Building Effective Relationships with the Doorman

In my coaching sessions I talk with job seekers about taking a multi-pronged approach to breaking into a company. Yes, you should contact the hiring manager directly, and yes you should attempt to get an introduction from someone inside the organization. You should also observe protocol and apply through the website, HR contact, or jobsite. Then, when you are able to reach the hiring manager you can let them know you have followed directions.

Now that we have that out of the way, my thoughts this month are focused on how to build a strong relationship with the “doorman” – and how this relationship will help you get that job. The doorman may be an internal recruiter, a contract internal recruiter, a third-party recruiter, an external consultant, an internal administrator or an internal human resources representative. Regardless of the role, that person’s responsibility is to facilitate the application, screening and interview process. This person is a trusted advisor working as an agent on behalf of the company and your relationship with this doorman is critical to your job search.

Let’s explore some of the Rules of Engagement – and the purpose behind them.

1) Always take the call – Recruiters are scouting for talent. If you get a call, then that means you’ve been identified as potentially having talent. When you take time to talk with a recruiter about you, your experience, and what your next position might look like you have expanded your network exponentially. Even if you are happily employed right now, the recruiter has captured information about you and your goals, so that if something comes up that matches what you want, you surface as a prospect.

If you don’t take the call, then you’ve sent a message that you are not worth their time – and you’ll be passed on for that perfect position because no one but you knows what that looks like.

2) Share Referrals – again, recruiters are scouting for talent. Good recruiters will respectfully ask you for referrals; great talent knows other great talent! You have friends, colleagues, associates and partners who may be interested in a position even if you aren’t. Why wouldn’t you try and help someone else by sharing information? If you were looking for a job, wouldn’t you appreciate a friend referring you? If you are worried about confidentiality then take the name and number of the recruiter and pass it along. The good karma will come back tenfold.

3) Follow up and follow through. The screening process with a recruiter has a number of objectives. First, the recruiter wants to gauge your suitability for the position. As well, the recruiter is evaluating your personal character, ability to follow directions, follow up as requested, communicate professionally and observe professional etiquette.

An illustration: I schedule calls with candidates and instruct them to phone me at a specific time. By doing so, I am testing their ability to keep their commitments, be on time, follow instructions and respect other people’s time. During the screening call I take time to get to know candidates beyond what their resume has to say. I am capturing information about their communication skills, thinking processes, ability to articulate abstract concepts, honesty and personal ethics. Based on the results of this discussion I decide whether or not the hiring manager will experience this candidate. Yes, it’s my decision – I am a trusted advisor.

4) Get the inside scoop. The recruiter – internal or external – has insider information that will help you. Working as an agent on behalf of the hiring manager (or company) your recruiter contact will help position you for success during the interview process. You are reflective of their skills/ability so if you ask and listen, you’ll go into the interview armed with everything you need to shine! Ask about corporate culture, ask about the hiring manager’s hot buttons, ask about taboo subjects, ask about the dress code for the interview, and ask intelligent questions. It’s like having a coach in your corner!

5) Mind your manners. Politeness, courtesy and manners go a long way with the recruiter. Send a thank you note, respond to emails and phone calls promptly and be candid about feedback. These seem like silly details, but they speak volumes about your character – and when it comes down to you and another finalist – character may get the job.

Recruiters, Human Resources Experts and Human Capital Consultants are regularly part of the hiring process. As we continue our economic rebound these talented professionals will be working with hiring companies to make sure that the very best candidates are hired. Turnover is costly and a bad hire has lasting consequences. Befriend these trusted advisors and shorten your distance to a new position.