DiceTV: How to Call a Hiring Manager

It’s summer. It’s August. But that’s not why I’m sweating. If the thought of calling a hiring manager makes your palms sweat, you’re not alone. Experts even have a name for it: “call reluctance.” The good news: You can overcome it.

We’ve all heard of actors who say they suffer from occasional bouts of stage fright, even after scores of performances. To overcome those inhibitions, they use specific techniques. You can use them, too.

First, approach follow-up or introductory calls to managers with the right mindset. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so don’t let negative thoughts paralyze you.

Next, prepare. Job seekers are often afraid of calling because they’re unsure about what to say. That erodes their confidence.

Bear this in mind: An effective call or message is simple and has three objectives: You want to share some information about yourself, ask for some information about the opportunity, and close on the next step. That could be an interview, an informal meeting over coffee, or just the chance to stay in touch, in hopes of securing a future opportunity.

How do you remember all this?

Prepare scripts in advance. Write one for leaving a voicemail, and another for an actual conversation. Practice the dialogue – preferably with a friend playing the role of the manager. Tweak the scripts to fit the specific circumstances. And Remember: have the contact’s name in front of you before you dial.

Don’t take rejection personally. There are a lot of candidates for every job opening today. That means you’re bound to encounter some rejection. So try to secure a fall-back objective. For example, if a manager isn’t recruiting, ask if she sees any additions to staff on the horizon. If she says no, ask if she knows anyone who’s currently hiring.

If all attempts to secure a hot lead or referral fail, go for your final objective – to stay in touch. If she says yes, chalk that up in your win column


22 Responses to “DiceTV: How to Call a Hiring Manager”

August 12, 2009 at 12:17 am, "L" said:

Excellent advice Cat. Regarding the comments from the “J” person. Maybe Cat should provide a parallel video clip of a hunky guy by the pool with no shirt on….and allow those like “J” to have a choice in which video presenter to watch. ;>) Cat was not interviewing for a job herself (so no need for formal attire)….she was just delivering a message to help those who are….and she did so very effectively.


August 12, 2009 at 12:44 am, Jim LeDoux said:

This is great information for those having issues with getting in the door. I have been using these techniques for the past nine years as a test management consultant and it works. One other thing I do is if I see a ‘blind ad’ (no contact name), I will do a search of the three major job sites (Dice, Careerbuilder and Monster) for the position. A majority of the time I can find out the company name from a search of the title then it’s a matter of going to the company website to find the name of the CIO or CTO. One call to the CIO or CTO (which usually results in talking to their AA), I can find out who the hiring manager is. From that point, it’s following Cat’s process step-by-step. It works well.


August 12, 2009 at 1:25 am, Sherry Brown said:

I concur, that this is good advice, but as a Computer Operator and female at that. I believe that opportunities are being giving to men before considering a female. Also, what about when a hiring manager makes the decision to not recommend you for a position for call center when as a operator I’ve got experience in that, but they feel that position may be too low a level for me.


August 12, 2009 at 1:44 am, Paul McKelvey said:

Sherry: When they tell you that the job is too low level for you, that is another way of saying “overqualified.” Ask about which level job they think you should apply for. That might prove interesting! You might be qualified as an L2 or L3 tech and work on really interesting issues!
When I was starting my career, I applied to a national gift shop chain for a manger’s slot. I took their assessment. They told me I was overqualified for the job. They were right!
Another thing to try: Go to the unemployment office and ask if they give occupational preference tests, such as the Transferrable Skills Scale. That can open up a whole range of new opportunites. If you were laid off because your job moved overseas, you are qualified for free training. That is usually handled by the unemployment office, too.


August 12, 2009 at 1:53 am, KJ said:

Ok, pretty logical, but fill in the blanks.

Assuming you’ve already sent in your resume in response to an opening…”Information to Share”….such as? Who has a few really unique and attention-getting suggestions, without just sounding like everyone else? (“Just checking to see if you received my resume”, not too unique) Asking what the next steps might be? Also, pretty mundane.
So what info might you share? And what info might you want to get?


