So you’ve done your homework. You found a list of 10 companies you want to apply to. The job descriptions look too good to be true and you could see yourself growing with the brands. Is it a dream?

It is until you make this one move.

You call the place and ask the first person who answers the phone, “Are you hiring?”

The person responds with, “No, sorry. Thanks for your interest. Try back in a couple of weeks.”

Then you’re dream becomes a nightmare.

The error of the job searcher’s ways exists not in just the question, but who you ask the question to. Often, if you call the company’s general number, you’re not going to speak directly to the hiring decision maker, someone in human resources. Why ask that person if the company is hiring? The first person who answers is usually the administrative assistant, or receptionist, or some staff member covering the phones, or a temp. Many times this person lacks accurate information or might guess the answer to “Are you hiring?” By posing this question to her, you set yourself up for an unnecessary rejection by someone who likely is in no position to reject.

When you call a company, you should frame your mindset on what the goal is. The goal at this point isn’t to get hired. Your focus should be to reach the hiring decision maker. The hiring manager. After accomplishing this, you then can move on to the relationship-building involved that starts your screening process. Do well at this, then you get hired.

With each call you want to introduce yourself and who you would like to speak to, nothing more: “Hello, I’m James Robinson and would like to speak to an available hiring manager.” You don’t have to give too much information. Speak confidently and with deliberation and the person on the line, likely an administrative staff, will respond in a few ways:

  1. Explain the hiring manager is not available, in a meeting, somewhere else. In this situation, you ask specifics. “When will he be available? When should I call back?
  2. Send you to the voicemail. If you receive that, leave a proper message [who you are, how you can be reached, why you’re calling] then set a time to call back a few days later.
  3. Connect you to the hiring manager. This is the opportunity to “spill the beans.” Introduce yourself and discuss your interest in the opportunity you found.

This one small change in your approach can help you generate better quality activity in your job search.

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