Tag Archives: hiring manager

What if there are 6 ads and you really want the job?

You see 6 ads for one job you really want.  It is so good you would quit you’re your current job just to apply.  What do you do?

High Priority Jobs

Getting your resume into the hiring manager’s hands is your quest.

First gather information. 

Is there anything that makes you think the writer of one of the ads knows the hiring manager personally?

Check the date on all those ads.  When were they posted?  What day did they appear?  List when the company and each agency first advertised.  Did an agency advertise before the company itself?  They may have a close tie to the hiring manager.  Have the ads been going on for months?  The company is either getting a little desperate, has decided not to fill the job, or the job is full but recruiters haven’t bothered to pull the ads yet because they are still getting lots of calls.

How are the ads different?   Does one include a lot more in-depth information?  Is another extremely short?  Look closely.  Do any of them make you feel like the writer talked to the manager?  You want to talk to someone who has the hiring manager’s ear.

Second work your network.

Call the people you know at the company, or invite them out to lunch.  Call up recent employees. Connect on LinkedIn to everyone at the company you can.

What can you find out about the job?  Is there someone who can personally take your resume to the hiring manager?  How about to the hiring manager’s boss?  This is still the research phase.  Don’t give anyone your resume yet.  You only get to submit it once.

Is there a recruiter you trust?  Find out what information they have.  If they can bypass HR (Human Resources) or have other great connections then work with them.  For instance, there is one company I work with that requires all recruiters to submit resumes through their online system.  But I call the HR manager and tell her when my candidates go in so she can immediately extract them.  She is afraid of missing a truly hot candidate.  Other people who submit themselves are first sorted through by the receptionist.

You really do have to quiz recruiters about their connections.  If you answer a particular ad when there are 6 ads out there, you have a right to ask why you should send a resume in through them.

Third decide how to apply.

If the job is not exciting, it doesn’t matter how you submit your resume.  Just do some quick cosmetic changes and submit it through an agency or the HR department.

For the job that really turns you on, figure out who should submit your resume.  For any company it could be you, a friend, a recruiter or an acquaintance.  Choose in this order:

  1. Someone who can hand your resume to the hiring manager and personally recommend you.  It doesn’t get any better.
  2. Whoever can get your resume past HR and talk to the manager.
  3. The person that can talk to the HR manager or screener and get you past the first cut.
  4. At this point all submissions really are equal. Do it yourself, have an employee there submit you to HR or let a recruiter you trust and who gets back with you do it.

Fourth get your resume perfect

Put the bullets on your resume in order of importance.  Put a few key words in bold to make sure the screener and manager sees them.  Get rid of bullets, lines and sentences that do not apply to the job!!  A two page resume is fine for most jobs, but the second page may never get read.

Do the 10 second test with several people.  Hand your resume to a few friends and ask them to read it for 10 seconds.  Time them.  Take it away in 10 seconds.  Ask what they remember.  Do they mention your most important qualifications and accomplishments? If they do, it’s a winner.  If not, change it.

The 10 second test is critical because most screeners and managers give all the resumes a 10 second review to try to find the best ones first.  They will probably throw out your resume without further reading if they can’t see what they want in that first 10 seconds.

Fifth submit and follow up

Submit your resume.  Call up and find out what happened two days later.  Did your resume arrive there?  Did the manager see it yet?  When will he decide?

You really want that job? After your two day follow up call send a thank you note. Give them a nudge, short and friendly.  It is amazing how a thank you note can get someone to personally try one more time for you.

Keep calling back at least weekly.  Sometimes it does take a couple of months to fill a job.  Keep your candidacy alive until it is pronounced dead by someone who knows.

Take Your Best Shot

If you really want a job.  Go all out.  There may be 100 applicants.  In some cases there may be 1000.  Use personal contacts to set yourself apart from the herd.  Make sure your resume instantly says, “I’m qualified.”  And follow up in case you somehow get missed.


Something To Do Today

Start prioritizing all the jobs you can apply for.  On your written list make sure the jobs you crave stand out.  Treat them differently.  It is worth the extra effort.

Next week:  Recruiters and the hair on the back of your neck.

Are You Applying For A Job That Isn’t?

To get a job through internet job boards you have to overcome some huge obstacles.  One problem is that you apply for a job that isn’t.  The job doesn’t exist for you.  The job was posted because Human Resources (HR) said they had to post it.  They have an internal candidate.  You haven’t got a prayer, but you don’t know it.

