Your objective is always to secure an interview with a non HR, hiring manager. Whether this person is in operations, logistics, or asset protection, or a myriad of other departments, it is with this person you must secure an interview with. That is your primary objective. To do this, you must get pass the HR the gatekeeper.
Yet it amazes me how so many applicants beat themselves against this gate, sending resume after resume in hopes of getting to this HR person. No, the objective is not to meet with this person; it is to go around, go over, go under, go anyway HR is not. Do not lose sight of your objective, to meet the non HR, hiring manager.
The obvious question is how. Both how as in – how do you find this person and how do you meet this person? One answer is to find the “regional recruiter.”
This example is generally true of big box retailer, although the same structure probably exist in numerous industries. Most human resource structures for major big box retail outfits are pretty decentralized. There normally is a divisional or regional human resource office that covers a good chunk of the United States and up to several hundred stores.
Each store has its own human resource office and does most of the hiring internally – but only for the hourly positions. These hourly positions can pay well, up to 15 to 20 bucks an hour.Â But for salaried management positions, those tend to be coordinated and approved at regional or divisional level.
So, the challenges should start to become pretty evident. Applying directly to a store will not mean much, as it is geared more toward hourly positions, and how do you approach a divisional office that handles several hundred stores?
The answer is not to apply at a store. Regardless of whether they take your resume or not, you will be directed to apply on line. And applying on line is the same as mailing your application to, or rather, into a black hole. By the way, if you are directed to apply on line, then by all means, apply on line. Your first act should not be to disregard the first requirement.
But after you apply on line, a different approach might be in finding the regional recruiter. Because most of these organizations are decentralized, they tend to have an individual, or two, that funnel names to the upper, human resource manager, be she divisional or regional.
Here is the key, though, because it is decentralized, the regional recruiter has some autonomy. He can refer you directly to a non HR, hiring manager. After meeting with the regional recruiter, he could very well turn around and hand you off to an operational, district manager who controls 8 or 10 stores. Guess what, she signs off on you, you are on board. Congratulations.
In some cases, these recruiters may not even work for HR. In fact, the recruiter may work directly for an operational manager that controls 100 or 150 stores. This is why the key is to identify and meet with this recruiter. Again, how? Here are some suggestions.
- Call a major retail outlet, ask to speak with the store manager (not an assistant) and simply ask.
- Research and locate the store that co-locates with the regional office and, again, ask.
- Contact a store manager and ask for a 15 minute informational interview and ask questions, to include information on whether there is a specific recruiter, or not. Do not – do not use this opportunity, if given, to finagle a job interview!
- Attend a niche job fair. Not a generic job fair at the convention center where most likely the store human resource manager will be at.
- Contact alumni and local chamber of commerce to locate a person currently working at a store.
- Contact a niche headhunter.
Regardless of how, the objective is to get past HR the gatekeeper. A method to accomplishing this is to locate the recruiter where an organization is decentralized. If it is more centralized operations, then this would not apply as much. Again, research will laid all this out.
The above scenario may or may not be relevant to the industry you want to be a part of. But the principle will be. The principle is getting an interview with an operational manager not a human resource manager.
So, instead spending your time sending out resumes, spend your time finding out who the players are instead.