The Pharma Sales Interview Breakthrough Blog
Published in 1973 in the American Journal of Sociology by Mark Granovetter, "The Strength of Weak Ties" has become one of the most cited articles in social sciences.
In the study, Mark examines how 282 men in Boston found their current employment. He examined how they learned about the opportunities, who they reached out to for refererrals, how they got the interview for the opportunities, and who helped them...more specifically...who was the tie and were they "weak", "strong" or "absent. The categorization of a tie was based on:
Ultimately, what they author proposes is that in landing a job, connections were often very important. In fact, about 39% of the time the information about the job came from someone they knew at the hiring organization (keep in mind this was pre-internet). Then, the author states that about 45% of the time there was one intermediary between himself and the employer, 12% reported that there were 2 intermediaries, and 3 % said more than 2 intermediaries.
The author then goes on to state that with those that there are "strong" ties (2 individuals that are really connected), they live and work in the same social and business networks. So...they essentially inhabit the same space. Finding new opportunities through a person that you have a "strong" tie with is more difficult because you both know the same stuff...you see the same things...etc, etc.
Conversly, it is the "weak" ties or weak connections that you have, that there is less overlap socially and professionally. So, as a result, the weak connections you have can provide you with access to social and professional circles of which you don't know about or don't frequent...hence...you get exposed to new opportunities.
I thought this was fascinating and something I hadn't considered. My thoughts are this:
At the end of the day, what's the harm in doing that? You may still not get the job...but you have probably secured an interview, you will definitely know more about the wants and needs of the hiring team prior to that interview, and you have created a new network of weak connections that may help you the next time there is an opportunity.
Of course, that is a lot of work. It all depends on how important the opportunity is to you and your career.
Let me know what you think! Post your comments below.
Have a great day everyone!
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