Tag Archives: job application

How to engage the hiring manager in a conversation

How to engage the hiring manager in a conversation

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 their assistant 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 Indeed or ZipRecruiter. 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 them, 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 to talk to you.

Something to do today

Make a list of a few 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.

How not to be a liar in resumes and job apps

I thought not lying was easy.  Then I got good questions from people who want to tell the truth, but don’t know what it is.  So let me help you tell the verifiable truth.  Here is how to tell the truth and stay out of trouble in question and answer format.

Q. I was laid off, but given three months of pay after I stopped working, and was allowed to use my office too.  When was my last day of work?

A. Call up the HR (Human Resources) Department and ask them when your first and last day of employment was.  Use those dates.  It doesn’t matter what you think is honest, a misrepresentation, or a lie.  The companies who check your resume will be given those same dates by the HR department.  Use them.

Q.  I was a temp worker at Boeing, working for McGraw Engineering, and paid by Kelly Services.  Who should I put down as my employer?

A. The company whose name was on your contract or paycheck was your employer.  You might want to put the job on your resume as:

Boeing, reporting to McGraw Engineering, contracted by Kelly Services.

Q. Can I leave out a job?

A. If it doesn’t apply to the job you are trying to get, maybe you can leave it off the resume.  A resume is an honest ad, not a confessional. You don’t HAVE to put every job on it.  However, it is safer to have one line on your resume where the job or jobs you don’t want to mention should go. Put:

Transportation Jobs 5/1999 – 8/2003

That way you account for the time.  You also make it so short it does not force the hiring manager to think about it.

All jobs must be put on the job application, even if they are not on your resume.  You can put that same single line about Transportation Jobs, but on the job application every single job must be accounted for.

The only exception is if you have 20 years of jobs, and the first 10 years don’t apply.  Then you can truncate, or cut off the oldest jobs.

The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. (Will Rogers)

Something To Do Today

Sit down and think.  Are you leaving something out in your resume to simplify it, or are you lying?

Your resume is not an FBI background check.  It is an honest advertisement.

There is no reason to disqualify yourself.  There is no excuse for lying.


Later:              The incredible strength of weak connections

How many times do I have to tell them

Brass knuckles and the law (and resumes and interviews)

My dad was in court defending a man accused of using a dangerous weapon.  The weapon was brass knuckles. Dad pointed out that the law very specifically defines the weapons to which it applies.  The law mentions a brass device that fits in the palm of the hand for support and goes around the fingers or knuckles to protect the holder and do harm to an opponent.  It was ALMOST a definition of the weapon in this case. Unfortunately the defendant’s brass knuckles were made of aluminum.  The judge had no choice but to dismiss the charges.

Don’t get that precise and misleading when you are applying for a job.  Even if you get the job, you’ll be in trouble later.  There are expected degrees of precision and disclosure in resumes, interviews and job applications.

Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only approximation is possible.”

Let’s apply this to your job search.


These are personal advertisements.  You do not need to disclose anything you don’t want to.  That said, lying on a resume is a firing offense.  Moving dates or claiming titles, responsibilities and accomplishments you don’t have are lies. Leaving out irrelevant jobs is fine but don’t move the employment dates around those jobs. Putting a brief and accurate summary of your job responsibilities in place of a title is acceptable because hiring authorities will use the title you put down as a summary anyway.


A lie is any communication given with intent to deceive. You don’t have to confess something unless you are asked about it or know it will normally disqualify you completely.  Don’t lie.  Shrugging your shoulders can be a lie.  The difficult thing is picking the relevance of your revelations. Strive to understand what your interviewers need to know. Give them the short and simple truth.  When your background or claims are checked out, no one will remember precisely how you worded an answer.  You’ll get fired for skirting the truth in an interview.  Be clearly understood.


Be precise.  Answer the exact question asked.  Don’t embellish.  Don’t add explanations.  Tell your problems in as few words as possible.  Don’t leave out any jobs on the application.  You can leave them out on the resume, not the application.  On the application they want all your recent jobs. Put your exact and official job title where it asks for it.  Applications demand very exact and precise answers.  Don’t lie by being incredibly precise and misleading.  Be precise and understood.  In many cases your application is never read carefully anyway.

A resume, interview and job application are not the places to try and get away with highly technical definitions. In Dad’s court case the judge was bound by a strict set of laws. When you get a job, your boss and coworkers are going to quickly start calling you a liar if you rely on word tricks.  You may technically have been accurate but you will still get busted.

Something To Do Today

If you have a blemish on your record, decide where it needs to be talked about or shown.


Tomorrow:     I only allow reality on my desk

Later:              Double your value, make more money


Please discriminate against me