Should I follow up with a potential employer who has not contacted me?
April 28, 2010 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I submitted my resume for a director/VP-level position with a Fortune 100 company 2 weeks ago. At a conference last week, a colleague in my industry told people that he had turned down the position. Is there anything I can or should do to indicate my continued interest?

I submitted my resume directly through the company's recruiting portal about two weeks after the job was initially posted on the comapny website. I had seen the position in several search engines, and headhunters have been re-posting the job fairly constantly since it was originally posted. The job is still "open" and recruiters continue to post it.

I work in a fairly specialized field. At an industry conference last week, a fairly well-known person in the industry whose background would indicate a natural fit for the position told some people that he had turned down the job offer because it didn't pay enough.

I have not heard anything back from the company other than the initial automated responses. I don't even know if I've made it past the initial filters.

Other than cooling my heels and waiting for a call or email, is there anything I can or should do to indicate my continued interest? My sense is that any requests I make through a headhunter or blind calls to HR would draw negative attention to my candidacy. (I have no direct contacts at the company, although two friends in the industry know the person who formerly held the position.)

(As an aside, did I make a mistake in making a direct submission rather than going through a headhunter?)

Throwaway email:
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
You should go through a headhunter now, too if you can.
There is nothing wrong with the company seeing your application more than once and it might trigger them to reconsider you without you having to write a blind email to HR.
Use the headhunter as your advocate and let him or her do the follow-ups for you or direct you to a specific person to follow up with.

It's my impression from what I've seen in most industries, higher level people get hired by headhunter or personal recommendation. Yours may differ. So while you probably would have had better luck with a headhunter submitting for you, and tailoring your resume and cover letter with inside knowledge of what the company wants, you aren't too late and haven't shut that door yet by applying directly.
posted by rmless at 12:10 PM on April 28, 2010

After going through the IT Industry job hunt recently, I remember talking with someone about Headhunters and such - the comment was made that many companies use Headhunters as a legal layer / shield, so that if the hiring company does contact someone directly, and does not hire them, there's not an opening for a discrimination suit by the applicant. By using a Headhunter, they are adding a layer of distance between themselves and potential issues, and have a bit more freedom in selecting or rejecting applicants.

I am not sure if this would apply to your industry or position, but a Headhunter might not be a bad idea. (Just be careful, I had some really bad ones represent me when I was hunting myself.)
posted by GJSchaller at 12:34 PM on April 28, 2010

Disclaimer: large law firm perspective. I have hired non-lawyer personnel, and have used headhunters in addition to soliciting direct submissions. We liked direct submits more, because that way we didn't have to pay the (hefty) headhunter fee. At my previous firm, my boss told me he was annoyed that a promising candidate "shot himself in the foot" by going through a headhunter when he personally knew the person doing the hiring.

However, I have no idea if hiring practices / preferences at Fortune 100 companies are any different from what I've experienced from the law firm side.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 12:46 PM on April 28, 2010

Applying for jobs based on a call for resumes or CVs typically has about a 5% success rate, so try managing your expectations about this position. There are a lot of different variables that determine who will be awarded the job, so the process often doesn't make sense (or often seems unfair).

You really need to do more networking to lay the groundwork for this sort of transition. Political capital (ie, credibility in the community) can play a role in who gets hired for V or C-level positions, especially in specialized fields, so figuring out and executing the best and most appropriate strategy for getting your name out there will be helpful.

Also, make headhunters work for you.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:47 PM on April 28, 2010

Just a crazy idea, but how well do you know the colleague who turned down the job? What would happen if you sent your resume to him and asked him to call the company and say "Hey, I know I'm not the right person, but you might look at Mr. Anonymous here"?
posted by CathyG at 1:28 PM on April 28, 2010

CathyG has the right idea. The person who turned down the job presumably has contact information for the person who's really making the decision as opposed to the HR dept, so I'd try to go through him and talk to someone.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 2:34 PM on April 29, 2010

« Older Advice for finding a sublet in SF for June?   |   What do I do to stop my horrible emotional... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.