The job isn’t?  You’ll never know.  Your only chance is to get someone to personally submit you to the hiring manager.  Then he may actually consider you for a job he has decided to fill internally.  You’ll have a chance.

Before you apply for any job ask yourself, “Do I know anyone who works there?” Then ask, “Do I know anyone who knows someone who works there?”  The best way to past all the screeners is to have someone personally drop your resume on the manager’s desk.

If you are really a fit for the job your friend, acquaintance or contact will be very happy to hand in your resume.  They get brownie points and sometimes bonuses for it.

How about recruiters that didn’t place the ad?  If they really know the hiring manager and can get you past HR, use them.  But be careful.  Ask them who they will be submitting you to.  Follow up with them.  Make sure they really submit you.  A well connected recruiter can make all the difference in the world.  A recruiter who knows nothing about the company can actually hurt you.  I’m a recruiter.  I’ve seen it work both ways.  Ask your recruiter what they will do in addition to submitting you to HR.

So the first thing to do is to figure out who can help you bypass HR and all the screeners.  Then ask them for their help.

Tomorrow:  how to get past the screeners.


Something To Do Today

When you decide to apply for a job, make a list of the people you know who already work there and a list of people who know someone who works there.  Ask for their help.

Tomorrow:  Job Boards:  how to get past the screeners.

I Dare You To Use This Resume Test

This test applies to resumes and often to job reviews.  The principles are the same.

Right now about 5 resumes out of every 100 make it to the hiring manager.  The average resume screener is NOT an expert in what you do.  If you are lucky he will know half of the technical terms on your resume.  The screener will decide in 10 seconds whether or not your resume comes close to being acceptable.  After this speed test, the screener will give your resume a 45 second read through.  If you pass that test you will finally get in the pile that the hiring manager gets to see.    Your resume has to get past the screener or you will not get hired.

How do you test your resume?   Find a screener of your own.

Ask a friend to look over your resume for 10 seconds.  Time them.   Snatch your resume out of their hands.  Take it away and ask them what they read.  What they tell you determines whether or not you would make the first screen test.  If you pass that test, give it back to them for 45 seconds.  Again, snatch it away and grill them about what they read.

If your resume passes this test with three different people, you have a resume that may work.  If your screener can say what you accomplished, that’s outstanding.  If he says what your duties were, that’s good.  If you are going for a programming job and he says you worked with VB.Net and C#.Net, and by the way, what are they?  You did well.

Every time you submit a resume, look at the ad you are responding to.  Will your screener pick out the key phrases in the ad…..from your resume?  Test it.  Find out.

That’s how you get more interviews.

And think about those long, boring job reviews.  Don’t you think the same test, altered depending on your circumstances, could be of help?  Test what your manager’s boss will really read.

What scares hiring managers in interviews

Why weren’t you hired?

Better question:  What scares hiring managers the most?

This article gives a good glimpse into the reason that interviewing managers run away from some candidates.

How to get hiring manager cockroaches to talk to you

The heroes in Men In Black have to stop a giant cockroach from leaving the earth.  If it leaves, the earth will be destroyed.  They are able to engage it in a conversation, sort of. They find out what is interesting enough to get the cockroach to come down and interact with (try to kill) them.

Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you.”  If you can engage the manager or his assistant cockroach in a conversation you will multiply your chances of getting an interview or a job.  Here is how you do it:

First, make sure you want the job and that you are a decent fit.  The Men In Black were the guys in charge of saving the earth.  They were motivated and had the tools, they just had to figure out how to do it.  If you are qualified to become a computer technician, audit manager or director of international sales, engage the hiring manager in a conversation.  If you are not qualified for the job, just send him a resume through Monster. That way it only takes you 10 seconds to send it and the computer will automatically delete it for them.  Conversation only works if you really want the job and really are qualified.

Now, write down the titles the hiring manager may have.  Then call up the company and ask for that person.  You may get through to him or you may get routed to someone else.  If you get routed to someone else ask, “Are you helping (title) find the person for (job name)?”  Push your way through until you get to someone who actually is helping him find a new employee.  It doesn’t matter if it is him, the HR department or a receptionist.  It has to be someone directly involved with the hiring process for that particular job.

When you get to the right person, say, “You are looking for a (job name). What has been the hardest thing for you to find in the right person?”  Then wait. Engage them in a discussion of what they are having a hard time finding in a new hire.  Make sure and ask, “Is there anything else you have a hard time finding?”  Ask that last question again and again.  Probe their answers.  Find out what the problem is that they have to solve.

