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?