Getting The Interview

So you've got your resume and cover letter set up and you've sent them off for that next dream job. Assuming that you're not going through a firm or a headhunter then you still have to do some work. Just because you may be the perfect person for a job, and your resume is in the system, that doesn't mean it will ever be read.

See, you have to remember that the HR people are not your friends yet, even though they tend to be very friendly people. Their job is also not to find the best person on the planet for a particular position. Their job is to find 3-5 good fits that could fill a position and put those people in front of the decision makers.

Because, think about this. A decision maker has to make decisions about a lot of things. They're busy people. So they don't want to interview 40 people when they could find a good fit after just a few. So your goal is to be on the top of the pile. Aside from nepotism there are a couple of ways to accomplish this.

If you know someone in the company, get them to do an internal submission for you. Those are normally put higher on the queue, and you can get your friend to go to the HR person directly to find out if they've gotten the resume, and where they are in the hiring process. It also helps because your friend can be assumed to be someone that knows the culture fit, so you're already partially pre-screened.

If you don't know anyone then you might need to be a bit duplicitous. This is a bit sneaky and underhanded, but I've seen it work at law firms, schools for educational positions, when applying for office manager positions, and in my own computer industry. You send your resume in before noon. Then around 1 o'clock either call (if you can get a number) or email and say something like "I sent you a resume this morning, and I just found out that some of the attachments I was sending out were getting corrupted. Could you do me a huge favor and just open the attachment real quickly? I just want to make sure it got to you ok."

There are a lot of reasons that this works.
  1. HR people tend to want to help others in general, so they normally don't mind doing something small to help you out
  2. Once they've got your resume open, they will often look at it. Especially if they aren't currently in process doing anything else.
  3. It's the same day, so it's a plausible amount of time for you to be having an "oh s#!t" moment where you want to fix a problem before it becomes a problem.
  4. This doesn't hold true for everyone, but many HR people will do meetings in the morning and paperwork in the afternoon. So the time of day they'd be reviewing resumes is in the afternoon, and now yours is already open. So there's at least a decent chance that they will go ahead and review it.
  5. It also shows you have real interest in the company and aren't just collecting another name and company for your unemployment benefits.
At this point it's out of your hands until they call you back to schedule a phone screen or an interview. When that happens you should grab your list of companies and have just a sentence or two to remind you of what the company does so you can sound like this is really high on your list. You should also, if you get a shot, ask about the general business environment. The real goal here is to figure out how to dress on the interview, which leads us into the next section.

Previous Page: Resumes Next Page: Interview Preparation