Continuing in the hypothetical situation about “Paul,” here are some tips on handling a courtesy interview.
What to Say On the Call
“Hi! My name is XX, and I’m the Director of XX at Great Employer. I was speaking with XX today, and he recommended that I give you a call. He said you might want to explore advancing your career, and I’d like to know what you have in mind.” (Pause and see if Paul picks up on this; if not, ask if XX was correct; and if yes . . .) “Would you be available for lunch one day next week?”
What to Say in the Interview
First, set expectations accordingly. Start with the truth. “I wanted to meet with you, as I’ve heard good things about you. I’m not actively recruiting for a particular job, but things can change anytime. I thought it best to learn what you hope to do in your next position to review our situation and see if I can make a fit. Tell me what you’re hoping your future will hold.” SHUT UP and LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY to what he has to say. And then follow up with this: “While I try to stay on top of the industry, I certainly don’t have your vantage point on your current employer. Why do you think you need to look outside your current employer to achieve your goals?”
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