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The decision maker in 6 steps

Job seekers hear a lot about not spending “too much” time posting on job boards. They are often told to network, network, network. They are advised to seek the decision maker.
But, job seekers are never told how to FIND the decision maker! Who is this person? Wouldn’t it be great to go to their office and see their title on the door: “Welcome to the Decision Maker’s Office!”
It doesn’t work that way, but here are 6 easy steps you can take to find that person:
  1. Target who you want to work for: Too many applicants take the “I’ll take any sales job that comes along” approach. The approach SHOULD be: “I want to work for company XYZ.” You can research XYZ’s history, needs, personnel, competition, business success stories, and more using your tools (listed above) and other internet sources. Then, go AFTER them. Show them where your skills, abilities and competencies fit their needs. You may not get a job this week, but most companies experience turnover at least every 3 months. You can get your foot in the door first if you are already on “the inside.”Be the expert they’ve been looking for.
  2. The organizational chart. The ‘who’s who’ inside any company. Most online business references can provide some of this information for free. The Houston Book of Lists is a great place to start for only $65.00 for the print edition. You can share with other job seekers…and be a HERO. You can also get the data download or CD version for $169.95. This way, you get the name of an executive in the company. Next step is to find them on and introduce you. A sample of what you will find in the book: and Free sample: You can also look at the lobby directory in many larger companies!
  3. Raw nerve: One of my favorite applicants contacted my office and asked if they could take me to lunch to learn more about our company and about my expertise in the field. As an egotistical manager (and most of them are!) I was more than happy to take a free lunch, share my knowledge, and make a new friend. That “new friend” was hired within 3 weeks. Great approach!
  4. Respect: Tell every contact that their picking up the phone is appreciated, and make it brief. This sets the tone and conveys immediate courtesy and respect. Never fear calling the CEO directly.  A human resource representative or hiring manager is used to taking direction from the boss. If the boss says, “You’re hired” – they will figure out a way to get you processed quickly!
  5. Follow-up: Yes, there are many “easy” tools to use in today’s technology, but I can promise you – a neatly written, handwritten note will get to the boss a lot faster than an e-mail. Maybe not in speed of delivery, but in lasting impression.
  6. Don’t give up: You may not get the “right person” the first contact with a company. You may get someone trained to be a roadblock. Try to get information from them…you never know! Remember this: at ALL levels, be professional. The person at the front desk may also express an opinion to the boss and “Hey – I had a great applicant come by today to meet you” is much nicer than “This incredible jerk dropped off his application. I sure hope you don’t hire him!”

Contact James Hamilton: or find me at: Twitter   Houston’s Economic Policy Examiner  LinkedIN   MySpace  
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  • Elizabeth 5 years ago

    Applicants should go through the proper course of action...not try to bypass the steps and go to a boss. This is a bad idea.

  • Jodi 5 years ago

    I completely disagree with Elizabeth. I got my foot in the door at a company and winged a great job by finding out who was the hiring manager for the position I wanted and calling him directly. HR had not sent him my resume (I guess they were screening and I wasn't their ideal candidate) but he told me that I presented myself well and he liked that I was agressive. He had me to email him my resume directly, and despite my lack of experience in the field I got the job.

  • Jenn 5 years ago

    Great article! I was a hiring manager for many years, and the applicants who took the time to send a follow-up hand-written note always stood out for me. Also, my team freely commented on the applicant's professional attitude and attire -- or lack thereof -- whenever they received an application. The morale of the story is to treat everyone with respect!

    Jennifer King, San Antonio Budget Grocery Examiner

  • Max 2 years ago

    Install the best FREE decision making app for Windows 8 devices at

  • Profile picture of DecisionMaker
    DecisionMaker 2 years ago

    Hey, it looks nice! I found you can also get this app from

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