Saturday, March 7, 2009

Who to Follow-Up With

I started to respond to a very good comment on the 2/21/09 posting about following-up after applying for a job, but my comment became so long that I've decided to post it separately. Part of the comment from RNelson noted that some job posting require that your resume be sent to HR or posted in the system and state "no calls."

Yes, many require posting through the organization's online system and some may state "no calls." I wouldn't call the HR department anyway, or at least not ONLY them. The HR manager isn't the person who will make the decision on who gets hired or not. As part of your research (which is actually my upcoming post) you should try to find out who the hiring manager is. You send your resume and cover letter directly to that person (in addition to whatever the posting requirements state). That's who you want to call. If that person blows you off, so be it, but you don't want the opposite. Here again is where your network comes into play. You need to use your network to find out who the hiring manager is or at lease someone in that company. If you can arrange time to talk to anyone in the company about the department or generally about the company, that's always beneficial. I personally don't care if the job is posted through a site like, I send my information directly to the organization and follow-up directly with the organization. Also, don't take it for granted that a third party job posting site has exclusive rights to post that job. Often, organizations will also list the job on their site. Sometimes it may point to the third party site, but not always. On the organization's site it may list a person's name or you can find the department manager's name on the About Us or Staff Directory page.

The HR manager isn't going to be the person who will decide who gets the job--it's the hiring manager. The HR manager may decide who gets contacted for interviews, but hopefully not. (I'm not a fan of HR at all when it comes to hiring. There's a great Fast Company cover story that I love from a few years ago called "Why We Hate HR.") Since I'm not a fan of most HR folks, I don't want them trying to select who I want to interview. I want them to post the job information online, collect the resumes for me to review (from the people who don't send theirs directly to me), and then contact the prospective candidates to schedule the interview times. No more than that. I had one HR manager who was screening candidates because of geography. A couple of candidates got through the gate keepers via phone and followed-up with me to ask if I'd received their information. I hadn't. When I asked the HR manager about these candidates, he informed me that he hadn't passed on their resumes because they weren't already living in the city where we were located. I had not put any geographic restrictions on my requirements. If someone is a good candidate and wants to move to take the job, why wouldn't I want them? The fact that this company didn't pay moving costs (the cheap-o's) would come up in the interview or could even be stated when scheduling the interview. The candidates could decide from there whether they wanted to move forward with the interview. The point of this long paragraph is to show that if you go only to HR and talk only with HR, you're more likely to get lost in the shuffle. This is a link to another Fast Company article from around 1997 that I still love. It's called "Interview with a Head Hunter" and I think it's actually been updated. It gives a lot of really good advice and a lot of the things I've been doing for the last twelve years came from this article.

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