The Secret to the New Job Search: Find the Hiring Manager

hiring managerWhen in an active job search, why is finding the hiring manager so important?

Because the job search has changed.

And to get ahead of your job seeking competition, your strategy must change (no matter how difficult).

Find The Hiring Manager Conundrum

Recently, someone commented on a post I wrote:

There is no way to find the hiring manager or anyone else on the “inside.” If he does find a human to speak to, he is always instructed to fill out an online application, and there typically is no way to follow up.

The Problem Is…

First of all, stop playing the job board game. You’ll lose! I know it seems like the best and easiest way to find a new job, but did you know:

And, you’ll become frustrated with the lack of response, lose motivation, start blaming other people and eventually drop out of the search altogether. Ok, maybe that’s a bit doom and gloom. But seriously, look at the people you know who did secure a new job. How did they do it? Ask them.

The Fix To Finding The Hiring Manager…

To answer the question, yes, there is always a way to find a hiring manager. And in case you are wondering, the hiring manager is NOT human resources. It is the person in charge of the department you want to work in.

Don’t Chase Jobs, Chase People

Find someone who works inside the company (anyone will do) by asking everyone you know if they know anyone in the company you are interested in.

If you ask 100 people (and you know more than 100 people, right?) will you come up empty-handed? Most of the time, no. But that can happen, especially if the company is small.

Ask everyone you know who they know this question:

“Do you know anyone who works at ABC company. I am interested in learning more about what’s going on over there.”

Notice you are not stating you are looking for a job. Why wouldn’t you say that? Because the minute you do, the response is, “go to the website and fill out an online application.” And that is the last thing you want to do!

Pick Up the Darn Phone

You will not get the name of the hiring manager. You will get the name of someone who works there and that is good first step.

Invite the company insider to meet with you or have a real-live phone conversation. You need this type of interaction to make a strong connection. If you take the shortcut and use email to ask questions about the company (not about a job), you run the risk of falling low on their list of priorities and get lost in the shuffle.

Once you’ve had a conversation and established a rapport with the insider, ask who oversees the department you want to work in and ask if they could make an introduction. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be…

Learn How To Use LinkedIn

Simultaneously, search for the company on LinkedIn and see who works there. Look for people you know or have connections to.

If/when you find someone, reach out and ask for a meeting or conversation about what’s happening at their company and why they like working there. Is this difficult? Yes! Do it anyway.

Most job seekers won’t do these things or won’t do them well.

If you don’t find someone you know, do what this woman did and reach out cold. This is how one career changer landed a job with her dream company.

The Shift In Job Search

Possibly the biggest change you need to know about is how the job search is conducted. Rather than scouring job boards for openings, ambitious job seekers take a pro-active approach by identifying companies they would like to work for.

This target list of companies becomes the focal point for all activities with a high rate of return- networking, informational meetings, outreach and clear positioning.

Take A Look In The Mirror

If you are thinking, “I tried all this and it didn’t work”, ask yourself these questions:

  • Did I exhaust every resource possible?
  • How many people did I reach out to?
  • What did I say which may have led to the wrong response?
  • Is my network big enough (do I know enough people?)
  • How was my attitude? Did I sound confident and inquisitive or did I come across as negative or desperate?
  • Are you a “fit” within the company you are applying to? It isn’t just about skills.

It isn’t easy to find the hiring manager, but be persistent.


For this post, YouTern would like to thank our friends at:


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Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa. And follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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