EP 1158 How do you get past the one person or thing there to be the guardian for the person you want to talk with?

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The 1st advice I always give is to speak with great confidence certainty and friendliness. You don't want to sound like you're arrogant. You don't want to sound like you’re a BS artist. You just want to speak like a normal human being talking to another normal human being.

“Hi! This is so-and-so's office.”

“Is she available, please?” Or, “Is Susan available?” Or “Is Rajiv available?” Whatever the 1st name is, always referred by 1st name. Never refer to Ms. so-and-so or Mr. so-and-so. That’s a red flag that you don't know this person and are an outsider.

, “What’s this in reference to?” Often, I'm starting at the highest level of that department, so I might start by calling, for example, if you're up looking to, reach the hiring manager in a financial organization, I might start by calling the CFO’s office.

“I understand, there is a position open for such and such. Who is the hiring manager for that role, please?” An admin, an administrative assistant who picks up a call for the CFO will, at that point, tell me. If I'm not speaking with an admin and I am leaving a voice response message, I might simply say, “I'm trying to connect with the person who might be responsible for hiring for such and such. Would you please give me a call back at . . . “and offer my name and number, so this way, there is a reason that they know, why you're calling,

I often get calls back because I'm not trying to impose on them. They can have an admin call me back with that name and number and I'll call the 2nd time, not 15 minutes later, but I'll do a morning call. I will call mid-afternoon and I'll call the next morning. They’ll get the idea not going away.

So, once I’m calling the actual hiring manager,, I am saying, “I’m referred by so-and-so's office who told me , are responsible for hiring for this role,” so , I’m able to name drop which often gets me the return phone call because I am able to reference someone at a higher level who is telling me to reach out to them.

So, the easiest way to get through the gatekeeper is by referencing someone a higher level who directed you to that individual.

So, again, you get the hiring manager's name from up high, you call into the organization, “Hi! Is Steve available? Susan? Rajiv? Whatever the name is available and speaking with certainty, with confidence, with friendliness. Never the dismissiveness. You never say, “it’s a professional matter!” You might well just ask to be hung up on. .

So, once you're being asked, “What’s this is in reference to,” say, “I understand there is a position available. So-and-so on told me that she was the hiring manager and I'm following through because I would like to be of help with recruiting.”

“Oo-and-so's office told me to call her.”

“So, again, I'm name dropping a high-level individual, whether it's receptionist, a voice response, that seems to be a great way to get calls back.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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