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Monday, March 16, 2009

should you show up without an appointment?

A reader writes:

I know you cannot just send in your resume online and expect to get called. It is those applicants that are willing to try new things that might have a chance. I really want this job that was posted online. I have the experience and it would be such a good fit. Anyway, I applied online and I tried to get someone live just to talk with. I left messages for the H.R. people, but I did not expect them to call back. I want to go in with my resume and just say hello and talk. Is this going to help or hurt? I figure I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

No! Do not just show up with no appointment.

It absolutely could hurt you. If a candidate did this to me, there is a very good chance that it would ruin the person's chances. This is because:

1. I'm busy. I set aside specific blocks of time for interviews, and the rest of my day is booked up with other things. There is zero chance that I would make the time to talk with a candidate who showed up unannounced, and a high chance that I would be concerned about a candidate who didn't realize this.

2. The nature of the hiring process is that the employer decides which candidates they want to call in to interview. It's their call, not yours, and I would be annoyed that you were trying to circumvent that process.

When I have many good candidates for a job and one of them is being a nuisance, I'm less interested in that person, not more. If you want to stand out, write a great cover letter, have a resume that demonstrates a track record of success in the area they're hiring for, and follow up once, politely. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

What do you say to walking in -- before applying online and/or calling -- and dropping off a resume, these days?

I understand HR people are probably very busy, and walking in hoping to get a meeting on such short notice is likely a bad plan, but how about just walking in, exchanging some friendly chit chat with the receptionist while dropping off your resume -- who'll hopefully mention how nice you were when handing the resume to HR?

Anonymous said...

If you walked in and asked to speak to me about a resume you submitted, it's incredibly unlikely I would consider you further. You'd be demonstrating that you aren't respectful of my time, and that you think that social norms apply to other people, not to you. Those are not endearing qualities. If you really are a great fit for the job, I'll call you.

If you walk in and drop off your resume, you're telling me you can't follow directions. Just about every ad has instructions for how to apply, and unless they say "apply in person," don't. In fact, I wouldn't even be able to get your resume into the system--that's all electronic. That's why you're required to email/apply online. I haven't known of a company that even still had a scan-in option since 2000.

Gimmicks DO call attention to you, but not in the way you want.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking I might be the exception to the rule here? I saw the ad in the paper (back when you looked in the Sunday paper for jobs), I printed off my resume and cover letter and was about to mail them, when I realized that the resume wouldn't be received until Wednesday at the earliest, because Monday was a federal holiday, and mail wouldn't be picked up until Tuesday. Knowing this office would be open on the Monday holiday, I drove over there to drop off the resume. The receptionist asked me to wait. A few minutes later, the boss came out and asked if I could interview right then and there. I told him yes, and got the job. It ended up being a great job, and I was there for two years before my husband got a job transfer to another city.

Anonymous said...

Most of the candidates I hired over many years of recruiting did what was described - they responded to an ad, were called in for interviews, and got an offer. Why do people insist this is not the "real" process for how people get hired? Sure there are others too - referrals, networking, nepotism, agencies, but in my experience at different companies, plenty of jobs are still filled this way. If you're not getting results, I'd take a step back and ask someone to review your resume, brush up on interviewing skills, reflect on your experience and how it aligns to your career goals, etc. I wouldn't dream up new ways to crash companies, because you assume there's an insider's secret to getting seen and heard.

Anonymous said...

It has been my experience that most hiring managers demand respect, but are not always respectful of others. I think that the lack of simple customer service practices such as auto responses after receiving an application, make for a situation which pretty much begs for HR
'Professionals' to be pestered.

Anonymous said...

I tend to disagree, however, I work in hospitality - an industry where guest service is paramount, and the applicant's personality is almost...almost!...more important than their skills.

Sometimes a non-traditional approach, like poking your head into the office to see if you might be able to speak to the hiring manager, is a good one. The times when this is most appropriate (and when I have hired people who have done this), is when they have an excellent personality that must be experienced in person. Personalities really can't shine through a resume, no matter how hard you try.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with people that they don't follow instructions? I'm sorry, but I'm going to rant about this for a moment.

Candidates are generally given instructions on how to apply. Follow them. I promise, if you're qualified for the position and you have a great cover letter, that I will be interested. My job is to fill this position. Why wouldn't I want to succeed?

In the electronic era, many employers won't accept paper submissions. It complicated things for OFCCP and other EEOC requirements PLUS you didn't follow instructions which means you are not qualified for the position. But you're just concerned about getting noticed, right? This is what I'll notice: your complete lack of a clue, your inability to follow instructions, and how little you value your own time by wasting it in my reception area, trying to convince the receptionist to call me. You not only won't get the position you're applying for, but I'll likely never hire you for anything.

And Sari, you are dead wrong. Personality can absolutely jump off my screen if someone has a catchy and smart cover letter.

Susan said...

I work at an office that receives many drop-in applicants. If you are simply dropping off your resume, fine. If you are coming in the office asking to meet with the principal or take and office tour, that is annoying! I agree with Kerry, it gets you attention, but in the wrong way.

If you want to get noticed, how about having a great portfolio and qualifications? Duh.

Recent grads have been the most aggressive applicants. It's sad to see that colleges and universities are not teaching job skills and etiquette.