Find & Talk to Hiring Managers

How make that first call to a hiring manager

Does calling a hiring manager you don't know intimidate you? Make it easy by properly preparing yourself before you call.
Write a script: Practice it until you have internalized it, not memorized it. Role play it. Video record it. Correct your mistakes when it doesn't count. Successful scripts raise curiosity, ask permission to continue, ask questions to learn about needs, discover urgency, and establish next steps.
Due Diligence: Before the call, research the company, its history, products and services. Find out what's new, review recent PR announcements or other news, etc. Learn about the hiring manager's background and likes. Discover things you can align yourself with.
Time: You can safely assume the hiring manager is busy. Respect his or her time. Some small talk is OK but be sensitive of time. Avoid unnecessary elaboration.
Delivery: When you reach the hiring manager, briefly, introduce yourself. Say who you are, what you do, and state the purpose of the call without making the hiring manager defensive by announcing you want a job. Speak quickly but clearly, and enunciate carefully.
Ask permission to talk: If the answer is negative, ask when a better time would be or say "I'll just take a minute" and immediately launch your script without waiting for an objection.
Be conversational: After your opening, the call cannot be scripted. It never happens the way you script it. Focus on gathering information by ask questions to find out what the hiring manager's needs are. Look for opportunities to describe an accomplishment that could help resolve a problem. Ask about things you have learned by researching the company. Once you have generated interest, tell the hiring manager you'd like to send your resume and get his or her email address.
Next steps: Before ending the call, establish expectations. Say you will follow up, and repeat any next steps the Hiring Manager sets.

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How to get past the hiring managers' gatekeepers

Gatekeepers serve an important role for busy managers. One of their functions is to keep unsolicited callers at bay. Another is to filter important calls from unimportant ones. Gatekeepers have to make fast, intelligent decisions to allow a caller through or not. There are some things to do to get past gatekeepers.
Qualifications: Make sure you are a strong candidate for the position based on what you know about the job. If you are not qualified you will waste your time and theirs.
Approach: Approach the call with polite respect for the gatekeepers and hiring manager. If someone is rude to you, don't react, maintain your cool.
Time: Respect the time of each person you speak to. Some small talk is OK but be sensitive of time. Avoid unnecessary elaboration.
Due Diligence: Research the company before calling. Learn about its products and services, its recent PR announcements or other news. Align yourself with their mission, activities or thinking, particularly when speaking with the hiring manager.
The Admin: The hiring managers' administrative assistant may be a formidable and experienced gatekeeper. It is important to establish rapport with the admin in order to reach the hiring manager.
Process: As you work your way up through the organization on your first call, get the admin's name, pronunciation and spelling. Address the admin by first name and make a complementary remark. You need the admin's help and will be asking for it immediately.
Scripts: When searching for a new position, what you say to the receptionist and the admin is critical to reaching the hiring manager. Before calling, write scripts, then practice and internalize them. Successful scripts provide context to raise curiosity, ask permission to continue, ask questions to learn needs, discover timing, and establish next steps. 

Talk to the Hiring Manager First Before You Apply

Does that sound like getting the cart before the horse? Maybe, but it shouldn't.

Are you are job searching on job boards and company websites or using recruiting firms, and not reaching out directly to hiring managers? Are you very likely frustrated with your success in finding a new job? Be different: Those who make direct contact with hiring managers before they apply for a position are usually employed much faster than those who waste precious time following what the 'herd' does.

For most people, learning new skills required to make the initial contact with the hiring manager requires preparation and practice in things they are not used to doing. Even experienced salespeople, comfortable with prospecting, needs identification, presentations, overcoming objections, closing, and follow up, often find selling themselves is different than selling a product or service.

In job hunting each of the elements of the sales cycle happens, either consciously or unconsciously, either formally or by happenstance. The best job seekers take control of the hunt by learning or refining their sales skills; they don't leave it to happenstance. 

