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Why you should reach out to hiring managers

hiring managers job hunting job search May 08, 2023

Believe it or not, many managers are just as frustrated with the HR department as job seekers. It can feel like HR and managers seem to have very different understandings of what it takes to be successful in any given role. Add long hiring procedures into the mix, and managers are even more willing to look for candidates from unique sources.


Your real target

First of all, let's be clear on who we are talking about when I say "hiring managers." The hiring manager is your FUTURE BOSS. It is not the recruiter, the HR screener, or even the HR Manager or VP of HR.


It breaks my heart when I speak with people during one of our complimentary consultations to hear that the job seeker spent hours searching for the contact information for the HR recruiter. Worse, they don't get any response back. Big tip: HR is trained to stonewall job seekers. They must stay impartial to applicants so their judgment won't be compromised when they screen through the slush pile of resumes.


HR already has your resume. Don't waste your time trying to email it or connect with them on LinkedIn.


HR screening vs. hiring manager requirements

It's no secret that HR relies upon keywords within the job description to screen candidates. However, people don't realize that HR may not even know what those words mean.


For example, when I worked in HR, I had to screen people for IT roles. Personally, I don't know Java from a mainframe, yet I had to select qualified candidates from the stack of resumes. As a result, I had to rely on the words themselves – if the right word was on the resume, then that candidate was passed to the hiring manager.


Unfortunately, the candidates that HR sends are not necessarily the most qualified for the job; they are the ones who survive the screening process the best.


By comparison, hiring managers clearly understand their team's needs beyond the keywords in the skill set, experience, and education. Instead, they want someone with the right drive, personality, and soft skills to complement their team.


This is exactly why managers source:

  • Outside recruiters or headhunters
  • Their professional networks
  • Associations
  • Current employees
  • Referral programs


Hiring managers can even resurrect you from the dead.

Even if the HR department cuts you, the hiring manager can insist you get an interview – so long as you reach them directly and impress them with your materials.


So, how does that work?


Rather than contacting the job seeker, many hiring managers will check with the HR department to see if the candidate did indeed apply for the job. If so, the manager will request an interview. Even if the recruiter had already cut the applicant, the manager can still insist that the candidate be granted an interview.


Ultimately, the hiring manager's wishes outweigh the HR department's procedures. Be brave and smart when you reach out to them – after all, you have nothing to lose and potentially a great job to gain.


Want more?

Looking for some specific strategies for how to reach those hiring managers? Check out my Tattooed Freaks in Business Suits podcast for the highlights from my latest presentation for the Brown Bag Job Search Group on


Want a free consultation to see how your job-searching strategies stack up? Visit our website:

Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline

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