2020-12-17T14:35:45-05:00January 24th, 2019|

Networking your way to land a job in Canada: An interview with Dhruve Khanna

Mr. Dhruve Khanna is a Customer Insights Integration Manager at Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC). He is a business and analytics strategy professional, with a strong background in enabling data-driven solutions that support business needs for information and analytics. In his current role, Dhruve is building a team to advance CTC’s multi-year customer experience strategy, customer analytics, and Net Promoter Score (NPS) mandate.

Note: The responses have been shortened and, in some instances, paraphrased.

Nerissa Fernandes : How has your experience been with job search in Canada?

Dhruve Khanna : My story is a bit different compared to other newcomers. I landed in Toronto in 2008 to study at the University of Toronto, graduated in 2013, and have been working since. I didn’t invest enough time looking for a job while studying, so there were some struggles after graduation. I relied heavily on networking: I sometimes woke up at 6 am and traveled on the subway for an hour just to grab coffee with people, not knowing if it was going to lead to a job.

I searched for relevant professionals on LinkedIn and asked them to meet me for a coffee. Many people didn’t reply and those who did, I tried to meet in person. During the meetings, I shared my interests and inquired about the path they took to get to their respective positions.

I got my first job offer because of networking – a person I met for coffee introduced me to one of his contacts, who was actually not hiring at the time. As such, nothing came of it right away but 2-3 months later the same person reached out to me about a new position. I applied and after a few rounds of interviews, I got my first job!

NF : What websites or tools did you refer to while looking?

DK : LinkedIn was the most important resource. Other than that, I leveraged websites like Meetup and EventBrite for networking events and also asked friends if they could introduce me to their contacts. Networking events like TechTO, FintechTO, SalesTO, and RetailTO tend to bring job seekers and hiring managers together in one place so it’s good to be present in those communities.

NF : Do you have any professional networking tips for newcomers?

DK : I would suggest investing time in identifying the relevant people to meet. Look for people who are in similar roles and from the same industry. If you do that correctly you’ll be more focused and know what questions to ask. You can learn from their experience by asking how they got into the role they hold and what advice they may have for you. Also, keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and be clear in your introductory messages to new contacts.

“When you reach out about coffees, introduce yourself and state your intention for the meeting in a brief, concise message. The more people you meet and network with the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel with these interactions.

NF : Did you face any challenges when you were trying to network?

DK : I did! One of the key challenges was getting a person to agree for a coffee meeting. Based on my experience, if you reach out to 10 people, 2 or 3 will respond, and among them 1 or 2 might agree to meet. People should not get discouraged by these numbers because that’s how networking with people you haven’t met in person works.

NF : How long did it take from the time you interviewed till you received the offer?

DK : For my first job, it took about 3 weeks, but that was because the employer wanted to move fast. When I interviewed for my second job, the entire process took close to 2 months and involved 4 different interview rounds. I’m in my third role now, and my current role was the quickest — it took approximately 10 days from interview to offer.

NF : Do you have any interview tips for newcomers?

DK : Be patient and don’t always expect quick turnaround with applications. Ask your HR point of contact about the type of interview you will have (fit/behavioural, technical, case etc.) — this will help you prepare for it better. Practicing responses to common, seemingly trivial questions related to strengths and weaknesses will make your answers seem natural during the interview. Be presentable, carry a copy of your resume, and have a notepad and pen handy. During the interview, be poised and calm; don’t rush things. If you don’t know something, admit that you don’t know it or that you’re unsure (don’t lie), and ask if you can get back to them on the subject matter later. Finally, a short thank you note to the interviewer can go a long way. That’s all the advice I have.

It was great sitting down with Dhruve. He provided some great insights about his journey from student to full-time employment in Canada. Here are some valuable tips from the interview:

  1. Explore various forums to network with professionals — LinkedIn, websites like Meetup and EventBrite, and networking events such as TechTO, FintechTO, SalesTO, RetailTO etc.
  2. Invest time in finding relevant professionals to meet.
  3. Be patient and prepare well for the interview.

Be sure to read our next post, the conclusion post for this series, where we get candid with a newcomer from a Marketing and Communications field.


About the Author:

Nerissa is a business research and management consulting professional with over a decade of experience working with clients in IT, Telecom, Retail, Banking/Finance, Retail, Pharmaceuticals, and Healthcare across global geographies. In her current role at Arrive, she works as a content specialist leveraging her first-hand experience as a newcomer in Canada to write relevant blogs and assist other immigrants to ease their transition into the Canadian life.