The best job seekers prospect to find out what companies are hiring people for positions they want. They learn how to find out who the hiring managers are. They develop their prospecting skills, selling skills, and how to ask questions that ferret out key needs. They learn how to respond to the key needs with a description of their accomplishments, they find out how to determine and overcome concerns interviewers have about them, and they learn how to build 'buy in' to the reasons they should be hired. Then reach out to the hiring managers.

More about these topics are forthcoming.

How to identify who the hiring manager is

If you have decided to take my advice and apply for jobs by making direct voice contact with the hiring manager first, searching for who it is could be easier than you think.

Get introduced by a current employee of the company: This is the best approach of all. If you can get an employee to recommend you to a hiring manager or recruiter, you will nearly always get an interview. Often employees get bonuses for referring candidates who get hired, so they have an incentive to help. Find current employees by asking people in your network. Or do an Advanced Search on LinkedIn to find employees. You might even find the hiring manager directly.

Try searches on Google, Google+, and Twitter. Insert words into the search functions using quotation marks around phrases, such as "Ford Plant Manager". 

If you already know the person’s first name and initial of the last name, try a search giving the first name, last name initial and company name. This will often get you the last name and sometimes lead you to a website that gives you email addresses as well.

Search for  senior managers and ask who the hiring manager is. They are often more helpful than lower level people and are often the most willing to engage with you. You might get rejected or you might get help, become known to them and also add them to your network. Search the About Us page on company websites. Or you can always find the names of senior officers of public companies by searching financial websites as if you were a potential investor. Visit Yahoo, MSN, and the SEC at
Try local Business Chronicles, news media and your public library.

Happy sleuthing!

10 reasons for contacting the hiring manager BEFORE submitting your resume

I teach the skills necessary to perform this most important job search tactic. There are ten reasons to learn this job search tactic because it lands jobs more frequently than any other.

        DIFFERENTIATION: Most important! By speaking directly with the decision maker before sending your resume you differentiate yourself from your competition! 

        NEEDS DISCOVERY: You learn what the hiring manager's most important need is and can show how you are the answer to the problem.

        COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: You place yourself way ahead of the 'herd' by establishing rapport with the decision maker.

        RESUME EDITING: Knowing the hiring manager’s hot buttons enables editing your resume to focus on specific achievements that are responsive to the critical needs before you submit.

        COVER LETTER EDITING: Showing the hiring manager how you are the solution to his or her problems greatly simplifies cover letter writing.  

        OMBUDSMAN: By speaking directly to the hiring manager you have the most important person in the hiring process looking out for you.

        MOTIVATION / INITIATIVE: Making the call demonstrates that you take the initiative in managing your search. You are action-oriented.

        HIDDEN JOBS: Very often a hiring manager reveals unadvertised jobs

        NETWORKING FOR FUTURE JOBS: A decision maker is a valuable member of your personal network.

        CONTROL, THE BOTTOM LINE: Speaking with the hiring manager gives you the greatest control over your destiny.

Without question this tactic requires learning new skills for many people including how to identify who the decision maker is (as in sales prospecting), how to get past the gate keepers to make direct voice contact, and what to say when you get through.

The skills used are practiced by good salespeople. With proper coaching and practice you do not need to be a salesperson to learn them well enough to help you find the job you want. 

It's the hiring manager you need to impress, not the recruiter. Go directly to the only person that matters.

Many people are too lazy to take the difficult route to the hiring manager. It's far easier to let someone else get you to the interview table. Easier, yes, but it's also the least effective way to get a new job.

You are the only person most interested in finding a new job for you. So don't join the 'stampeding herd' of people. If you need help learning the most effective way to land interviews and jobs, get it! 

It may be scary to you, it may be difficult for you, but most people who land a new job get there by taking charge of their own destiny and by using a direct approach. They don't apply and wait for something to happen. They reach out directly to the hiring manager, communicate, find out what the real needs are, edit their resume to respond to those needs, and then apply.

