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Face-to-Face with the Hiring Manager

2 February 2010 Written by: Orietta Ramirez 12 Comments
Face-to-Face with the Hiring Manager

You must pass muster with the pre-screening process to get past the “black hole”. Uploading your application and resume to the company website is not enough. You have to re-invent the job search wheel.

As part of this process, you will be rebuffed and often (sorry!). One such instance occurred when a posting on LinkedIn provided the HR rep’s direct contact info (a fluke?). After submitting my online application and resume, I followed up with a call to the HR contact. Amazingly, I got through to him on the first try. Predictably, he was very curt. I briefly introduced myself and the reason for my call, and asked if he had a few minutes to speak with me.

His response, “No, I do not”. I proceeded to ask if we could set up a mutually convenient time. He sighed, and responded, “I am very busy, and getting a lot of these calls and cannot take each and everyone.

Wow, OK!  So maybe you should not include your email and phone number in the posting!? Why would you think applicants would not call? Anyway, I plowed on, “what do you suggest I do to speak with the right person?” His response, as expected, but nonetheless disappointing was, “if you submitted your documentation, and we think you are a fit, we’ll call you” and proceeded to hang up. Suffice to say I never got a call, and, so I moved on.

There are those times after kissing all those frog(ette)s, you come across your prince(ss). One in particular comes to mind. I targeted my resume, wrote an inspirational cover letter (picture Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club, tapping his shoulder for a well-written inspired note) and proudly submitted them. Then, the people search began. I found the HR director on LinkedIn and he accepted the invitation I extended. (Guess the stars were aligned). I sent him a thank you note, mentioning that we had worked for the same firm, shared an interest in diversity, and “casually” noted …“interestingly enough I just applied for a position with your firm. Would you grant me the courtesy to speak with you about it?”

I did not receive a response directly from him. However, two days later, I received a call from the firm’s HR rep, indicating they wanted to set up a first round interview!

What do you do next? It is not enough just to show up and go over your resume. You need to stand out from the other candidates. You now have to walk your talk, so I’m recommending

IPOP – Investigate, Prepare, Organize, Practice.

Investigate. Search (Google) the firm. Read about the company, executive board, financial reports and press releases. Identify their corporate social responsibility and diversity objectives. Read the employee testimonials (admittedly biased but informative). Using your social media networks, seek out employees, particularly those no longer with firm. They tend to be more candid as they have no vested interest to withhold information. Use LinkedIn to view the firm profile. Find and reach out to those connections.

Prepare. Organize your goals and align them to the job at hand. Create your value proposition. Do a comparable analysis between what the job requires with your experience and skills. It always helps to have earned an MBA online. Also, possessing transferable skills is a big plus. Compare it to similar roles and use them to highlight your accomplishments. Understand the industry, the company’s goals, and the objectives of the department you want to work in.

Organize. Nothing gives you more confidence and focus than being organized. Have a document about the firm and job. Another with questions about the firm, the role, and more importantly, the needs of the hiring manager. If you understand their pain, then you can provide the remedy.

Practice. Focus on that one interview. Visualize yourself speaking about your experience and background. Use the information about the company and relate it back to the skills you bring to the role. Prepare a few examples where you had to step up to the plate and hit that home run. Share a project in which you addressed an issue, and what you did, individually or as a team, to successfully resolve it. Show them you are a winner.

Finally, never forget your sense of humor and your sense of self. You will stumble and might even stutter. Remember you are worthy of the interview, deserving of the job, and if all is right with the world, the hiring manager will believe it too. Put your best foot forward. You may be pleasantly surprised.

What tips would you recommend and/or have work for you?

