A positive attitude goes a long way in getting hired


What can I say to a hiring manager to make the case that I should be hired -- as an outside candidate -- for a managerial job, even if a recruiter's fee is involved?

I'd hate to devote substantial preparation time to a target company, only to find out that the company always intended to promote from the ranks of current employees and just wanted to scout the market.


-- C.V.N.

So would I!

Other than gathering intel from your recruiter and social-networking sources about a specific company's typical staffing policies, I don't know how you can gain assurance that external candidates have a genuine opportunity there.

(Outside candidates can be sure that contingency recruiters will push for their success because the recruiters don't earn a fee until their candidate is hired. By contrast, retained recruiters are paid an ongoing fee whether the person chosen for the open position is an external or internal candidate.)


Your question introduces a two-sided challenge for both job seekers and promotion seekers: From the outside, how can you pitch fresh faces? From the inside, how can you sell familiar faces?

Bear in mind that today you're searching for a connection as an outsider, but tomorrow you may be chasing promotion as an insider. For strategy tips, look at both sides of the issue.

Start by reviewing key rationales of why employers do what they do. Next, depending upon whether your face is fresh or familiar, prepare a persuasive statement to sell your benefits in cover letters and interviews, as I illustrate in an example for each side of the sourcing issue.


Employers choose an external candidate to:

-- Help the company update for new ideas, learn best industry practices and incorporate cutting-edge moves of other employers -- improvements that can increase an organization's income or trim its expenses.

-- Minimize risk, by hiring a candidate who has recently done the same job elsewhere and can get to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds without breaking a sweat.

-- Avoid negative reactions from non-selected employees, each of whom covets the higher position.

-- Save money and maximize output with a younger, faster and cheaper worker.

-- Deal with fewer demands by a grateful new employee who is glad to have a job.

For an outside candidate, here's a sample talking point: "Coming from a similar but different environment, my background can add new oxygen to the company perspective. By hiring me, you trigger state-of-the-art solutions to costly problems that drain profits in many companies.


Employers choose an internal candidate to:

-- Fill the job fast at a lesser cost, rather than launch a potentially lengthy and costly external search.

-- Motivate the organization's workforce by showing that high performers are promoted.

-- Avoid future surprises about an outsider's cultural misfit with the organization.

-- Select a candidate who can quickly become productive because of familiarity with the organization's systems and ways of doing business.

-- Be assured about the candidate's qualifications based on observable past performance.

As an inside candidate, you might say: "We've covered many of the reasons why I'm confident in my ability to perform capably at a higher level, and why I hope to be considered as a candidate for department manager. But there are two more cogent points. First, I can start making money for the company from day one because I've already mastered the company's preferred way of doing business. Second, you don't have to spend tight company resources on an outside search."


Speaking of insiders moving up the ladder, a timely reissue appears this month of a classic book that caused a sensation when first published 40 years ago: "The Peter Principle" by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull (HarperCollins).

"The Peter Principle" hilariously explains that, "In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." Although archaic in some ways, especially in its use of sexist language and examples, the book's ideas are as relevant today as they were in 1969. It's a great read. As an outside candidate, dare you leave a copy on the interviewer's desk?






Outside or Inside Hire Talking Points to Land Job | Jobs & Careers
Jobs & Careers Advice - Joyce Lain Kennedy - Careers Now