Saturday, January 26, 2013

4 Strategies For Getting the Interview

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This is the first in a series of articles that will draw deeply on my ten years of Talent Acquisition (recruiting) work for Fortune 500 companies throughout the entertainment and staffing industries. It is my intention for these articles to support you with real, hands-on information. I intend to draw on my experience in the trenches as a recruiter or my personal success as a job hunter. This first article outlines a couple of assertive techniques that will ask you to generate courage and confidence to take action that will help you successfully distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other applicants currently in the talent pool. However, I caution you to only execute these techniques if you are indeed very qualified for the job! Although my experience is at very large companies I assert that these techniques will work well when approaching smaller companies.
1. Stop sending your resume/profile and start having conversations
In the current employment climate I encourage you to take a more active role in your search and stop sending your resume to every Tom, Dick, Harry, and job posting you see on the internet. You may not realize it, but as soon as you submit your resume to a company you also put your career in their hands. Therefore, when you see a posting at a company that interests you, ask yourself if you have a way in other than your resume. Perhaps there is someone in your network that works for the company who you can ask to e-mail or hand your resume to the hiring manager. If you don't know anyone then do the research to find out who to talk to (with sites like this isn't as hard as you might think). Send them a brief (perhaps two paragraph) intro telling them why you are the solution they need and let them know that you will be calling to follow up in a couple of days. Recruiters don't want to hear this, but (if and only if you are indeed well qualified for the opportunity) one of your best ways in is through direct contact with a hiring manager. On many occasions I have met with hiring managers to discuss new openings and have been given direct leads to candidates who had made contact with them.

2. Use the telephone
I know this seems archaic in our age of technology. However, rather than leave your career up to cyberspace I encourage you to do some groundwork, figure out who to contact, and muster up the courage to make the phone call (if and only if you are indeed well qualified for the position). When you do get the hiring manager on the phone you should be prepared with a solid twenty second pitch as to why you are the solution to their problem. Then make an agreement to submit your resume directly to them along with submitting it online. Let them know that you will call to follow up in a couple of days and how much you appreciate their time. Alternatively, if you have submitted your resume online and you know you are a great candidate for the position call within one week to follow up on the status of the position. Tell them why you are someone they would want to meet and that you would like to interview for the position. Many job postings say not to call. However, if you take a strategic approach to this, understand the line between making a phone call and being a stalker, and you are indeed a solid candidate for the job than you are doing the recruiter or hiring manager a favor. In my busy recruiting days it was a service to me when a qualified candidate whose resume I had not yet seen would call to follow up. If time allowed I would open their resume immediately. If they were a great candidate, I would get very excited and start asking questions right away or schedule a better time for an interview.

3. Do your research early
If you are contacted by a company you should be prepared by having conducted some initial research. It should answer the following questions:
a) What does the company do/offer?
b) What is their market position and who are their competitors
c) company structure
d) company financials
e) your understanding of the job based on the description.
Most, if not all of this information is readily available on the internet. You may not be asked questions that illustrate this knowledge if they are simply calling to schedule a meeting. Nonetheless, you will be prepared.

4. Be the solution
It is not a secret that many organizations are currently struggling. Hence, more than anything, even more than your actual skill set, companies are looking to hire you as a solution to their problems. What's the problem? Figuring out how to save or generate more money. One way to clearly differentiate yourself from other candidates is to illustrate that you are the solution to this problem. You want to have clear examples of how you helped address a company's bottom line on your resume and be ready to talk about them as soon as your first conversation. This may seem challenging if you are not directly in sales, finance or accounting. Here are some examples:

Marketing: How can you quantify leads that got generated through marketing campaigns you executed? How can you quantify money you saved or helped generate based on your marketing analysis.
Product Development What kind of revenue was generated by new product launches?

Project Management How can you quantify in a dollar amount time you saved on a project?
Administrative Perhaps you supported a boss who was a key player in the sales department and can illustrate how you provided the expertise to help a system run more efficiently, which saved your boss more time to go out and close additional sales.

These techniques can be daunting for some. However, the courage you need to take assertive action in alignment with your desire to get back work is right within you! It is your vision coupled with action that will help bring your career back into reality!

Do you have a strategy you want to share or a question about "getting the meeting?" Please comment below. You never know, the story you share may just be what the person reading it needs to hear. "tweet" this article or post it to Facebook so others can benefit from this information!
The next segment in Lessons from My Recruiting Desk will show you how to stop interviewing and provide in depth details for crafting your "winning job presentation!".

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