In the March 5, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader wastes time begging HR.
Can I re-apply for a job if there are vacancies still open after my application has been turned down?
Of course you can. But why would you want to? Fool me once, fool me twice — you’ve already learned this company chews up applications and spits them out without even talking to the applicant.
Think about this: The hiring manager probably doesn’t even know you applied! The manager probably has never seen your resume! A personnel clerk with no expertise in the work you do (or in the open job) put a big X on your application.
But there’s a smart alternative: Go around Human Resources (HR). Go around the job application form.
Go around the system
The conventional advice on this problem is that if HR has already rejected you, you shouldn’t waste your time. But that’s like the boy who shows up to a girl’s house to ask her on a date — and the gardener shoos him away, so he gives up.
Personnel jockeys don’t control the jobs, so don’t let their officious posturing convince you that they do. They control the applications — but don’t go that route! Don’t take no for an answer until you hear it straight from the hiring manager.
Go around HR
Get in the door without an application, and without facing the “job application meat grinder software.” Here are the basic steps for going around the system — though they are not for the meek.
1. Throw out your resume.
The average time a manager spends reading a resume is six seconds. It’s not a good way to get in the door. (See Tear your resume in half.) Don’t use a resume.
2. Don’t apply for jobs. Find problems to solve.
You have millions of competitors applying for millions of jobs, so stop competing with them. Don’t submit job applications. Instead, read the business and industry press. Find a handful of companies that have specific, well-publicized problems. Decide how you can help solve those problems. (If you can’t figure that out, then that company or job is not for you.)
3. Find the managers.
HR will tell you you’re not allowed to contact hiring managers directly. That’s the best reason to contact the managers directly! But don’t ask the managers for a job. Talk shop. Explain that you’ve learned about their problem. (See How to get to the hiring manager.)
4. Offer a solution.
Whether in person, by phone or e-mail (in that order of preference) briefly explain to the manager how you can help solve the problem. Outline your solution in 3-5 steps. Don’t give all the details — but your summary had better be good.
5. Ask for a 20-minute meeting, not a job interview.
“If you’ll spend 20 minutes with me, I’ll show you why I’d be a profitable hire. If I can’t prove it to you in those 20 minutes, I will leave.”
That’s no easy task. But if you can’t show in 20 minutes why you’re worth hiring, then you have no business in that meeting. Of course, you will have to present a more detailed “proof” if the manager is impressed.
Everything else is a waste of time, designed to make busy work for HR that looks like productivity. You can and should apply for a job you believe — and can prove — you can do. But don’t waste your time applying on a form to the HR department.
For more about this approach to landing the job you want, please see Skip The Resume: Triangulate to get in the door.
If you want another shot at another job at this company, of course you can try again! But don’t waste your time with the gate keeper. Go talk to the real decision maker!
Now get to work, because doing what I suggest is hard work — as hard as that great job you want. So do the work to prove you can do the job.
I’d like to hear from those who are willing to invest the time and effort to try what I’ve suggested. Any takers? How do you go around HR?