People love their routines, and HR staffers are no different. Too often they promote bureaucracy for the sake of the bureaucracy. Never mind that occasionally their processes don’t result in what is best for their company, their policies must be followed because, well, just because!
I work with HR and have developed good-working relationships with senior-level human resource pros built on mutual respect, professional courtesy and shared risk. But I don’t work for them, I work with them and that makes a big difference. When I call into a company for the first time to inquire about their needs and, sometimes, their wish list, logically that means I should be speaking with those in the know, the hiring managers; HR is my second choice.
Now, I want you to go back, go baaaack in time to my previous blog entries discussing Gate Keepers. If you recall, I had suggested your objective should be to try to obtain the name and contact info for a hiring manager; someone to whom you would hypothetically report, or their boss. I also suggested that there is nothing wrong with contacting HR first, but I advise they might not be your first choice. Why - because once you submit your resume, HR will review it and, if there is interest, someone will contact you. The hiring manager may not ever see it and what happens most of the time, shhhh, can you hear it? That’s right, nuthin’ - not even a cricket, just silence. On the other hand, if you are able to connect with a hiring manager who knows where the conversation could lead, they might ask you for your resume and, if it goes well, at some point they will likely route you back through HR. Perhaps this may sound to you like a runaround, eh? Not really, but I’ll explain that later.
If you are a good candidate and well qualified, who’s more likely to notice you, an HR staffer who is juggling a gazillion resumes and not a specialist in any of the roles that lay outside of the human resource department, or a person who would be involved in your hiring process anyway? When I call a company and talk to HR, if I have any questions beyond what is on the tame and lame, generic and virtually worthless public consumption job description, you know what they tell me most of the time? They say, “I don’t know the answer and I will need to check with the hiring manager”. As I said, I am not denigrating HR, not at all, they are an important part of the process. However, most often they don’t have the info I need, nor are they qualified to determine beyond a short session of connect the dots, matching the job description to your resume, as to whether or not you are qualified for the position. Furthermore, most of that is now done by software that scans and peels keywords from your resume. The only reason some get testy about this subject, and what I am suggesting, is because among their many duties, they are the department tasked with collecting, collating and distributing of resumes. So it’s understandable that some people get bruised egos if everyone isn’t asking for their permission to enter (remember the Gate Keeper analogy).
So finally (drum roll), in the next blog entry I’ll share with you in chronological order, the process I follow when I call into a company for the first time to both gain entry and to make an impact.
(Part III will be posted on Thursday)
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