Contacts: How Part 4

When you don’t know the decision maker’s name:

Janet Jamahl wants to be a receptionist. She knows about ABC Manufacturing, but does not know the decision maker’s name.

Them: Hello, ABC Manufacturing. How may I direct your call?

Janet: This is Janet Jamahl and I would like to speak with your office manager.

Them: That’s Beverly Manson. Hold on, I’ll connect you.

Beverly: Hello, how may I help you?

Janet: My name is Janet Jamahl. I have a year’s experience as a receptionist. I can handle a multi-line phone system, type 45 words per minute and am very strong in customer service. I’d like to meet briefly with you to discuss how these skills might be valuable to your business. (This is Janet’s skills statement.)

It’s not always easy

Unfortunately, many times it is not so easy to get through to the decision maker. The person answering the phone may try to screen your call. In Janet’s call, the screener could have said, “May I tell her what this is about?” Janet should not say, “I’m looking for a job.” Instead she could say:

“I’m calling to make an appointment with her.” OR

My name is Janet Jamahl. I am an experienced receptionist and clerical worker. I am also good at dealing with the public and want to see how these skills might be useful to your company.” OR

“It’s a personal matter.”

When you can’t get through to a decision maker

If this happens, at least find out the decision maker’s name. Say something like:

  1. “May I leave my name and number and have them call me back?” After giving the screener your information, ask: “What is his or her name so I’ll know whom to expect a call from?”
  2. “Perhaps I’ll send a brief letter. To whom should I address it?”
  3. “What is the name of the person who handles the hiring?”

Once you have the name, write it down on your contact sheets and diary yourself to call back in two or three days. When you call back, ask for the decision maker by name. This greatly improves your chances of getting to the right person– the person who can set up a face-to-face interview with you.

If a screener tells you there are no positions open.

Never believe this unless you hear it directly from the decision maker. Screeners are paid to screen not hire. They do not know what is going in a decision maker’s head. For instance:

  •         An employer may create a new position for an applicant with the skills and experiences that fill a need for a company.
  •         The decision maker is unhappy with an employee and would like to replace him but has not told anyone.
  •         An employee recently told the boss that she is leaving but no one else knows.
  •         The employer has been toying with the idea of creating a position to improve production.
  •         The decision maker you spoke to has no need for a new employee but has just had lunch with an employer who does.

It is easy to understand that a screener would not know about these possibilities. These kinds of situations make up what is called the “hidden job market”. Eight of every ten positions are filled due to scenarios like these. This is why you must get past the screener and to the decision maker. Do whatever you must to accomplish this.

Contacts: How Part 3

  1. Have your partner make the following statements so that you can practice responses:
  •         We don’t have any positions open at this time.
  •         I don’t have any openings and I’m too busy to meet with you.
  •         Why don’t you check back with me later?
  1. Practice giving the employer brief examples of how you gained the skills mentioned in your skills statement.

Getting through to decision makers

The interview is the path to the job offer. Employers do not hire resumes, applications, or phone calls. They hire people they have met. Setting up these face-to-face meetings is the one reason you are contacting employers.

You are not calling employers to find:

  •         If they have any openings
  •         If they are accepting applications
  •         If they will look at your resume

You may find all this information in a very short phone call, but that’s not the main reason you are calling. You are calling to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the decision maker. But first you have to reach the decision maker. Here are some tried and true methods of getting through to the person you want.

When you know the decision maker’s name:

Bob Williams wants a job as a checker in a supermarket. Here’s how Bob handles his call when he knows the decision maker’s name:

Them: Hello, Low Price Market, may I help you?

Bob: This is Bob Williams calling for Alice Fenton.

Them: Hold on please.

Alice: This is Alice Fenton.

Bob: Hi, this is Bob Williams. I have six months experience at a food store as well as two years’ experience serving the public. I am fast and accurate and able to work a variety of shifts. I am calling to set up a meeting with you to discuss how my skills might match your company’s needs. Would Wednesday or Thursday be better for you? (This is Bob’s skills statement)

Alice: Thursday in the afternoon would be best.

Bob: How about 1:30?

Alice: That’s fine. I’ll see you then. And bring a copy of your resume.

But what if Alice had said:

Alice: We don’t have any positions at this time.

Bob: That’s OK. I’m not expecting you to offer me a job that doesn’t exist. But I’ve found that when I have had five or ten minutes to talk about my skills, people often think about someone else who might be interested in hearing about them. With that in mind, could we meet briefly?

What if Alice had said:

Alice: I really don’t have any openings and I’m just too busy to meet with you.

Bob: Well, thanks for your time today. I wonder if you know of anyone else who might be interested in hearing from a skilled worker?