Orietta Ramirez is a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, raised in The Bronx, and presently calls home in Dutchess County, New York. Pedagogically, her claim to fame, as she puts it, is that she shares Cardinal Spellman H.S. as her alma mater with the distinguished Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Fordham University with Vince Lombardi and Steve Bellán, first Latin American to play Major League Baseball, and with Geraldo Rivera, another Brooklyn Law School alum. A first generation Chilean-American, she is a dynamic bilingual lawyer, employee relations advocate and project manager, with experience in human capital administration, audit and risk management. While leveraging her legal and compliance background as an HR partner, she incorporates her expertise on projects and in business relationships with a focus on diversity and inclusion as well as talent management. She is an avid reader and includes salsa dancing among her extracurricular activities, and is always open to all that is intriguing and challenging, which offers new opportunities for thought.

You can learn so much about this author by clicking here.


  • Liz said:

    I just left an interview with a very prestigious educational organization and I got the opportunity to speak with the hiring manager. I have to say that everything felt like it was going well until he asked if I have experience using JAVA (Definition: Java allows you to play online games, chat with people around the world, calculate your mortgage interest, and view images in 3D, just to name a few. It’s also integral to the intranet applications and other e-business solutions that are the foundation of corporate computing) language and AJAX software. I told him that at the moment I do not have the experience but, that I will be doing self-teaching and that I am eager to learn more skills. He gave me a nice smile and moved on to say that he would like to see my online portfolio and videos I created.

    I truly believe in all that you just mentioned here. Flip the coin—, if you were to be the hiring manager, would you be impress if you find someone that it is well rounded, knowledgeable, great work ethic and interested enough to give you all that you wanted to hear? Wont you? So it is our homework to follow all the steps.

    Well said Orietta!

  • Jessica said:

    Everything you listed makes so much sense to me and obtainable as well. Thank you for sharing these great tips and I will be keeping this article on-hand and sharing it with others.

    Thanks, Orietta!

  • uberVU - social comments said:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by JobingSoFlo: RT @CareerJockey Preparing to Meeting the Hiring Manager | CareerJockey http://bit.ly/cPz8mr

  • Lisa said:

    Gosh, it is such a performance to get the interview let alone what you have to do to impress them to make it to the next tier in the interviewing process. Good for you for making it about the push. And the determination you show is an inspiration. Thank you for your writings.

  • Orietta (author) said:

    Liz – be mindful that the above is just a roadmap you can apply and modify according to your needs and goals. Nothing replaces a good work ethic, dedication and desire and most assuredly a wonderful personality. May you land this awesome role.

    Jessica – thanks for sharing and seeing the value of the IPOP application.

    Lisa – tough times require a more concerted approach. So glad you see it as a motivational tool.

  • Just Maybe, They're Just Not That Into You | CareerJockey said:

    […] Guerrilla Resumes. You did your research and got that interview. You executed your IPOP (see my IPOP article for details) and notes (your outfit was coordinated, your hair, perfect), and your A-game was on […]

  • Jorge Lazaro Diaz said:

    I saw you commented on Orietta’s “Face to Face with the Hiring Manager.” Any topics you’d like Orietta or I to cover to help you with your job search. I’m really interested in getting some feedback in order to really address reader needs and wants.

  • Alfie Davies said:

    good employee relations is very important for the success of the company and any business-,-

  • Jayden Scott said:

    the boss and the company should always maintain good employee relations to have a more efficient environment:';

  • Orietta (author) said:

    We should use the leadership and implementation process used by both the President of Chile as well as the supervisor in charge of the miner, Luis Urzua. Although not a hiring process, the manner in which they focused on achieving their goal (freeing the miners) and the willingness and openness to communicate with outside services (countries providing material, knoweldge and experience, advice, guidance,etc.) allowed for a success mission. Hiring managers need to understand and believe in the CEO and company’s goals and strategies, and be open to the talent that exists beyond its typical/normal boundaries for its success.

    Just a thought given the recent events. I’d be interested in seeing case studies on both the global and internal procedures implemented, both effective and those that were not. Would provide those of us in the HR/hiring process some incredible insight, I believe.

  • ATX Power Supply : said:

    i think that employee relations should be prioritized first because it is the foundation of a good company~-,

  • Catnip said:

    Employee relations should be given more importance in an office environment as well as on any other business establishment `~’

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