Another good question is, “For the (job name), what is causing you to throw away most of the resumes that you get?”  Then probe that too.  Add, “Is there anything else?”  Listen.  Ask more questions.  Find out what can disqualify you.

Be helpful.  If you find out you are the wrong person, offer to tell someone else who is qualified about the job.  If you are the right person say, “I really fit that job, what is your email address so that I can send you my resume directly?”  You have a 50-50 chance of getting their direct email address, and that will get your resume right on top of the pile.  If you really are qualified, that is a great place to be.  And you get there by engaging them in a conversation.

Don’t forget to specifically change your resume and cover letter to match their needs.  Then call up an hour later and ask, “Did you get my resume?  What more do you need to know?”  You may just end up having a phone interview right then and there.

That is how you get a hiring manager cockroach to talk to you.

Something to do today

Make a list of the 5 jobs that you really want and are qualified for that you have not already interviewed for.  Whether or not your resume has been sent in, call them up and try this out.  Change your resume after your conversation and highlight things you didn’t know were so important.  You just may get that job.


Next:               Getting eaten by aliens – A relative or friend can help

The right words catch hiring manager cockroaches

Last time I proved beyond a reasonable doubt that hiring managers are NOT God.  I even said, “Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you.  You are a waste of their time unless you tell them something that proves they need you.  They would rather have their receptionist shred your resume than take the time to talk to you.”

Are you like the little kid in this story?

A grandfather was walking through his yard when he heard his granddaughter repeating the alphabet in a tone of voice that sounded like a prayer.  He asked her what she was doing.  The little girl explained, “I’m praying, but I can’t think of exactly the right words, so I’m just saying all the letters, and God will put them together for me, because he knows what I’m thinking.  (Charles B. Vaughan)

The hiring manager is not God.  He is a giant cockroach.

You cannot assume that a hiring manager will glean 4 key words and 2 key points out of a 3 page resume.  You get no points for length and thoroughness.  You get no points for briefness.  You get points, or an interview, for saying the key words and phrases that the hiring manager wants to hear. If you don’t  shout those key words and phrases, the manager’s receptionist will shred your resume.  Then the cockroach can hide in his office where you can’t get to him. (I wonder if the light goes off when he shuts the door?)

To find the right words and phrases you need to do some forensic language work.  Like a crime scene investigator.  Take 3 or 4 job listings or newspaper ads for different jobs with the same company. Place them all side by side.  With a blue highlighter mark all the phrases that are identical.  Identify the stuff the human resources department puts around the description the hiring manager wrote.  That fluff may possibly be necessary to get you past the HR department, but it won’t get you a job.

Now take your yellow highlighter.  Mark every misused acronym, word, technical term or technical phrase.  Those are the words the HR person didn’t understand.  They could very well be critical.  You need to have an exact match on those words in your resume.

Continue marking with an orange highlighter.  Again look for all the technical terms and acronyms.   Mark them all.  The orange words are the most likely to be used by a computer or receptionist to screen out resumes.

Finally, go back over the resume with a pink highlighter.  Mark the skills that are the most difficult to find.  What are the things in the ad that everyone wants and nobody has?

I bet those ads look terrible.  That’s good.  It means you have taken the time to study the exact words that will get you an interview.  You need to include those words and technical phrases in your resume.  They will force the screener to pass your resume on to the hiring manager.  He will have to call you in order to see if you can do the job.  You will prevent him from closing his door and hiding from you.  (And if someone does know, does the light go off in his office when he shuts the door?)


Something to do today

Get some highlighters and go through ads on the internet or in the newspaper.  Find the really key words and phrases.  Alter your resume before you send it out.  Make it so they cannot miss the things that are important to them.


Later:              Getting eaten by aliens – Engage them in conversation

A relative or friend can help

You against the hiring manager

Buzzards circle overhead. Struggling across the desert mile after mile, a hiring manager finally can walk no further.  He starts to crawl.  A candidate drives up in a jeep with 100 gallons of water.  He offers the hiring manager a ride to a hotel and all the water he can drink if he’ll split the cost of gas.  The hiring manager says, “I’ll only pay you for the water.  You are going that direction anyway.”  The candidate shakes his head and drives off.

Everyone wants a bargain. It is just a fact of life that candidates want more money and hiring managers want to pay less.  Your lifestyle is affected if you earn less.  So is the lifestyle of the hiring manager.  Managers are evaluated based on overhead.  Even if they are rewarded on output, they want to cut overhead. It is their nature.

