In a perfect world, every job interview would end with the hiring manager literally begging you to take the position offered – and for more money than advertised! But perfect worlds only exist in fairytales, and the competitive employment market that job aspirants face today means that if you really want the job, you must go the extra mile, as they say, to prove that no one else need be considered for the position because you’re “It”. The line between winning and losing a job starts from the moment you spy the advertised job opportunity.
Wowing “Em From The Get-Go
1. Don’t apply online. Speak to either the HR department or the actual hiring manager first.
Completing an online application is tantamount to riding a bus to nowhere. Once you press the “submit” button, who knows where the thing goes. Generally it lands in an email address box for sorting by a clerk who either scans it for certain buzz words or is too busy handling other matters that it’s never even opened. You can avoid this by calling the company and getting to the person who is handling that particular candidate search. That way your résumé can be sent directly to the decision maker who already is familiar with your name, your voice, and your interest in the position. It might take some ladder climbing before you get to the right person or his assistant, but it’s worth your time and patience to do so.
2. The day after you send your résumé and cover letter call the assistant to the person with whom you originally spoke.
If you did not speak to the assistant when you called the first time, this is your opportunity to do so. The assistant is the boss’s gatekeeper, and his or her input on hiring decisions is greater than you think. To the trusted assistant this shows good follow-up on your part. By calling to be sure your material was received, displays respect for the boss’s time along with an understanding of the responsibilities usually handled by his or her support staff. In other words, you are demonstrating knowledge of the concept “chain of command”.
3. If you are invited for an interview, be certain to accept a time slot for which you have time.
Don’t try to fit something as important as this into your lunch break. Make certain that you leave fifteen minutes earlier than the amount of time it will take to get to the interview and allot at least an hour to ninety minutes to spend there. If you have most of the qualifications on paper that the position requires, any competent hiring manager will find a way to see you either before the start of the business day or after. It is perfectly permissible, and an admirable show of how seriously you regard the responsibilities of your current job, to state that you want to schedule an appointment so that you have time to learn what the company wants and needs beyond the formulaic pap stated in the advert.
As my mother used to say, there is no substitute for good manners, and that old saw has never been more true than it is today when society is overly casual and the line between employees and their superiors is often blurred. Demonstrating courtesy in respecting others needs while displaying that winning “go get ‘em” attitude goes a very long way in telegraphing that you are The “It” Person they’ve been looking for all along.