Ask The Headhunter®

the insider's edge on job search & hiring™
July 20, 2010
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This week's Q&A

How can I identify the manager who would hire me?

Talk to Nick
: For job hunters, managers, HR
Reader's Forum: How do you get to the hiring manager?


You have said that the key to a successful job search is to contact the person you would work for within an organization, and to show how you can help out. How can I find the manager who has the problems I'll be able to solve?

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There was no newsletter last week—I was at the beach! But now I'm back and feeling the effects of summer, so I'm offering ATH Newsletter subscribers an extra $5 OFF the 2-Book Bundle (How to Work with Headhunter + How Can I Change Careers).

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— Nick

Readers' Forum

How do you get to the hiring manager?

It's the question on the lips of every frustrated job hunter who's tired of hearing HR say, "Don't call us, we'll diss you..."

Career counselors and coaches routinely tell job hunters to "go talk to the manager directly!"

But, do they explain how to actually do that? I know the methods I've shared with you actually work because I've used them "in the other direction" to find great candidates for my clients.

How do you get to the hiring manager when you're job hunting? Come to The Blog and share your tips! (And find out how others do it!)

Nick's Reply

Your challenge as a job hunter is not to apply for lots of open jobs. It's to carefully target the manager whom you can help the most.

To find a manager who really needs you, it’s best to triangulate. That is, talk to people who know and work for managers who may be relevant to your job search. This includes less obvious contacts, like a company’s customers and vendors.

Another productive approach is to read business articles to learn what problems the entire industry is grappling with. Often, these articles will mention names of people who work for or know the company you're interested in. Call those people. Explain that you are interested in their industry and the company. These are the people best positioned to introduce you to the right manager. These peripheral people will also help you prepare for a knowledgeable discussion with the hiring manager.

Here's the key: Do not ask for a job lead. Instead, ask intelligent questions based on what you’ve read, like a peer would. What advice would these folks give someone who wants to work in their business, and perhaps for their company? These discussions will lead you to people who will bring you closer to a particular manager's inner circle.

When you're talking to people who work for the manager, you're getting the information you really need (and a possible introduction).

How can you do some of the key research, and how do you get ready to meet the people who can lead you to the manager? Two sections of How Can I Change Careers? deal specifically with these issues. (This PDF book is not just for career changers; it's for anyone who wants to get an edge on changing jobs.) A section about how to "Put a Free Sample in Your Resume" helps you show the manager how you'll bring profit to the bottom line.

When headhunters search for good job candidates, they first study the business by talking to people in it—especially the movers and shakers. The secret is to talk shop and to demonstrate that your focus is on the work. These discussions open doors to the right candidates. Just as naturally, your research on a company’s problems and challenges will lead you to people who know the right managers.

Yep, this is a lot of work. But so is that great job you want. There's no better way to show your initiative, or to get an edge on your competition, than to find and meet the manager through people he knows and trusts.


Nick Corcodilos
Ask The HeadhunterŽ

Have a question? Ask away. Each week I'll publish a Q&A that I think readers will find helpful. I will not publish your name if you submit a question through this link. Please see terms of submission below. Sorry, I cannot answer questions privately. Please do not send me resumes; I won't read them.

Talk to Nick

This popular new feature is a way to talk with me directly. Are you job hunting? Are you a manager trying to hire more effectively? Maybe you work in HR and would like new perspectives on recruiting and hiring.

Sometimes you have a question too detailed for the newsletter, or it's confidential. I'm not a counselor, nor do I want to be. I will not hold your hand through a job search or consult to you for a year. Talk to Nick enables you to ask me specific questions in short conversations privately via telephone.

Fee: $119 for half an hour, $225 for a full hour. E-mail me your Talk to Nick request in 50 words or less. If I have room in my schedule, I will e-mail you to arrange time to talk. (Payment: Via PayPal or major credit card. For now, this service is available only to U.S. subscribers.)

Talk to Nick: How did it help you?

Nick, the biggest thing that stuck out to me was the idea of simply talking shop to people, and not even mentioning that I'm looking for a job. It didn't take much of that before I made friends with a lot of new people and was able to land a job with one of them. Thanks!         — Dan Crookston

Find out more...
How to Work with Headhunters

"How to Work with Headhunters is the essential guide to headhunters for the serious professional—it contains insights that you will find nowhere else. Nick Corcodilos uniquely distills what you need to know and what you need to do to make headhunters work for you."

Stephen Ibaraki
Canadian Information
Processing Society

How to Work with Headhunters
How Can I Change Careers?

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Find out more...
How Can I Change Careers?

"Whether you are changing careers or jobs, the principles laid out in this book should form the basis of your approach. It's well-written and easy to understand. As always, the advice is spot on!"

Kathy Simmons
CEO, Netshare


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