This is the 3rd and final part of the Xing Guide. You can find the others here:
- Xing Guide 1/3 Recruiters – How to find and be found by recruiters
- Xing Guide 2/3 Events – How to meet potential hiring managers
- Xing Guide 3/3 Connect – How to search for and contact the right people
In this part I will dive into details on how to find and connect with people on Xing. This is basically similar to LinkedIn, however, the audience on Xing is much different as most are German speakers. Therefore you need a little bit of a different approach to reach these people as effectively as possible.
In my opinion, people from the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region are much different from Americans and people from the UK. Therefore you need to approach them in a different way.
Let’s take the Swiss for example. I am Swiss myself and many of us are much less aggressive in their communication and in making decisions. We tend to think twice or even many more times before we decide to do something that is even a little risky or takes time from our side. Also, if we get approach too directly, we might never respond. You need so sell yourself to us as we would like to be sold to.
Finding the right people
Most of the time you already know what people could be potential hiring managers for you. You should also consider connecting with people on the same level as you are. Find people with similar interests and hobbies so you have a better reason to connect instead of just your job search.
This is one of the reasons I like the search function on Xing. You can search for people’s interests. If you are a Software Developer and are looking to connect with team leaders and department heads, it can be a big plus if you have the same hobby or are members of the same club. If you do have these similarities, getting in contact and building a relationship is much easier.
Go to the advanced search function on Xing. Type in the location and region you are looking to target. You have several possibilities to search for the right people.
If you are searching for potential hiring managers, position titles are good. You can search for:
- Team leader
- Head of
- Department head
- Department manager
- Area manager
- Any other C-type
- Area head
- Managing director
To be able to include all these titles in one search instead of doing 10 searches, use boolean operators to search. These are functions like AND, OR, NOR, etc.
Title (now): Team leader OR head of OR CIO OR area head
You can attach as many positions into the search string as you want. Capitalisation does not matter in the search string.
This parameter is a great tool but only, if people who entered their profile used it right. Select “Executive” and you will not need to insert a position title any more as all people show up who have a management position. To search for recruiters, select “Recruiter” in the status.
Here you can type in anything you want depending on what area you work in. If you are in Java Development, type in Java. If you are a project manager, type in project management. Think about what your potential contact would write in his profile. Would he mention a technology? A sales tool? A project management methodology? Or maybe an industry?
If you search, use a combination of positions, keywords and sometimes use the status or don’t.
When you find people you would like to connect with, it is very important that you introduce yourself properly. As I mentioned I would use a slightly less aggressive way to connect than on LinkedIn because of the different mentality and culture in the DACH region.
Here are some examples I would start with:
“Dear Mr. Müller
I came across your profile on Xing as we work within the same area of expertise. I also saw that you like golf and as I play myself, maybe we could exchange some knowledge.
“Dear Mrs. Haller
I saw on Xing that you are a recruiter, specialized in the area of Software Development. I am currently in career transition and was wondering if my profile would fit your requirements for candidates. I am in Java Development since 7 years and speak fluent English and basic German.
Do you think my profile could be interesting for your client base?
I am looking forward to your feedback.
Even though the initial invitation message is important, follow up is much more crucial. The follow up is where you grab the attention or lose it.
When you do follow up, make sure you provide some great value. This can be valuable information, some advice or you offering your help.
I already digged deeper into this topic in a previous post and you can ready about how to provide value in your connection attempts with hiring managers or recruiters here.
You should also regularly share interesting articles, your ideas or anything else than can be shared. This will attract people that think like you and share your opinion.
Be active instead of reactive. Share your ideas, share your work if it’s interesting to your contacts. When you do, you show them that you separate yourself from the crowd that does nothing else than wait and see or just react.
1. React to external situations
2. Respond to external inputs
3. Initiate new ideas and events
Make sure you spend most of your time on the 3rd point and you will be seen as a leader and as a valuable member.