Go directly to the king of the mountain!

Each job searcher needs different kinds of help. Clues on how to find and speak directly to the hiring manager can be found in many articles, but individual solutions require individual coaching. 

Unless you are an accomplished salesperson who understands prospecting and knows how to get past gatekeepers and how to engage decision-makers, you would be best served by getting professional help. 
One source can be found at

99% of hiring managers don't give a hoot about what you want.

Your resume is all about you. Your job search is about what you want. But a hiring manager views you from a 180 degree perspective.

The hiring manager has needs, wishes, and wants too and will look at your resume to see if you meet any of those things. It follows that if you don't illustrate how you satisfy the hiring manager's needs you probably won't get asked to interview. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Astute job seekers will find out what the hiring manager's critical needs are and edit their resume to be responsive to those needs. They know the best way is to talk directly to the hiring manager. And to do so requires training and practice. Therefore wise job seekers will seek out professional help if they don't have basic sales skills like prospecting, script writing, and closing.

After all, job seeking is a sales job by default.

Get help at

Why write a resume that's just about you? The key is NEEDS, but not yours.

When job seekers write their resume they tend to get caught up in what they want and they forget all about what the hiring managerneeds. But that's the person they are writing the document for. What a huge mistake!

Sure, it's necessary to document the things you have done, but not necessarily everything. The critical things to write about are your accomplishments that respond to the hiring manager's needs.

Here are a few mistakes people make:
1 - Forgetting about what the hiring manager wants.
2 - Forgetting that the document is a advertisement, not a biography.
3 - Forgetting that they don't want to look stupid by making spelling, grammar or careless typo. Proof-read carefully. It's manager, not manger. The spell checker doesn't know if you mean a person or a crib!
4 - Forgetting about formatting the resume neatly for a professional appearance.
5 - Forgetting that computerized parsing software may be the first reader.

Writing your resume is arguably the most important project you ever worked on. If you really want interviews, find out what the hiring manager's needs are and make sure you respond professionally.

Are you ready to call the hiring manager BEFORE you apply for the job?

If you have thoroughly researched the company, you will know a lot about them, their products or services, their financial state, their competitive position, their culture, etc. Then, once you have carefully reviewed the job description and have a good idea of what is important to the hiring manager, you will have a good idea of how your strengths will play into the advertised position and whether you might fit into the company.

Your  next step is to call the hiring manager and speak directly with him or her. By doing so you will have the opportunity to confirm his/her needs, differentiate yourself from your competition and establish a competitive advantage. You will also be able to tune your resume to the specific needs of the position and you will have demonstrated your motivation and willingness to take the initiative, attributes valued by hiring managers.

Is this search tactic easy? It is if you are willing to learn from those who can teach you. Everyone can learn how to identify who the hiring manager is and how to get past the gatekeepers to make direct voice contact. Obviously it requires practice. You can be sure your competition is learning how to perfect this job search tactic right now.

Cold calling: Breaking the barrier between you and reaching the hiring manager.

Sometimes there is no other way to find the name of the hiring manager than to make cold-calls into a company. Many people are timid about doing this. Many are in full panic mode when actually to trying to speak directly to the manager. To overcome the fear, the best remedy is to prepare and practice some brief scripts for soliciting the name, for getting past the gatekeepers and for speaking to the manager.

Practicing out loud with another person is critical because it affords the opportunity to make mistakes and modify the script when there is no negative outcome. Practice also enables one to internalize the script rather than memorize it. A memorized script usually comes across very “canned” and obvious.

It is always easier to get information if you establish rapport with the person on the other end first. Before giving your name, ask for the name of the person you are speaking to before asking for the name of the person you are trying to reach. Once you have the exact name of the right contact, either continue to try to make voice contact with the hiring manager or call back later and ask to speak directly with that person by name.

Quite often you will be asked what the purpose of your call is. Whatever response you offer, do not tell them you are looking for a job. That answer will get you transferred quickly to HR. Unless you are looking for an HR position, that’s not where you want to be.

