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.