Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

Who is the Right Contact for a Job: the Hiring Manager or HR?

Getting to the decision maker is one of the keys to finding the job you really want.  But how do you do that?  Do you go through Human Resources or do you go to the Hiring Manager?  So many people just don’t know.

Our preference is to always get to the Hiring Manager who is the ultimate decision maker, for 3 specific reasons:

#1:  If they want you, HR will have to abide (in most cases) and that will pave the way to your job offer;

#2: You will be reporting directly to the Hiring Manager, not HR, so they have the most information about the job, and therefore can make an exceptional choice in terms of talent & fit to the group;

#3:  When they feel they’ve found the right person, they want to seal the deal as soon as they can.

With that said, HR’s influence  is not to be underestimated.  The stronger the HR department, the more consultative approach they have with the line business.  When I ran Staffing at Merrill Lynch Asset Management, I wanted my Hiring Managers to have at least 3 qualified candidates before making their decision.  With 3 great candidates, you have a better chance at hiring a star. 

In addition, even if the Hiring Manager wants to give an offer to you right away, HR may convince them to allow an HR screen before the offer is given.  Again, this is the practice of a strong HR group, and that can only help the overall process towards finding the best candidate.  This interview must be taken very seriously because their negative feedback can hurt your changes – big time!  So keep your focus and energy and give the very best interview you can.

And lastly, apply on-line anyway because companies can avoid paying headhunter fees if you send your resume to them before a headhunter does.  Having your resume in their on-line database gives companies a date and time of receipt and nothing makes HR and the Hiring Manager happier than not having to pay a search firm fee.

So to hedge your bets by conducting your due diligence about the company, the department, the Hiring Manager and the HR group.   It can only help your chances!


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