It's You and the Gatekeeper and the Battle of Wit.
Gatekeepers for Jobseekers
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” ~ Mark Twain
Okay, I know you’re all breathless to hear just what works – what to say – to those Administrative and Executive Assistants guarding the gates of those who can give you a job.
The first thing you say to a Gatekeeper Administrative/Executive Assistant is their name. Remember? Before the Gatekeeper Receptionist sent you inwards you stopped her and verified with her that she was sending you to the person you originally asked for. You simply said, “Are you transferring me to him?” and most times she said she was.
In the few times where she said she was sending you to the person’s Administrative (or Executive) Assistant you asked, “Can you tell me her name?” Nine times out of ten she did.
In the far more numerous times when she affirmed that she was sending you directly to the person you asked for you still asked for the department’s admin’s name: “In case I reach his Voice Mail (and she’ll recognize this as a valid assertion) does he have an Administrative Assistant?"
Do not call an Administrative Assistant or an Executive Assistant a secretary.
Remember to always ask for the extension number or direct dial of the person you’re being transferred to. That way you may not need to call in and talk to a Receptionist Gatekeeper again on your subsequent calls. Remember, the chances are that you’ll be calling again (and again and again) on some.
There’s one thing we forgot. In your document, each time you call – record the name of the Receptionist Gatekeeper. You’re going to need it, as you’ll soon see.
Okay, here we are. When the Receptionist Gatekeeper (Ruth) answered our call we asked for the person (Michael Simpson/Director of Operations) we had the insight to look for on the Internet or in our previous calling “for names” before we started this first round of “Hire me”calls and we gathered as much information as we could.
She transfers us to the person we asked for. We know his direct dial (123 456 7890) and we know who his Administrative Assistant is (Michelle Lorman) and her direct dial (123 456 7891). We know these things because we asked Ruth for them.
We’re in business.
Mike's phone rings and rings and rings and then a female voice comes on the line.
“Mike Simpson’s office – Michelle speaking.”
Uh oh. We weren’t expecting that. Even so, we need to think (and act) on our feet. Here’s what we say:
“Hi Michelle, this is Maureen Sharib. Ruth transferred me – is he in?”
Notice the ring of familiarity in what I say. I mention the Receptionist Gatekeeper by name and my easy introduction of myself makes it sound like maybe I’ve been here before. At least that’s the impression it seems to sometimes give.
“He’s in a meeting Maureen – he’ll be out at 2 – do you want me to leave him a message?”
“I don't want to bother you - I can try back at 2 – in the meantime – does he have Voice Mail you can send me to?”
“He sure does – here you go – Bye!”
Easy breezy and that’s the attitude you need to have doing this calling. What you really want to do is talk to Mike and you should try several times before you leave a message with Michelle but when you finally are ready to leave a message here’s what I suggest:
“Yes, Michelle. I appreciate your help. This is Maureen Sharib and I’m looking for a position in Operations. I see that Mike is the Director of Operations and I’m hoping to connect with him to see if he knows of any opportunities in our industry.”
Your simple but very direct message may or may not get through. Your call may or may not be returned but it’s worth a shot anyway.
I’m hoping some of the Career Coaches reading this will add what they’d say in the above situation down below in the Comments.
We’ve overlooked something. See how closely Michelle and Mike’s direct dials align in the phone register? Chances are others in Operations may lie numerically close. It’s worth a try if you want to reach someone directly – to dial other numbers close by. It can’t hurt and what’s the harm? “I’m not in Operations” is as bad as it’s going to get.
Now I know we said we’d talk about how to use a company’s automatic “directory assistant” to uncover names inside a company but that’s more than I feel like covering right now. Next time I promise we will!
You have enough information now that you should be well started in finding/calling and connecting with people inside companies who can give you a job. I hope you’ve started because believe me, some others reading this have and they’re going to beat you to the punch if you haven’t.
Telephone Names Sourcer
513 899 9628
Maureen at techtrak.com