Tips for Connecting with Hiring Managers
There is something to be said for going out on a limb. In a job market replete with applicants but still somewhat scarce on qualified talent in some industries, it’s not a bad idea to do what you can to set yourself apart when you are a good fit for a company. Is it ever a good idea to contact the hiring manager directly? You bet.
Hiring Managers Make Hires!
The first thing to remember about hiring managers, HR professionals and recruiters is their job is to make the best hire for a given position. They are not in the business of trying to keep positions open. Their reputations are built on their ability to fill positions quickly with good candidates who are great investments for the hiring companies. Remember that and it will alleviate a bit of the anxiety of reaching out to hiring managers.
The second thing to remember is that hiring managers are people with limited resources, a finite amount of time, families, work schedules and a massive workload. It’s not hard for a good candidate – even the right candidate – to be overlooked amidst a stack of similar-looking resumes. So take that into consideration before you contact any hiring manager. Out of respect for their position and their time, you should have only one of two reasons for calling any hiring manager:
1) You are looking for more information on job description that seems a bit incomplete, or
2) You are the PERFECT fit for the job advertised.
Will Contacting the Hiring Manager Ruin My Chances?
Maybe. It is always more palatable to contact recruiters via email or a social platform as opposed to cold calling. This is especially true with larger companies as the ability to maintain some semblance of order presents more of a challenge to recruiters of Fortune 100 companies than it would to recruiters of the local web-based tech start up.
It is up to you which method you apply. There may be some recoil from the HR department if you have gone over their heads to contact the hiring manager directly. On the other hand, if someone called you out of the blue with the perfect solution to a major problem you are facing, would you be interested or annoyed? Now, there certainly are times when candidates end phone calls with hiring managers feeling like they have ruined their chances of getting the job; in the end, however, the perfect fit is the perfect fit. And that’s not something that’s easy to find. Read about the “The Perfect Fit Challenge” by Ron Venckus. Admittedly, it is a risk to reach out. Perhaps not as great as the risk you would take by not reaching out.
There’s a train of thought that says if you can ruin your chances of getting a job in a 3-minute phone call, you probably weren’t the right fit for the position anyway. Which brings up a key point: have a professional, engaging, succinct pitch all ready to go before you ever call.
How to Get in Touch with a Hiring Manager
Hiring managers aren’t always easy to identify. Your best bet really is to keep tabs on the target company. You can do that through social media, automated alerts generated by search engines, or the target company’s website. In addition, you can always contact the company directly to find out who heads up a specific department if you don’t already have that information. Or, call after hours and see if you can pull some information from the automated corporate directory. For more ways to circumvent the gatekeeper read Judit E. Price’s guest article, “Skills for Career Success: Reaching the Hiring Manager and Getting Past the Gatekeeper.”
Making Your Pitch
While you may be the perfect candidate, essentially you are still a salesperson making a cold call. Keep your pitch short, sweet and to the point. There are just a handful of details to include when you make your phone call. Tell the hiring manager who you are, your field of expertise and why you are calling. It’s okay to let the recruiter know whether or not you have submitted your resume or applied. Just do not give them the sense that you are calling because you applied are worried and have not heard back.
Last thing: don’t forget your call-to-action. At the end of your call to the hiring manager, ask for an interview. For great tips on how to ask the hiring manage for an interview, read Houston Chronicle’s “How to Call and Ask for a Job Interview.”