August 12, 2009 at 3:50 am, Jason Ames said:

This message would be more effective if she were in a bikini.


August 12, 2009 at 4:51 am, KMF said:

I really like having someone read me the article rather than having to read it all myself (like i do all day).


August 12, 2009 at 6:34 am, Andre Lovato said:

I was impressed with Cat Millers Pool side conversation. I will have to give it a shot. Her information is not only for IT personnel but will work in my profession as well. being a Graphic Designer I am always looking for an edge that will kick the competition and get me the position.


August 12, 2009 at 7:29 am, Richard M. Goun, Esq. said:

Excellent advice and easy to understand too. Practice and execution next!


August 12, 2009 at 7:38 am, Brad Meltzer said:

The message is really helpful, its awesome….Brad.


August 12, 2009 at 7:39 am, David Smith said:

Very good advice Cat !! I am an IT Specialist, and just got put to the street on Friday 08/07/09, company financial woes and I am hoping my next position will be more in line with some good well planned goals. So I will be trying your technique, after all noting to loose.


August 12, 2009 at 8:35 am, Ashish said:

Very useful information and impressive presentation.. wow..

I think advices were practical relevant and actually doable.
Also the way to start conversation was excellent.


August 12, 2009 at 8:41 am, Mike Trus said:

Great Advice, Concise Message. Thanks!


August 12, 2009 at 9:19 am, Michael Taplah said:

Cat, you have reassure our confidence, thanks for the advice.


August 12, 2009 at 9:25 am, J said:

Is in not inappropriate for her to be sitting with a “quasi” bathing suit on and her ta’ta’s exposed? I mean – how professional is that? Yes – if it’s a “pole-dancing” school or something like that but I don’t think it’s appropriate – unless you are one of the companies that got the stimulus money and then are going on all these luxury vacations at tax-payer expense.


August 12, 2009 at 9:49 am, B said:

Great info. As for commenter “J”, clearly not knowing how to talk to a hiring manager isn’t your only quirk. I’d like an informal meet-n-greet this way if the hiring manager looked like her!


August 12, 2009 at 9:56 am, Kim said:

I think this is good starting advice. Could you or soemone expand upon the concept by giving examples of WHAT to say? What would a hiring manager want to hear in a short period of time?


August 12, 2009 at 11:21 am, MattyMat said:

Good advice– I used to work freelance graphic design– and you have to hustle to get your next gig— which means ALOT of phone calls to HM’s, HR, owners, etc. You have to be confident– state who you are and what you do– and what you’re looking for in the first sentence– because they don’t want their time wasted. Very effective, believe me— because these HM’s appreciate youre being courtious enough to understand where they’re coming from— not just what you want.

Also– “J”, Cat’s (if that is your real picture) is in a swimming suit because it’s summer and hot— duh.


August 12, 2009 at 11:23 am, Hunter said:

I think there’s something to be said for showing up at the door. I recently had an experience where I heard of an openeing and went to the company, resume in hand. When I signed in at the desk, the receptionist said “oh, you must be here for the interview” and ushered me in! Although I got a chance to make my pitch in person, I didnt end up getting that particular job, but you’d probably be suprised at how often that works.


August 12, 2009 at 11:26 am, Aggie said:

I love the pool side video; after all, I am poolside now most of the time having been laid off last summer! Doh!


August 13, 2009 at 9:48 am, Bob said:

Cat – You are a pleasant sight for a depressed, unemployeed man’s eyes. You should do more Dice TV poolside. Thanks.


December 23, 2009 at 7:49 am, Justin Gollnick said:

i think that everyone needs to get off Cat’s case about her attire. It doesn’t take away from her message at all. For the ladies, you are not the one’s exposeing yourself so it shouldn’t be any of your concern. For the fella’s, put your eyeballs back in your heads and just pay attention. It really isn’t as distracting as everyone makes it out to be. If you can’t tell. The presentations are meant to be casual, not stiff as a board professional. Many of us will find that we tune in better to a one way conversation when it is a laid back environment. Thanks Cat for all your advice.


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