It’s not always easy to make contact with the hiring manager over the phone. Keep calling, politely but persistently, until you reach the person you need to speak to. If you are asked to leave a message, don’t do it. Messages often don’t get returned. Instead, find out when the boss will be available and offer to call back at that time, and be sure to do it.

It’s not always easy to make contacts over the phone. Keep calling, politely but persistently, until you reach the person you need to speak to. The more you do it the better you will get at it. Don’t leave messages. Instead, find out when the boss will be available and offer to call back at that time, and be sure to do it.

Just don’t give up.

Some advice on getting interviews and landing jobs.

Don’t wait to be found, reach out directly to the hiring manager.

You are sadly mistaken if you believe applying to every job you find on the web will get you hired. Doing that is like watching grass grow. Meanwhile your competition is out there finding better ways.

Successful job seekers create hiring situations by being proactive, not following the competing herd.

I can think of eight ways to find out who the hiring manager is and reaching out to him or her. The process builds an incredible network. It differentiates the job seeker from the competing herd. It builds skills that will benefit you forever. It builds confidence. It builds an outgoing personality. It creates your opportunity to get hired.

You can’t do that? Strike the word “can’t” from your vocabulary. Don’t make excuses. Just do it! You can learn how just as many have. Do you doubt hiring managers will talk to you? Stop doubting! Learn how to approach them. Stop throwing up road blocks.

Reaching out directly to hiring managers works. It is efficient as well as effective. It discovers hidden opportunities. It creates future opportunities. It opens you up to other people. And it sets you apart from your competition because you take the initiative and do things other people are unwilling to do.

When you see a job ad you would like to apply for, there are productive and unproductive ways to submit your documents.

One approach is to simply apply online, but that is usually not the best search tactic to use.

However, if you insist on doing it, the first rule is to follow instructions given in the job posting.

If there are no instructions, call the company and ask.

If you cannot get an answer the choice is yours and it doesn't matter which way you go because everyone receiving resumes has a different opinion of the right way, none of which is going to affect the outcome much.  Most online applications wind up in “the black hole”.

SO CONSIDER THIS: There are more productive ways to get a job than to apply online. The best approach is to find and speak to the hiring manager before you send any documents. Here's why:

- The hiring manager can give you insight into what is most important to him or her, things that may not have appeared in the job description. Then you can tune your documents to fit the needs.

- It gives you the chance to avoid the automated systems (ATS) on the front end of the hiring process because you will be able to send your documents directly to the hiring manager instead of a candidate filtering machine first. Of course eventually you will have to apply through the company protocols but the hiring manager will already have your resume.

- Reaching out directly to the hiring manager demonstrates you are motivated, take action, and are direct in the things you do. You take control of your destiny.

- Occasionally the hiring manager can lead you to opportunities you didn't know about in other parts of the organization and even make introductions for you.

- Sometimes the hiring manager will make assignment adjustments in his/her  organization and create a position just for you.

- And most important, making the effort to find and speak to the hiring manager before you apply clearly differentiates you from your competition. You are not just "one of the herd".

It is true, applying online using the ‘shoot-aim-ready’ approach is the most common search tactic used by job-seekers. And it is the least effective. The astute job seeker will learn how to find and speak to the hiring manager to get ahead of the competition. 

Interviewers don’t measure you on what your responsibilities were. They measure you on the results of your work!

Interviewers don’t measure you just on what your responsibilities were. They measure you on the results of your work!

If you want to be competitive and win interviews it is up to you to give hiring managers good reason to set up an interview with you. The most important reasons are the accomplishments and results of your work.

Assuming you satisfy the critical requirements, your job is to create a resume that focuses on your accomplishments and results, particularly those that are relevant to the described position.

Your past duties, companies worked for, positions held are important pieces of information, certainly things the hiring manager needs to know in making a decision to call you for an interview. But unless you show how well you performed your duties the hiring manager has no idea whether you are a good possible candidate or not and it is unlikely you will get the interview.

