I am the HR Director for this company, and so I took it upon myself to politely explain to this person, by phone, that we have nothing that suits his qualifications and I gave him information on the only position we have open, which is more or less entry level.
He asked me if he should contact the owner of our company to talk about a higher level position and I told him that was not advisable, but I would keep his application on hand for anything suitable that might open in the future, if he was not interested in the current opening.
Soon thereafter, I received a call from the Executive Assistant to our owner saying she had gotten an email from the same job seeker requesting a confirmation from her that she received his resume. I told her not to worry about this because I had just spoken with the job seeker. This was last week.
Just a few minutes ago, I got a phone call from a mildly annoyed company owner saying "I see you've referred this John Doe to me..." to which I stammered out that of course I never did that!
I've been in this position five years and have never suggested that a job seeker circumvent our usual hiring channels to contact one of our owners - something I hoped the owner would realize. However he's extremely busy and tends to take things at face value.
There's a difference btween being resourcesful and being a nuisance
The owner forwarded me the email he got from the job seeker and I see why he thought I referred him. The job seeker had written, "Dear President, your HR Director suggested I contact you" (mentioning me by name of course). He then launched into the same description of his work background and requests a confirmation of receipt.
I understand that job seekers sometimes think they are being resourceful when they name-drop, but I am more than a little irritated when someone uses me - or as this person did – lies about something I've said or done to get in the door of a higher-up. I am so tempted to pick up the phone and let this person know I don't appreciate what he's done, but of course it is probably best to let it go.
What can we do to get the word out there to job seekers that there is a difference between being resourceful and being a nuisance?
I can understand how furious you must be. This job hunter has lied about your referral and put you in a bad light with the owner. Hopefully, the owner will realize this job-hunter has pulled an unethical maneuver, and he will dismiss it.
I can understand your temptation to let this guy have it. But he’s already demonstrated his ignorance and naiveté about how corporations work, so he might try to use it to keep the dialogue with you open—which you clearly don’t want to do.
Instead, you might want to visit the owner’s administrative assistant and explain the situation in full. She is the gatekeeper and is used to handling situations of this type.
Enlist her help and request that she contact you immediately if this fellow ever tries to get in the door again. If he does, call him or write him and let him know that falsely using your name as a referral has disqualified him from obtaining any position in your organization.
This is a great example of how not to get in the door. Some of the unspoken rules are:
- Don’t go over the head of someone who has already given you an answer. You will make an enemy of the first person and irritate the second.
- Don’t keep badgering a company—it only ticks off a busy employer.
- Trying to open a door by dropping a name, without really knowing the person, or, in this case, outright lying about a referral is bound to backfire.
- Circumventing the hiring process by going directly to someone in senior management only works if you already know the senior manager.
- Being rude or pushy with an administrative assistant is going to disqualify you. They wield plenty of power when it comes to opening that door, and it pays to respect their position.
Do you need answers to tough job hunting questions? Are you looking for some added punch to help you stand out from the crowd? Joan Lloyd’s has developed job hunting tools that can help you to maximize your job search:
Savvy Negotiation Strategies to Get Paid What You’re Worth on a New Job (Detailed, special report)
Easy, Step-by-step Guide to Using the Internet to Land a Great Job (Detailed, special report)
How to Get Your Dream Job (VHS video)
The Resume that Gets Results and the Interview that Gets the Job (37 page, detailed instructions)
Joan Lloyd has a solid track record of excellent results. Her firm, Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding. This includes executive coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized leadership training, conflict resolution between teams or individuals, internal consulting skills training for HR professionals and retreat facilitation. Clients report results such as: behavior change in leaders, improved team performance and a more committed workforce.
Joan Lloyd has earned her C.S.P. (certified speaking professional) designation from the National Speakers Association and speaks to corporate audiences, as well as trade & professional associations across the country. Reach her at (800) 348-1944, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.JoanLloyd.com.
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