More subtle than sending a resume, the exploratory meeting is a way to open doors to potential employers without necessarily appearing to beg for a job… Let’s see what it is.
The exploratory meeting is an informal meeting that is requested with a director, manager or professional of the same hierarchical level, to obtain information on the company and its industry.
For the job seeker, it is a way to expand your network of contacts while gaining an inside view of the “hidden” job market. For the employer, it’s a way to share his expertise while building his pool of potential employees.
Marie Plamondon, a writer who left university in 2008, chose this technique to take the job market by storm. “I called a few companies that interested me in order to meet them. None of them officially had open positions. And yet, that’s how I got my first job!”
Opening up by employers
Obviously, you will not get a job every time. This is not the primary purpose of these meetings, Martin Houle, talent agent and founder of Jobzylum, explains. “Exploratory meetings can be extremely effective to the extent that they are done for the honest purpose of learning more about a particular position, and not to circumvent the recruitment process for a current posting.”
Dominique Doucette, a recruitment specialist, is one of the employers open to such meetings. “Yes, I sometimes meet people to explore their profile. I think the job has to bring as much to the person as the person brings to the job. In this sense, I have met candidates and called them back a few months later to offer them a job that suited their profile better. The important thing is to remain transparent in the process.”
Targeting the right person
For a meeting to bear fruit, the time has to be taken to target the right person. “In general, I advise my clients to contact the manager or department head,” says Martin Houle. “This person will have the flexibility to accept the meeting, will be well equipped to answer questions and will have a certain decision-making power in the event that he would like to move on to the next step.”