Face time opens em­ploy­ment doors

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - CAREERS - By Derek Sankey

CAL­GARY — Joanne Dial re­ceives hundreds of un­so­licited re­sumés by email each month as di­rec­tor of hu­man re­sources for Cal­gary-based Al­ter NRG Corp. Yet few of them grab her at­ten­tion.

“They have no value be­cause I need the per­son,” Dial says. “The pur­pose of the re­sumé is to open the door to screen­ing calls, which is to open the door to have a face-to-face meet­ing with the hir­ing man­ager.”

She’s im­pressed by peo­ple who take the ini­tia­tive to fol­low up, re­search the com­pany and its key peo­ple, who make a phone call or drop by in per­son to try to get a foot in the door — pro­vided it’s done in a pro­fes­sional man­ner.

“It’s very im­por­tant that peo­ple take the time for the hu­man con­nec­tion,” she says. “The hir­ing de­ci­sion will be based on the hu­man con­nec­tion.”

Some re­cruiters say that in this age of “email-only” re­sumé col­lec­tion and online job board and ap­pli­cant sub­mis­sions, the con­cept of face time gets lost in the vir­tual world.

Robert Go­sine, man­ag­ing part­ner in Cal­gary for Sum­mit Search Group, says can­di­dates who muster up the courage to make those some­times-awk­ward phone calls or re­quest a meet­ing di­rectly with the per­son be­hind the hir­ing de­ci­sion will stand out from the crowd.

“They’re get­ting quite a few re­sumés that come their way and if you make the ef­fort of go­ing in per­son to a com­pany that’s hir­ing... it gives you a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage,” Go­sine says.

This past sum­mer, his two uni­ver­sityaged chil­dren demon­strated the power of face-to-face meet­ings. His daugh­ter, who had grad­u­ated with a busi­ness de­gree, went door-to-door look­ing for a sum­mer job. Within a few days, she had five of­fers. Friends and col­leagues who didn’t fol­low up on their online ap­pli­ca­tions with a visit or phone call ended up re­ceiv­ing few calls or job of­fers. “It just shows right there how ef­fec­tive it re­ally is,” he says.

The key is to be re­spect­ful of their time, thank them and then zero in on what they’re re­ally look­ing for.

If you’re not the right can­di­date, ask them what you need to work on to be­come the right can­di­date.

“You get some mar­ket in­for­ma­tion out of it — all the kinds of things you’re look­ing for to be more suc­cess­ful in your job search,” Go­sine says. You could even of­fer to take some cour­ses af­ter work to fill a skills gap — per­haps even cre­at­ing a role while you up­grade some key skills if you’re a good fit for the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Stud­ies have shown the No. 1 rea­son peo­ple leave a job is be­cause of their di­rect man­ager, so it makes sense that it’s a high pri­or­ity for both job ap­pli­cant and hir­ing man­ager dur­ing the hir­ing process, Dial says.

David Lither­land, man­ag­ing part­ner in Vancouver for Sum­mit Search Group, says the younger gen­er­a­tion is so used to do­ing every­thing online that some­times they for­get — or haven’t been ex­posed to — the im­por­tance of meet­ing a per­son face-to-face.

“While a com­pany may say to only send a re­sumé to this in­box, it’s those can­di­dates who can find a way to get in per­son­ally — find out who the ac­tual hir­ing per­son may be — that gives an added check on their ap­pli­ca­tion,” Lither­land says. “That ini­tia­tive will be re­spected.” Call the hir­ing man­ager or a key hu­man re­sources pro­fes­sional and ask for an in­for­ma­tion meet­ing to find out what po­si­tions may be com­ing avail­able or to get more in­for­ma­tion about a spe­cific post­ing and the re­quire­ments, he adds.

You can usu­ally glean a lot of in­for­ma­tion from a com­pany’s web­site, in­clud­ing many sites that list bi­ogra­phies of key peo­ple, some­times even with pho­tos.

Per­haps you “stum­ble into them” at an in­dus­try event or sim­ply pick up the phone and make a call.

The worst that can hap­pen is that they de­cline an in-per­son meet­ing, but at least you have tried and your name may stand out when it comes time to go through the pile of re­sumés.

“It’s any­thing you can do to get your­self a step ahead of the other ap­pli­cants,” Lither­land says.

— For Postmedia News

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