your search. Those in search often learn that they actually receive more help from strangers they meet along the way, as opposed to those closest to them. Why would this happen? Often those strangers are able to empathize with their plight. They may very well be individuals who have been in search before. Or they have a desire to see good talent come into the company they work. Or it can be as simple as they want the “finder’s bonus” some companies pay for recommending a candidate and having that candidate hired.


The key point is this. Networking, making connections, seeing whom you may know in a company, learning about the culture of the company to which you are about to apply are all still good pieces of advice. To not follow them because one has had some setbacks in making the connections they need is foolish. That is why it is advised to not only make as many connections as possible, but to build relationships with those connections. Let them get to know you, who you are, the value you bring, the things you have accomplished. Frankly, that is the bottom line of the “need to network” message every time it is given.

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