Part one of this discussion explained how the present hiring process results in eliminating all but people who are looking to make a strictly lateral move. Many such hires are less than the best. After all, why would someone who is doing well at their present company want to jump ship. Some jump in hopes of a better compensation package, because they feel stymied or blocked from advancement, are bored where they are currently working, or simply because they don’t get along well with their boss or colleagues.
Regardless of why someone wants to make a lateral move, the present hiring process is geared to weed out all but the most neutral applicants.
A great sales representative of tax preparation software will most likely be eliminated from consideration for a sales position at a manufacturing software company - due to no experience in sales of manufacturing software.
The above example illustrates that the hiring authority most likely lacks confidence in HR’s ability to make creative hiring decisions, so they restrict HR’s authority to merely being a screener tasked with eliminating applicants other than those who presently work in the same title at one of their industry competitors.
In the above example, the hiring manager might well have hired the applicant with a great sales record, despite it being from a different vertical market. A savvy hiring authority is more concerned about acquiring talent and is less concerned because of something that has little or nothing to do with ability to handle a given open position.
Ideally, HR and other screeners would think the same way as the hiring authority, but they don’t. This is why ambitious job hunters need a better approach to job hunting.
In the hypothetical case above, here’s what the software salesman should do:
Make his initial approach directly to the hiring authority.
Write a letter to her or him offering to be of service.
In the letter, list some of the reasons why she or he is/was successful in sales.
Tell the hiring authority that you can bring your knack for sales and the same capabilities you’ve used to help her or him reach their sales revenue goals faster as the result of your experience.
Tell them that you’ll be glad to stop by one day soon for a brief visit to tell them more about how you can help them.
When they respond to you, if they ask for your resume, send it.
Ideally, you’d like to hold off on sending a resume and just take it with you. that’s
because you want HR to only be involved in the back end of the process -
verifying what’s in your resume, not using it to screen you out.
This approach to job hunting lets you get a much fairer chance of being considered based on your qualifications to handle the open position rather than on any perceived liabilities e.g. years of experience in a similar title at the competitor down the street.
HR still performs the vital function of verifying bona fides, but only after the hiring authority has expressed interest in your candidacy, rather than at the front end where your candidacy may be derailed because of something that the hiring authority might care little or nothing about.
This idea has been personally used by the author as well as for clients of all ages and backgrounds.