In many formal, company-run hiring processes, the human is removed. Candidates are asked to put their case forward in digital format by applying online with a digital document or sending a digital document over a electronic mail. The candidate’s application sits in a inbox such as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ etc. Where’s the human connection in that? None.
If you are a candidate how can you be sure that your application is being given careful consideration and you have been given the best chance to showcase your suitability for the role or company in general? You can’t be. Is there someway you, the candidate, can turn this flawed system around in your favour? I’ll argue there is.
If you are interested in a career opportunity you see advertised that you can honestly say you are suitable for, call the company and ask who the hiring manager is. Then ask to speak directly to the hiring manager. Write down the name of everyone you speak to with that company just in case you don’t get put through to the right person and have to backtrack. Be friendly, courteous and mindful of time. Ask the hiring manager if it’s a good time for them to talk. Know what questions you want to ask and do your best to find out as much as you can about the position, outside from what’s been advertised. Briefly sell yourself! What value can you bring to the role / company based on your experience, expertise and interests? Be passionate and enthusiastic! Ask the hiring manager if you can send through your application directly to them and tell them you will call them within 48 hours to follow up. You now have a few key advantages over your competition (whose applications are sitting in the apply inbox). You now have the hiring manager’s name and have a feel for them and what they’re really looking for. You can now customise your resume and application to highlight your relevant skills experience in relation to the real requirements of the role. The hiring manager knows you will be applying and following up your application so they are more likely to spend time going through it.
Once you’ve applied directly to the hiring manager, follow up your application within 48 hours and be prepared to talk through your experience. You are now getting another opportunity to sell yourself and you can continue to build rapport with the hiring manager. Ask if you can buy them a coffee. They might not take you up on the offer but they will appreciate your persistence.
So few candidates ever do any of the above and I actually make a note of it when they do it with me!
The easier you make if for someone to make a positive decision in your favour, the more likely that they will, and it’s a lot easier for someone to like you if they have actually spoken or met with you. Make the human connection!