It’s always a challenge to meet someone in authority, and the challenge can seem even larger when you’ve been searching for a job long-term.
Typically, there are several hurdles an applicant has to clear at the HR level. Executives usually have administrative assistants and human resource employees to handle employment processes, and they may filter hundreds of applicants before handing their selections in for the higher-ups to evaluate.
And then there’s the ever more common online application. You may have to answer questions (and the answers have to align with what the company is looking for) before you may have the chance to talk to an HR screener. Technology has made hiring pools smaller for busy companies, but at the same time, it can make it more difficult for job hunters to get an offer.
To help, here are some tips to get around and through the gatekeepers:
1. Maximize LinkedIn
If you really want to look for the key players in the company, search them using LinkedIn, under the departments you’re interested in. Using your contact of interest, look for mutual connections you might have, and find out what groups they have joined using the platform. Join some of the same groups and you’ll have something in common.
Feel free to send them a message, but don’t expect a quick response, especially if the contact is not currently looking for a job. Don’t be too aggressive—Avoid dropping multiple messages. (You want to look like a potential candidate, not a desperate stalker.)
2. Look for Mutual Connections
You can also look for mutual connections via informational interviews. Feel free to reach out to informational interview contacts once you have permission. (Doing this gives you more access to the person you’re trying to reach.) You can then confidently speak to the gatekeeper when that contact is expecting your call.
3. Activate Alumni Networks
It’s important to attend different networking events to grow your network. Find events by reaching out to your career services and alumni offices. At these events, you may see some familiar faces, and the odds are you’ll meet great new people working in a variety of fields, including the one you’re interested in.
Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 40,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.