There is no magic chart that tells what you should be paid as an employee.  I know one programmer who got a 40% raise when he finally realized he was worth more.  He went to his manager and said, “Everyone else on my team is earning $50,000 per year.  I’m better than most.  Why am I earning so little?”  What bothers me the most is that the manager and the employee felt good about the raise.  How about a bonus to make up for the previous years?

Even if you are the only person in the country who can save his company, the owner is going to look for a bargain.  They just do.  In the same vein, you will want a raise immediately after finishing training the company pays for. For some reason, a man dying of thirst still wants a bargain on a bottle of water. That’s why you have to be worth 10 times as much to be paid 2 or 3 times as much.  (That was yesterday’s lesson.)

Something To Do Today

Think about your job search. Just think.  And then take notes about your conclusions.


For 2 weeks: Zen and the art of getting a job

Tomorrow:     Perception really is everything

Later:              Character counts

Diamonds in the rough

Cleat marks up your back

A holiday job hunting secret to get you hired

Here is a job hunting secret for the holidays.   You can use holidays and vacations to give yourself a serious job boost.  All you have to do is follow the advice in this video I made on cyber monday.


Getting past the resume trash can

Do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few.  (Pythagoras)

When is your resume being thrown away? Yesterday I gave the 4 major trashing points in your resume’s life.

You have two ways to break through the cycle:

  1. Have someone give your resume directly to the boss with their recommendation.
  2. Have a resume that passes all 4 trash points.

Networking will get your resume directly to the boss with a recommendation.  Outstanding networking will get you an interview without a resume.

For the rest:

Do you pass the idiot test and the expert test?  Assume an idiot and an expert will each try to find a reason to throw away your resume.  Assume they have too many resumes and want to throw away as many as possible.  They are proactive trashers.

The secretary has to see an obvious, undeniable fit with the job description.  She won’t understand all the acronyms, but she knows they have to be there.  She knows how much experience is required.  She knows it has to be a manager or a worker. She trashes resumes that don’t shout that they fit the job.

The boss has a lot to do.  He wants a great person to work for him, but doesn’t have enough time to talk to everyone.  Like the secretary he throws out the obvious problems.  The difference is that he understands the resume.  He throws out the resumes that just don’t feel right.  Time is critical to him.  The first person he calls has the accomplishments he needs in his company.

Run a test. Take your resume and the job ad you are responding to.  Hand both to someone who doesn’t know the field.  Do they think you pass?  Do the same with an expert.  Do you pass?

Stop wishing and hoping.  Either network your way in or find your own screeners.  You need other people to help you get your resume out of the trash can.

Something To Do Today

Who do you know that is up front and brutally blunt?  Take your resume and the job ad you are responding to.  Ask them read the job ad thoroughly.  Then give them your resume.  Ask them to decide in 10 seconds if it looks like the resume passes.  Then ask them to take 45 seconds and look closer.

Do you pass the test?

When is your resume thrown away?

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  (Gardner)

Hiroshima, WWII:  “I sure wish I could find rice for my family. Hey, what is that lone airplane doing above the city? Oh well, I’ve got more important things to worry about.”

Sometimes timing is everything and you are worrying about the wrong problems.  For your resume there is a timing pattern you must understand.  You have to break through the following pattern to get hired:

  1. Your resume arrives along with 100 others.  The secretary trashes 80 after a 10 second review apiece.
  2. The secretary trashes 10 more after giving them 45 seconds apiece.
  3. Her boss gets the 10 remaining resumes and trashes 2 after a 10 second review.
  4. The boss throws away 3 more viable resumes.  He just doesn=t have the time to deal with more than 5.  For the 3 trashed, something is not quite right.
  5. He calls the 5 remaining candidates, starting with the best one.

Can you see why knowing when your resume is thrown out is critical?

Every time you send out a resume and fail to get an interview you should ask, “Who threw away my resume?”

Ask the question of yourself.  Also ask your recruiter and the HR person at the company.  Beg, if you have to.  You need to find out when and why your resume is not being considered.  Also be sensitive to the recruiter and HR.  They may lie to you.  They don’t want to argue.  They want to be powerful and all-knowing.  Play on that and ask for advice as you try to find out when your resume was trashed.

Next time we’ll talk about how to get past the screenings and into an interview.  For now, try to figure out when your resume is being thrown away.

Something To Do Today

Make some calls.  Find out where your resume is being trashed.

Ask some friends, they may be able to give you some ideas too.