Sometimes the hardest part of getting a job is just getting past the gatekeeper. Why can it be so hard to get your name, resume, or message in front of the decision maker? The job of the gatekeeper is often to answer the questions you have without going to the decision maker.

Decision makers are busy people and train their staff to handle a variety of situations so they don’t have to spend their time answering questions that someone else can answer. This way, the decision makers have ample time to deal with the situations and questions that only they can answer.

Our resident gatekeeper, Sarah Solinski, offers her advice on getting past the person at the front desk.

  1. Email the decision maker directly. If you know it is a matter that you need to speak with the DM about, save your self the steps and cut right to the chase. Most companies have emails listed on their webpage or can be contacted via Linked In. At Melinda Holm & Associates if you want a fast answer from the recruiter herself your best bet is to shoot them an email. They can respond directly to you and on the double! However, if it is a general question  (directions to an interview, how to apply for a position, etc), the quicker route is to contact the gatekeeper.
  2. Explain in detail what you are looking for to the gatekeeper. When calling and saying that you just need to speak to person X the gatekeeper will have to ask you questions. In most instances the office coordinator or someone else can help with whatever you need. If you explain exactly what you need, “I’m calling in response to Melinda’s message about a job opportunity with agency X,” the gatekeeper will either send you right though to the powers at be, or might be expecting your call and has instructions to help you.
  3. Make a good impression. Your interview starts with your first point of contact with any person at the company.  From your first email, phone call, or in person meeting your attitude is important. If your first few interactions are with the gatekeeper don’t disregard them as unimportant. Often the decision maker may ask what they were like on the phone, via email, or in the waiting room to get a taste for what the person is actually like outside of a formal interview. This isn’t gossiping–it’s knowing that interviews are longer than a few minutes in a conference room. If you want to get past the gatekeeper get him/her on your team so they can advocate for you.

Whether it’s at Melinda Holm & Associates or another company you are directly applying with you will most likely need to work with a gatekeeper to get to the decision maker. Use these tips to make getting past the gatekeeper a breeze so you’re one step closer to your new job!