Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Getting To A Live Person At The Company

2013-01-24 13:26:45

Last weekend I met with a friend of mine that is a very versatile, very senior software/IT candidate looking for a job. We were talking about how difficult it has been for him to connect with some recruiters and managers at companies that have openings he has seen. The "black hole" is swallowing up his resume, and his attempts to use LinkedIn and other networking tools has been somewhat successful, but not 100%. Like many people, he was laid off and has a family to take care of. He is also well-educated (PhD in his field) and has a stellar record.

He mentioned one particular company he has been trying to contact about an opening, but nothing he has tried has gotten him to actually speak to a real person. So I shared with him a recruiting technique that, while it takes a lot of time, can be very effective at getting a live person on the phone. If you are trying to call, say, recruiting but don't have a name and try the main switchboard (if you are lucky enough to get a live operator, if not the corporate phone tree) you may not be able to reach someone.

This exercise is best done after business hours, as you are doing research, called "name generation" in recruiting. Call the main business number, then get to the "directory by name". Start with the A's...type "AAA" or "AAB" or "AAC", and then start mapping the corporate directory. Go to the first voice mail, write down the name of the person, their department or title, and if they list it their extension. Methodically go down the directory until you find contacts in the department/s of interest.

As a candidate you can further cross-reference your findings on LinkedIn to get the correct spelling of the name and full title. Call during business hours the next day until you reach the person of interest.

If you were to call my work voice mail, my greeting says, "You have reached Kristen Fife in recruiting. I am not able to take your call right now but if you leave me your name, telephone number including area code, and a brief message I will get back to you as soon as I am able." This is pretty standard practice at most companies. Obviously, at large companies like Microsoft, or IBM, etc this is a long and tedious process, but at small to medium sized companies it can be quite useful.

Remember, the goal is to get the attention of someone to have them look at your resume or talk to you about your skill set and fit for the position. When you do get hold of someone "live" make sure you have a short pitch line ready about what and why you are calling. "Hi, my name is Jane Doe. I was interested in an opening you have for a supply chain analyst on your website. I match all your requirements, and I have six years of experience at XYZ company working on the ABC product line." Keep it concise, but recruiters especially will appreciate the fact that you have considered your match for the position and may be able to pull you out of their queue for consideration.

The Realities of Relocation
"Total Compensation" and the Job Offer

Comment on this blog
Your name:

Your email (will not be displayed):



Enter the text above to help us filter spam:

This article also appears on
Human Resources