Telephone presentation also presents two problems: The first is that calling managers on the phone becomes less effective as positions increase in seniority. A written summary of an applicant's background is usually required before an interview will be arranged. This is always the case when a company is located out of town.
The second difficulty is that these calls require privacy. Even if you have your own office, calling from work can be awkward. For this reason, this approach will be easier to implement if you're unemployed.
Telephoning a Potential Employer
The distinguishing feature of this strategy is the speed with which you can contact a select number of companies. The approach is especially effective when you know there's an opening for someone with your background.
To implement the strategy, make a list of the companies with which you want interviews. Next, obtain the names and titles of the hiring managers. Then systematically go through the list. When placing these calls, you may encounter a problem getting past a secretary, since many managers have their calls screened. To avoid secretaries, try phoning before 8:30 A.M. or after 5:00 P.M. At these times, secretaries are often not at work and managers are in their offices preparing for or concluding the day's business. In addition, don't make these calls on Monday morning or on Friday afternoon. Many people are extremely busy at the beginning of the week and are looking forward to matters other than business at the end of it.
If you happen to reach a secretary, speak with confidence and authority and give both your first and last names. For example: "Good morning. Jack Bartello calling for Mr. Geer. Is he there, please?" If asked which company you represent, say, "Myself." If asked the nature of your call, say, "It's personal." Don't give the actual reason you're calling. If a secretary tells you that the manager is unavailable, ask when he'll be free and call back at that time. Don't request or allow the manager to return your call.
Research studies have shown that when people are cold-calling, they have more success when a conversation takes place during a call that they initiated versus a call that was being returned. If you must make a series of phone calls in order to reach the manager, try to get to know the secretary-this person can be an important ally. Introduce yourself and ask for his or her name; be friendly and try to engage the secretary in light conversation. By establishing a good rapport with this person, you may pave the way for a quick conversation with the manager, or be given a tip on the best time to call.
Once you're speaking with the manager, give a one- or two-sentence overview of your background and then explain that you would like to set up a meeting to discuss employment with his company.
If you have advance information that there's an opening, be sure to mention a related accomplishment (or responsibility) to demonstrate that you have the specific experience that the position requires.
As with the networking strategies, it's recommended that you practice these calls before making them. Also have notes in front of you. Some job-seekers take matters a step further. To ensure that they're proficient with this approach and don't lose out on any interviews, they first call managers at companies in which they have no interest in working. After an interview is scheduled, they call back and cancel it.