The Silent Treatment
Ring Ring, no answer. Ping, Ping no reply. Does this sound like a tune you’ve heard over and over again? It’s called “the silent treatment” and if you’ve ever heard the sounds of crickets when you try to reach out to a recruiter for a job you’ve been dying to interview for, you are probably not alone. The silent treatment doesn’t mean that a recruiter does not want you. It just means that given the amount of people banging down their door, you are let’s just say, not necessarily a priority.
Many people think they need to be aggressive when they are job-hunting, with the number of applicants vying for the attention of one lonely and over-worked recruiter. Sometimes that might not be a bad strategy. However, given you are trying to get the attention of someone you really don’t know and they really don’t care, you’ve got to be more than creative these days if you want to get ahead. There was an old expression referred to as “cold-calling” when sales people wanted to drum up leads for new business. That simply implies that you go down a list of intended targets and start dialing for dollars in the hopes you get just one interested party on the other end of the line willing to take your call.
These days, cold calling a prospective employer will likely lead you to the Job Hotline, a disconnected voicemail or an “out-of-office” email reply. That doesn’t mean you should give up! It just means that if you really, really, really, really want a job with a particular company, you have to go above and beyond to make yourself known and seen. Now I’m not implying you parachute yourself on top of the recruiter’s office with your resume plastered to your jumpsuit, but finding a way of getting a face-to-face meeting with a recruiter or hiring manager needs to be your main objective.
Here are some simple tips to help you stay focused on your target and creatively maneuver yourself in front of the recruiter:
- Hide & Seek: Your main goal needs to be to find out who is handling the search internally and who has the hiring authority. Too many times people court the receptionist or an administrative assistant only to find out they don’t even work for the hiring manager or have an in with the recruiter. Do your homework and find out through your network, linked-in contacts and your “cold-calling” skills the name and email of the person you are looking to speak to regarding the position. Seek them out and make contact!
- Bribes Work: Once you’ve identified your target, find a way to get an in person meeting. This is where you nee to put your creativity to the test. Make sure your resume is EXACTLY what they are looking for and that you have done your research on the job and the company. Send a note, something creative that’s tied to your resume and messenger it to the office, hand-deliver and email it in a creative way that captures the recruiter’s attention.
- Engage: Once you’ve gotten the recruiter’s attention don’t be a bone head and think you’ve aced the deal. This is your chance to prove and impress someone by being “authentic” and “real”. Discussing your background in relation to what they are seeking from the candidate profile is where you need to remain focused. Rambling about your past experiences, and how wonderful you are won’t score you any points. Stick to the facts and stop and make sure you ask the recruiter or hiring manager questions and remember to listen. Some people tend to nervously chatter on without allowing the other person to get a word in-don’t make that mistake. You are lucky to be sitting in front of the recruiter and have his/her undivided attention-don’t blow it.
- Follow-up: Make sure you send an email immediately following your meeting with the recruiter or anyone else you were lucky enough to interview with and request next steps and follow-up. The key is to keep the ball moving forward and not to let your meeting and efforts fall into a black hole.
- Seal The Deal: If you are lucky enough to make it to the finalist round then you’ve done everything right. If not, see if you can professionally and objectively get some honest feedback from the recruiter. Remember it’s not their job to tell you what you are doing wrong in an interview. But if you play it right and make them comfortable that you are not going to throw them under the bus for being up front with you, find out what you needed to do to make it to the final round. At the very least, it’s good information for next time. And remember to take the feedback objectively and not personally.
If you were lucky enough to get a job offer, congratulations you are a very good student. If you are still job-hunting then take a few more practice shots and don’t be discouraged if you get the silent treatment, one day the choir of angels will be singing loudly on your behalf!
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