Impress Each Decision Maker

By Joe Stein

During the course of your interactions with a prospective employer, you will interact with several different individuals. Each person, to a varying degree, will have some influence regarding whether you are going to receive an offer rather than a regret.
 
It is an ever increasing trend that decisions are made collectively. The Hiring Manager will make the ultimate decision but a consensus is attempted by everyone involved in the process. Because of this, you need to successfully manage several different people.
 
It is important that you manage the relationship with each person of influence, so that you will have as many advocates as possible when it comes to decision time. Let’s examine each potential decision maker and offer some suggestions on how to influence the relationship you have with this person. 
 
·        Recruiter – This is the person who you will make initial contact with if you are at a Career Fair or calling to follow-up on a lead. The primary role of this person is to generate an influx of applications/resumes from qualified individuals. The goal is to generate some type of connection with this person so that they will place you in the follow-up pile. Prepare by having your 30-second “elevator speech” ready so that you can impress, given a very limited amount of time with the Recruiter.
 
·        Scheduler – This is a role found more so 10-20 years ago than it is today.   In this role, a person makes preliminary contact with a Job Seeker via the telephone and schedules the person for their interview, either in-person or by telephone. As Employment Departments have been “right-sized” over the years, this role has often been absorbed by the Employment Specialist. The goal is to be pleasant with this person while being flexible, as she or he attempts to schedule you. Being difficult to reach or hard to schedule you may generate a comment by this person to the Employment Specialist.
 
·        Employment Specialist – This may be the same person serving in the “Recruiter” role. This is the person who will perform the initial screening of your candidacy. This initial screening is usually done via phone screen. It is only after passing this hurdle would a person move on to in-person interviewing with the Hiring Manager. Typically, the Employment person will pass on a minimum of 3 candidates for next-level interviewing. This minimum amount will provide the Hiring Manager with some people to benchmark each other. Usually a maximum of 5-7 people are provided; anymore than that is time-consuming and burdensome for the Hiring Manager. The Employment Specialist may also participate in the in-person interviewing in order to provide the Hiring Manager with an additional perspective. The Employment Specialist will be looking for you to be able to express why you are qualified for the position. If the conversation is held via the phone, your oral communication skills must be particularly sharp.
 
·        Front Desk – Probably the most forgotten person on this entire list. This is the person who is assigned to checking you in and alerting people that you have arrived. A good Front Desk person will also note your behavior while waiting, such as how nervous you appear to be. Unusual or rude behavior may cause the Front Desk person to alert the Hiring Manager of your antics.
 
·        Hiring Manager – In a smaller company, the “Hiring Manager” may serve in all of the above roles. In larger organizations, however, when you begin to make contact with the Hiring Manager, it is an indication that you are moving towards being one of the finalists for the position.   This is generally the ultimate decision-maker, so it is imperative that you have positive interactions with this person.  
 
·        “Boss” of the Hiring Manager – For some positions, the Hiring Manager may want his or her boss to interview the top candidate. This is typically an indication that you are a top candidate. A “boss” may want to be involved if this is an important high-level position, or if there is not complete trust in the Hiring Manager’s decision making. Be ready to reinforce, to the “boss”, what the Hiring Manager sees in you. Concisely communicate not only how well you match-up with the open position, but also that you have connected with the Hiring Manager. 
 
It should be clear to any Job Seeker that relationships are crucial to a successful search. Understanding who each potential decision maker is and how you can influence them can provide you with a competitive advantage during your job search. 
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.