Name dropping gets a bad rap as it’s often used to cash in on a person’s associations to advance one’s own position. The worst “offenders” drop names of people they barely know as a close ally when in reality the relationship may be best characterized as “casual acquaintances.”
Name dropping is generally frowned upon but can be remarkably effective in a job search. Why? Hiring can be stressful (not as stressful as interviewing…) and any edge you can employ that eases a hiring manager’s anxiety will work for you. Can the manager trust his/her gut? Are you the person you present to be? If you can drop a name that eases anxiety, do it! But if the name will result in a head scratch from the person you are dropping… be careful!
Additionally, if you say something you wish you hadn’t or that is misinterpreted that name you drop may be able to clear things up and have your back. When interviewing, often the difference between being hired and passed on can be as simple as a misstep in words chosen.
Beyond the typical name dropping of an individual, how does name dropping help with the hiring manager?
It’s a known fact that hearing one’s own name is comforting. Psychologically, this comfort helps to make them feel in control and filter out information that might not be relevant to them. So, when you’re talking to someone you’re trying to impress, make sure to use their name when addressing them. The easiest way to do this is when starting a question or directing an answer.
The job name (title) can often be synonymous with the work they do and what an individual focuses on daily. While it won’t have the same psychological sway as using their name, it does show that you are paying attention to the details of the interview, the importance, and the critical nature of the interviewer’s role.
Dropping a company’s name can demonstrate a passion and desire to work for the company. Sometimes a company name can seem daunting to say (trust me, I’ve heard Willory butchered a few dozen times), but if you’re unsure, a hiring manager won’t be offended if you ask how to say the company name at the beginning of your interview.
I know it can be a reality of job searching that people apply to numerous jobs over the course of their search, but when I talk to candidates who don’t have a concept of the job they applied to, my instant reaction is that they don’t care. That’s definitely not what you want to portray in a job interview. If you’re interviewing and can relate a question to a job responsibility and your skills, that’s a great way to show yourself in a great light.
An interview is a way to get to know the people you may be working with. Use this opportunity to your fullest advantage by coming to day prepared and ready to show your passion. By name dropping names, titles, company, and the job, you’ll instantly put yourself ahead of candidates who are unsteady in interviews. But, just make sure you’re not being a bad name dropper.