I was watching CBS’ Sunday Morning’s story on unemployed Baby Boomers this weekend and at the end of the piece a jobless salesman named Gary Boxhall, 65, talks about his frustration looking for work since 2009, but ends on a I’m-not-giving-up note:
“I’ll still send out resumes just in case. I think that’s kind of like going fishing. But I think if you really want to catch the fish, you’re going to have to get in your boat, and you’re going to have to row over to the business and knock on the door.”
I thought to myself, what a quaint, old-fashioned notion. Does anyone actually knock on company doors anymore? And if you’re trying to get into a multi-national conglomerate, which door would you knock on anyway?
I’ve only known of a few people who have adopted this in-your-face approach, and none have actually gotten jobs as a result. One person did get a call back from the company after he dropped off his resume, which was more than he got from applying to jobs at the company online. But the interest it sparked in the employer ended up going nowhere.
So, should you crash a hiring manager’s office? According to the career gurus such a move will either make you look like a stalker or set you apart from the rest of the pack in this tight labor market.
“There’s a fine line between looking like a go-getter and looking desperate,” said Pennell Locey, senior consultant, Keystone Associates, a career management and consulting firm.
“It is not really practical or worth it in these days of enhanced security – you don’t get past front desk security in the majority of buildings. Email or better, snail mail it to the person instead as an adjunct to filing online.”
But some experts believe it may be a good idea to go for it, sort of.
Carole Martin, The Interview Coach, said:
“In my opinion, and in this economy and job search –a job seeker should try anything and everything.
That being said, there is also a heightened alert in this country, and people are weary of ’strangers.’ If you do ‘drop in’ - you may not be greeted in the warmest of manners. In fact, you could be viewed
as suspicious. So be VERY professional - dress, manner, attitude - if you do decide to try the cold-call approach.
The reality is that the chances are slim, unless it is a very small company, that you will meet someone
who has a connection to HR or the hiring manager. On the other hand, there are exceptions to every situation and who knows, you might just get lucky. Good judgment about the individual situation should be used.”
The big problem to just showing up, something that job seekers in the past seemed to do more often, is people are so freakin busy today. So many companies are understaffed and American workers are breaking records when it comes to productivity, not to mention the face that we’re all connected to the grid 24-7. Just imagine showing up at a recruiters door when she or he just sat down to have a quiet cup of coffee.
“Society has reinforced that time is precious and that people are busy,” maintained Jillian Walker, an employee engagement specialist. “A job seeker showing up at an office looking for a role, a discussion, or a referral is not only inappropriate, it’s rude. Everyone has priorities, roles to fill, and meetings to attend. As much as you think that your employment is most important, it is likely that the organization disagrees.”
“Whether you are wanting to speak to a recruiter or a manager, showing up at a prospective company unannounced seems demanding. Is that what you would like your next employer to think of you? That you’re demanding? Maybe even aggressive?
Recruitment is very much a formalized process. Regardless of the size of company…. typically you become aware of a role, apply formally through your resume or informally through conversation, wait to hear from the organization, answer any questions they have, and then are offered or declined. Showing up unannounced will not get you ahead. Instead, continue to develop your personal brand, participate in discussion and events that relate to your profession, showcase your expertise, and give back to the community. Those are the actions that will differentiate you from the crowd.”
Walker tweeted the question of whether to make a surprise visit or not to her followers and David Tap, an ad executive from Victoria, British Columbia may have summed it up best in his tweet:
I think it is just like trying to show up at a girls house you want to date: forced, awkward and borderline stalker-like.