After I posted my “Radio Shack” experience, I received a lot of feedback from readers. Some of it via LinkedIn discussions, some of it via comments on my blog and some of it face-to-face. About a third of the commenters indicated that visiting a business in person (uninvited) works pretty well. There are a number of caveats. “Pretty well” does not mean that they secured a job. It means that they frequently got to meet with a person. They also indicated that they felt that the likelihood of getting a job was increased significantly. They added that this tends to work better with smaller companies. I was probably reaching too high to expect Radio Shack to accommodate my request to get a person from HR to leave their desk to meet with me (although further reconnaissance revealed that HR is only a few feet from where I was talking to the gatekeepers).
On the other hand, I received feedback from HR folks indicating that interruptions were resented and resumes submitted in this way were never considered. Hiring managers echoed this sentiment. And still others, with nothing more than their good instincts to guide them, said that this just “sounded” like a bad idea.
I recently attended a resume workshop run by a number of recruiters where they indicated that 25% – 30% of the new people they see are from HR. HR departments are being slashed the same as other departments, leaving the survivors to do more work and making them victims of the downsize in their own right. I can understand why an unsolicited interruption would be unwelcome.
In the end, I was left with a very basic maxim concerning cold calling a company with resume in hand. “When you reach the point in your job search where you are eager to take a more active approach, start cold calling companies in person.” I have gleaned a very few guidelines:
1) Call on smaller companies.
2) Find a name of someone in HR. LinkedIn can help you there. A name is better than saying “someone in HR.”
3) Be prepared to get turned down a lot. You are cold calling and people are busy. Do not expect to meet someone every time.
4) Only take this on when you are eager to take an active approach. The chances of success are only marginally higher.
5) You are going to turn off roughly as many people as you will be effective with…but is it any worse to make someone angry than to have them ignore you completely? The end result is the same.
And finally, wouldn’t it just be easier to pick up the phone and do informational interviews? Those are supposed to be very effective and they take less gas, don’t require a suit, etc. My guess is, judging from my own call reluctance, it is easier to meet with someone to “go over my resume.” The rules of engagement are cleaner. When calling for an informational interview, the conversation is less formulaic. That can be difficult.
Let me know your thoughts.