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Everything about selling yourself to HR can be summed up thusly: Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
In many companies, HR does not have the power to hire you, but they do have the power to nix you. In other companies, HR operates on behalf of the hiring manager… but think about what kind of pressure that puts HR under: they are hiring someone they’ve never met to work with someone else they may not know, and if it’s not a good match, someone’s going to be at the door blaming them for the problem. So, as a pain/risk avoidance measure, HR in these cases will adhere as closely to the job description provided by the hiring manager as they possibly can.
Now, you know from Willy how much we care for those job descriptions.
So, what do you do?
You do this:
Don’t worry about selling this person. HR is generally not a buyer, HR is an influencer. Answering the questions lets the person you’re talking to cover his/her butt by filling out the appropriate paperwork. Making the connection turns the person into an ally.
Yes, lots of people are trying to get this person’s attention. Don’t worry about that. It’s not in what you say, it’s in how you say it. If you are sincere and earnest, that will come through and will get you noticed in a good way, which is what you want!
Rent/download and watch the movie Tommyboy. You are Chris Farley. Your journey in selling yourself is his journey in selling brake pads. Pay particular attention to the scene in the restaurant: that’s you working with HR. (The kitchen would be the hiring manager, for those of you who need to see the whole analogy.)
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