I work in the software/hardware high-tech industry in the US. I have been looking for career opportunities for a few weeks. I was contacted by a recruiter (working for the company) a few weeks back about a position of interest. My first phone interview with the would be hiring manager is scheduled in a couple weeks. In looking at my network on LinkedIn, I found that one of my 1st degree connections (colleague in different company) knows the hiring manager for the position I am interviewing for. I keep hearing on career development websites that "Networking is everything" and "who you know" matters. So my question is to test this adage:
Is it OK for me to ask my LinkedIn connection to drop a few good words about me to the hiring manager? If yes, what would be an appropriate time? Before the first phone interview or after? What other strategies can I use with this connection I have found?
P.S. This is the first time I have found a close connection to the hiring manager, so I want to make sure that I don't miss this opportunity.