I own a very successful company, and have personally hired (and fired) many many people over the years. I also have had several careers working for other people before launching Catalogs.com.
3 out of 5 of my personal jobs were “landed” because of my amazing ability to cold-call. Yes, I’m bragging but my technique works. So here they are: read below and use my advice as a bible/ workbook/ succinct process on how to find a job.
1. Research First
Did you notice that Interviewing was EIGHTH on the list?
Why, because you MUST do #1 – #7 first or you will NEVER achieve #8.
So, after reading the job posts that interest you, what do you do with the information?
2.Organize - become familiar with Excel. Copy and paste the pertinent information into an Excel spreadsheet.
Each Column should contain the following fields:
President Chief Financial Officer Senior VP Other Dept. Head Recruiter Main Phone Position Advertised Comments Follow-Up Needed
Call using *67 on your phone first, and speak to the receptionist to ask the Presidents name. DO not say who you are or why you are calling. But simply and quickly get the info. AFTER the receptionist gives you the name, then ask for his/her email address, then ask for his direct number. Do not speak or allow the receptionist to transfer you at this time. You are not ready. Simply say thank you and hang-up.
How to get past the gatekeepers: A gatekeeper, by my definition, is someone who is paid to keep their boss away from solicitors! If you’re searching for a new job … your #1 goal is to speak DIRECTLY to the president or owner or Senior Vice President of whatever department you are interviewing for. FORGET the recruiters … just because an advertisement says contact the recruiter, I know that if a potential employee is savvy enough, resourceful, and ballsy to pick up the phone and pitch me directly … this says A LOT in my mind. Even though I have, from time to time, hired recruiters for certain positions … I still am impressed when someone can reach me personally.
Obtain a MINIMUM of 50 different companies’ before moving onto step #2. Fill your Excel spreadsheet as much as possible.
#3. Timing – a very important component. What time of day you cold call is crucial --- between 7:30 am – 9 am is the BEST possible time, or between 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm is the 2nd best time. Anything during the day is probably not time well spent.
Why: Because Presidents/ owners and senior level executives typically wouldn’t be in their position unless they have unbelievable work ethics. MOST presidents/owners of companies are either early morning people or late evening (after the secretary comes in). During the day, you should be filling up your Excel spreadsheet, doing research, and completing the other tasks.
#4 Calling - once you have a completed Excel spreadsheet, containing at least 50 different companies, begin calling at 7:30 am. Make sure the house is quiet, the animals are out of your office, and zero distraction begins. Set your alarm for 6:30 AM and have breakfast and coffee first. Don’t you dare sleep late or stay up late. You have the most important job … finding a great job. This is now your job. Take it seriously and treat it with utmost importance. By 7:30 AM, you better be in your seat, with your Excel spreadsheet printed out and your call list in front of you. Call and ask for the Presidents first name, not last. For example, you would say “Is Tom in?” NOT, hi, do ya think I might be able to speak with Mr. Smith?
Take an authoritative approach, have the confidence in your voice so whoever answers the phone hears that you probably are a personal friend of Mr. Tom Smith, President. If you don’t get thru, do NOT leave a message. Ask what time Tom usually gets in? Then say thank you.
Mark it under your comments take your pointer finger and press down on the button to hang up the phone but do NOT put the hand set/ receiver back on the phone …. Dial the next number, and repeat. Using this process, you should make about 25 calls within 1 hour!
Between 7:30 am – 9 am you should have accomplished about 35 calls. During that 1 ½ hours, do not ever put the receiver/hand set back on the phone!
Now assume that you get Tom, the President, on the line. What do you say? Have s script already typed out in front of you. “Hi Tom, my name is Leslie Linevsky. I am calling you NOT to sell you anything. Specifically, I am looking at changing careers and I’ve done a good bit of research on your company (by the way, from what I’ve read it appears that you’ve really built a successful company.) I was wondering if I could set up a specific time to meet with you to discuss how I might fit into your organization. Is Monday morning or Tuesday afternoon possible?"
If he says he’s busy, then say, “Would next week on Wednesday or Thursday be possible?” If he still says no, then say, “I completely understand how busy you are and I promise to take ONLY 5 minutes of your time, but I really, very strongly believe that given my past accomplishments and my persistent drive to work extremely hard could only benefit your company. Isn’t 5 minutes potentially worth it if I am able to increase revenues substantially?”
If Tom asks you “What type of job are you looking for” answer either with a specific one that is posted, or say, “I am excellent helping companies identify areas of weakness and then relish the challenge of working with a team to solve the problems and ultimately increase sales. Or, you might say I’m fabulous at (sales, prospective, customer service, finance, etc) and really believe that if you give me 5 minutes of your time, you will see first hand how I might benefit your company. Is there any day next week that would work for you?”
If he still says no, then ask if he could recommend that you meet with someone else in his organization. Get the name and number and immediately call that person, while on the phone say “Hi, I just spoke with Tom Smith and he recommended that we speak and set up a time to meet to discuss how I may be of benefit to your company. Is Monday or Tuesday morning better?”
Have your calendar opened with a pencil in the middle of the calendar with Today’s date already opened. Schedule everything using a pencil.