Feed the hiring managers needs! 

Applying on job boards doesn’t work … usually!

Sure applying to jobs on job boards works occasionally. The important knowledge one must have to make it work are:
What the hiring managers’ critical needs are,
A realistic attitude towards about how well one meets the requirements stated in the job description,
And a resume that is responsive to the hiring managers’ real needs.
Assuring that the resume is responsive to the real needs of the hiring manager is what will generate interviews.

Strategy and Tactics:

The best job search strategy is to use job boards only for research to identify target companies where jobs exist, to identify industry trends, to identify key people. but not to apply for jobs. There are far better search tactics to use than to follow the stampeding herd that applies on job boards.

The best search tactic is to speak directly to the hiring manager BEFORE submitting a resume. This is the only way to determine precisely what the highest priority problem to be solved is. And it enables one to communicate to the hiring manager how one has solved that kind of problem in the past. It is this candidate-manager dialogue that generates the greatest interest in inviting one in for an interview.

Speaking directly to the hiring manager accomplishes two important goals. It establishes rapport and it results in obtaining information necessary for optimizing the resume to the job before sending it directly to the hiring manager. What better way is there to differentiate one’s self from the herd? It simply cannot happen on a job board!

You might ask how to find out who the hiring manager is and make contact. The answer is simple.
Data mine!
Identify the hiring manager through family, friends, acquaintances, current company employees, LinkedIn, etc. And use information readily available on the web, like LinkedIn, SEC reports, Google searches, etc., to identify names. Then prepare and practice scripts that will get you past the gate keepers to make Voice Contact with the hiring manager (by the way, never leave messages).

Using recruiting firms is another effective tactic given two conditions:
First, the individual recruiter one is working with should have direct access to the hiring manager, not just HR.
Second, the candidate needs to be a strong candidate, not just a ‘possible meal ticket’ in the eyes of the recruiter. Otherwise the recruiter may put greater effort into better candidates who are more likely to result in a placement.
One problem with using recruiters is, like applying on line, the resume supplied to the recruiter is usually not optimized for the specific opening the recruiter may be representing.

Applying on job boards is a last resort tactic after other tactics cannot be used or have failed. 

Things I Love About Cold-Calling Hiring Managers

Cold-calling is a good way of making voice contact with a hiring manager. It’s not the only way, but it is a good way.
Some people have greater ability to engage in cold-calling than others. But many people who are not trained the skills have learned and have been gained employment because of it.
The things I like about it are:
It Works – It generates interest in you. It requires skill, the right mental attitude, and the commitment to try.
It Enables You to Revise Your Resume and Cover Letter – When you learn what the hiring manager’s critical needs you are able to edit your resume to be responsive to the hot buttons. When you tell the hiring manager how you can resolve his/her needs you generate interest. It also makes writing your cover letter a walk in the park.
It Differentiates You – You demonstrate you are willing to do what others won’t. Differentiation is what creates competitive advantage.
It Trains You for Interviewing – Skills learned in cold-calling have huge benefits for interviewing. You will learn to be quick on your feet, maintain composure, and always be professional. Nothing sharpens communication skills like cold calling!
It Keeps You Humble – Rejection is not uncommon and should not be taken personally. What you learn from rejection is how to become better at cold-calling … and interviewing!
Hidden Prospects – There are jobs out there that people don’t know about. Generating a hiring manager’s interest in you exposes them.
Follow-Up Opportunities – Cold calling creates follow-up opportunities. Sometimes now is not the time, but sometime in the future will be.
It Builds Your Network – As a job seeker this is critically important. You’ve heard the cliché “It’s who you know”. That is often so true.
It is Fast – Once you line up your call list you can make many calls in a short timeframe.
It is Efficient – Cold calls are a quick filter. You can quickly learn who your best prospects are going to be.

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