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Networking can be the most difficult aspect of a job, and David Bradford, HireVue CEO, recognizes that challenge. But he also has a set of principles that he lives by—and recommends others live by—whether they are good at networking or not.
“When I entered law school, I was the least connected person on planet Earth to the legal community, and my Mom said to me, ‘David, don’t you know that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’” said Bradford at ACG Utah’s Jumping the S Curve breakfast series yesterday.
“I remember hearing it again in 1977…and that really resonated with me at the time. And I kind of determined in my life that from that point forward I would connect with people. And so I’m kind of known as a connector, and I love doing it,” he said. “I love connecting people to opportunity.”
Bradford’s six principles are:
In respect to the first principle (give with no thought of getting), Bradford recounted a time when a connection called him up and asked if they could go to lunch and discuss potential job opportunities. Despite being extremely busy, Bradford took the time to sit down with the person and offer referrals. “The good news is he actually got a job with one of those companies, and so that was fantastic,” he said. “At the end of the lunch he said, ‘Dave, I so appreciate you taking the time and these referrals…what can I do for you?’”
Expecting nothing in return from the person he gave referrals to, Bradford ended up receiving another connection to a Saudi prince that ended up providing funding for a project he had been working on.
“There is a law of reciprocity in the universe that when someone does something for you, there’s an intuitive feeling that you have—that you want to give back. And you may not be able to do it that day, that time, that hour—but a year later, two years later you’ll remember that someone did you a favor,” said Bradford.
The principles he lives by may speak for themselves, but he noted, “Networking is pure hard work. You’ve got to set aside time to do it. You’ve got to set aside time to connect with people on LinkdIn. I post something every morning.”
And, speaking of LinkdIn, he noted that sending requests to connect is a perfect time to personalize the interaction. “Take the time to personalize that request to connect. If you personalize everything, you can make a big difference,” he said. “Never do anything in your business career or your personal life that’s going to cause you to lose credibility in what you do.”