If Tom grants you a meeting, re-confirm the date and time and SLOWLY spell your full name so that he writes it/types it into his calendar. Say thank you, I look forward to seeing you on January 15th at 9 am. Bye.” Then take your pointer finger and press down on the button to hang up the phone but do NOT put the hand set/ receiver back on the phone …. Pencil in your appointment, make a huge RED MARKER asterisks in the comment filed and write “appt.” then dial the next number, and repeat. Just because you’ve landed 1 interview you do NOT stop calling during this 1 ½ hour morning segment between 7:30 am – 9 am.
#5 Writing - if you’ve spoken to someone first, then send your resume. Email is great, but with the thousands of emails which I receive weekly, it’s nice to receive an old fashioned crisp 205lb. linen paper with a perfect, error free, typo-free resume and cover letter. It's OK to send BOTH an email and follow-up with a printed version mailed.
#6 Calling – once you’ve sent an email AND resume, then call the specific person you sent the resume to. Repeat the same process to set up an interview. Be persistent and ASK for the interview. Your goal is to spark their curiosity, set up the meeting and get off the phone. Don’t say “Hi, How are you?” Get right to the point. Pitch them, sell them and get off the phone. Again, try really hard to identify the President, CFO or Senior VP.
#7 – Scheduling – you need to have 4 interviews per week. Do not stop calling and follow steps #1 – 6 until you achieve 4 confirmed interviews per week.
#8 – Interviewing – there are millions of websites telling people how to interview. Dress appropriately, carry a brief case or leather bound folder, where a business suit. Woman – cut your nails and get a manicure! Do NOT wear 4 inch high heels or low cut blouses (if this is how you want to dress … go apply at Hooters). Men, wear a tie. Walk into the room with a H U G E smile, extend your hand first and confidently say, “Hello, Tom, it’s nice to meet you.”
Sit patiently, and do not slump back in the chair. Sit a bit forward on the chair, and above all … men don’t cross your leg over the other, don’t flop your elbows on the chair and look like you’re having a beer with an old buddy. Women, don’t twirl your hair, don’t tap your foot nervously. No one should look around the room or at walls, stare directly into Tom’s eyes, keep a smile, and begin by saying, “Thank you for agreeing to meet. As I promised on the phone, I won’t take up much of your time. I’ve read a little bit about your company, and I must say from what I’ve read, you’ve built yourself a very worthwhile company. My background consists of ___, ____,___ and I believe my talents in ___,___ and ___ might be an asset to you. What would you like to know about me?”
Listen, form your answer succinctly, answer it directly, do NOT add more than what he’s asked. If the question comes up, “are you currently working and if the answer is no, then say “no, I’ve chosen to investigate just a few companies where I believe my ___ talents can build sales revenue, so I am carefully and selectively meeting with only those companies I want. This is why I’m so excited to be meeting with you because I truly believe that XYZ Company and I could make a nice match.”
The number one mistake of every person … forgetting to ask for a job! Yes, after you’ve answered Tom’s questions, you MUST say, “Can I ask you 1 or 2 quick questions?” Have them already written on your notepad, it’s OK to bend down and pick up your leather bound folding attaché and refer to your questions. Have at least 5 meaningful questions written out. Great questions might be:
What are your plans for new products or new services?
Is ___ or ____ considered competition and how does your product or service outperform these competitors? This requires that you do research BEFORE your interview but it shows Tom that you not only have done real research, but you’ve investigated potential competitors.
Have you found over the years that ___ or ____ type of sales and marketing have worked better or has ___ worked better?
When you bring onboard a new person, what traits are you specifically looking for? Let Tom speak, then turn it around and say, “That’s interesting, because I feel that one of my greatest strengths is _____.
Again, the number one mistake of every person … forgetting to ask for a job! Now ask, “Tom, your company is really of interest to me. May I begin working for you? I promise you won’t regret your decision.”Then begin the salary, negotiations, specifics, etc. DO NOT ask about titles, positions, or salary until you have convinced Tom that you are an asset to be hired.
# 9 – Writing a Follow up. Whether you’ve landed the job, been referred, or even been turned down … you follow-up EVERY meeting with a personalized thank you note, a copy of your resume and if they have said no, then ask for a referral to another company. I promise you that every senior level executive knows hundreds of other senior level executives in many industries. Take the opportunity to ask for referrals and names and numbers.
#10 – Calling, it’s now approaching 5 pm, pick up the phone and start the entire cold-calling process again. You should be calling from 5 – 7:30 pm, without stopping, and remember, take your pointer finger and press down on the button to hang up the phone but do NOT put the hand set/ receiver back on the phone …. Dial the next number, and repeat. Using this process, you should make about 25 calls within 1 hour! From 5 pm – 7:30 pm you will achieve about 75 calls.
Go eat, get a good night sleep and begin the next morning at 6:30 am with breakfast and coffee, 7:30 AM – 9 AM cold-call. From 9 AM – 5 PM research, fill up your Excel spreadsheet, interview, write, follow-up and start calling at 5 pm.
Repeat this process until you have landed the perfect job. Remember; do NOT stop this entire process until you have a SIGNED letter from a company spelling out your start date, your salary, and your position.
Remember, it is better to have 3 firm job offers on the table and then decide. My greatest negotiations are when I once worked for an outplacement firm and seriously had 3 offers. I told the President of the company I really wanted that he needed to increase his offer by $15,000 annually, or I would go with the other company. He did … and the rest is history.
A very worthwhile article is written by Michael C. Lazarchick, PhD, writer for the National Employment Counseling Association, click here and read his ENTIRE article.del.icio.us | digg it! | reddit! | Google!