The old age question that has been argued each way since time began, or at least since we started pondering the questions of our existence. Where did we come from? How did we get here? Which came first the “chicken” or the “egg?” It’s the same scenario when I am dialing for dollars, cold prospecting looking for the next new client with the blistering hot order. Who do I call? Do I call the Hiring Manager top make an introduction or do I hone in on Human Resources?
This scenario is enough to at times to make you break out in a cold sweat and forget how to spell your name. Making the introduction either way is not a simple task. If I ask the reception for HR I may just end up dying in the dreaded voice mail vortex that sucks the blood and guts out of a Headhunter. If I ask for the Manager by title “Who is the V.P. Of Software Development and could you put me through please” Well I just opened myself up to a litany of objections the first most likely will be “What is the nature of your call?” Yes we are between a “Rock and a Hard Place.. Chicken or the Egg”
We are “Hunters” not “Gatherers” client pays us a fee for our services and to be quite candid we don’t come cheap. Grow a backbone not a wishbone and go directly for the Hiring Manager. You will have to sharpen your spear and not only expect objections from the gatekeeper you will have to foresee them in advance so you are well prepared. The same goes for the Manager, when they pick up the phone you better have something worth saying, something that has some substance and relevancy to what they are doing on a day to day basis.
I have made some great relationships with HR and for sure they are a pivotal part of the process and I’m not advocating doing an end run around them or going in the back door. What I’m suggesting is be like a Doctor and go to where the pain is most acute. Yes HR feels the pain of the open role; however the Manager feels it far more intensely as it’s their entire world where our HR friends have many, many different functions in their portfolio not just staffing.
More time than not especially with larger firms the Hiring Manager even though there is a need and a burning pain from a desk that is sitting empty, policy dictates that EVERYTHING goes through HR. Yes you can have the best introduction in the world, conduct a text book needs analysis for the open requisition, but if HR is not on board you may not get past square number one. When you have done a great pitch and have built some rapport with the Manager, he asks you to call HR, ask for a small favour.
“Mrs. Hiring Manager thanks for your time and the job specs. I will reach out to HR and make the introduction; however I will not call for a day or so. HR is getting lots of calls from Recruiters could you please mention to HR that I will be calling? That way I’m not totally taking them by surprise.”