Susan P. Joyce has written a very informative article on Employee Referral Programs (ERP) that has motivated me to revisit my advice on making direct live contact with hiring managers BEFORE applying for a job. The link to her article is at the end.
As I have often said I believe speaking to the hiring manager and learning about what the hiring managers’ needs are BEFORE submitting a resume is the most effective way of achieving competitive advantage and getting hired. I have also said getting referred by a current employee is highly effective.
Susan points out the value of being referred by a company employee and the need to carefully follow ERP procedures. This may mean submitting a resume to the hiring manager via the referring employee before actually making voice contact. If that is the case, one loses the advantage of speaking to the hiring manager and editing the resume and cover letter to address the hiring managers’ hot buttons first.
Therefore determining whether a company uses ERP becomes very important. As Susan states, timing is also very important. One should find out if an ERP program is in place and how it works at the company BEFORE applying. So here are my revised recommendations for finding out who the hiring manager is and making direct voice contact:
1. Your personal network should always be the first priority. Network with people you know, family, friends and any others who may know the hiring manager so you can make direct voice contact.
2. If a company you are interested in does not use ERP, get the hiring manager’s name from a current employee and make direct voice contact to discover what the critical needs of the position are discuss how you can resolve those needs.
3. If a company you are interested in does use ERP, find out the details of their program and follow the ERP protocols as Susan recommends. Follow up with a call to make direct voice contact with the hiring manager once you know the referring employee will get credit for introducing you to the company. You still need the opportunity to discuss key problems and how you can resolve them with the hiring manager to achieve competitive advantage.
4. If you are unable to get a current employee referral, find the name of the hiring manager by any means (I have suggested many ways in the past) and make direct contact.
5. The last resort is to find the name of the ranking HR manager on site and make direct voice contact with that person. While HR is there to help, most likely they will act as a gate-keeper between you and the hiring manager and will not let you contact that person. They are well-known as the junk yard dogs of gate-keeping (sorry HR folks).
Notice I have said “make direct voice contact” throughout these suggested priorities. Do not leave voice messages or emails. They are often (usually) deleted if the person doesn’t know you.
This is the link to Susan Joyce’s article: