How to contact a hiring manager

How to email a hiring manager

Reaching out directly to a hiring manager when a company isn’t advertising an opening is a great way to network.

You can position yourself as the candidate of choice for the company’s next opening.

Also, if the hiring manager likes you, he can possibly create a job for you; this happens more often than you think!

Note: When I say “hiring manager,” I’m talking about the department head or division head or executive who would be responsible for hiring you.

If you’re a marketing director, this could be the marketing VP or CMO.

I’m not talking about human resources professionals. (Unless you’re in HR yourself.) The folks in HR aren’t interested in networking with random people!

Now, if it’s a company with an in-house corporate recruiter, by all means reach out to whichever in-house recruiter seems to be relevant. But many small and mid-market companies don’t have in-house recruiters.

Find the hiring manager’s name

So, the first step is finding the hiring manager’s name; here are some ideas:

  1. Brainstorm what the hiring manager’s likely title would be. This is usually more difficult in a large, complex Fortune 500 company. You could approach the person who would be your boss, or that person’s boss. You’ll need to think about what level you would likely be in at the company to figure out who your potential boss and boss’s boss would be. If you would be a director, you’d probably, but not always, report to a VP. In a larger company, you might report to a senior director, or in a smaller company, a director will sometimes report to the CEO or another C-level executive.
  2. Once you have a few ideas for possible job titles of the hiring manager and hiring manager’s boss, do a search on LinkedIn or Google. You’d be surprised how often a Google search for the company name and division head’s job title will pull up a web reference to the person–and there you have your name.

Contact the hiring manager via LinkedIn

Once you know his or her name through your research, you can send an InMail on LinkedIn if he/she has a profile on LinkedIn. Yes, you need a paid account to do this. You might be able to get a free upgrade.

Also, if you share a LinkedIn group with the person, you may be able to send a message for free. (Hint: if you don’t share a group, check to see if he belongs to any groups you could join.)

How to find the hiring manager’s email address

If you already know someone at the company (past or current employee) and know the person’s company email address, you’re golden.

Within any given company, all the emails usually follow the same format. So all you need is to find out one person’s email address, and you should be able to find out the hiring manager’s email address.

Here’s an easy way. Do a Google search for the company’s domain name with an “@” in front of it.

Let’s say, for example, that the company’s website is Obviously, the company’s email accounts will all end with So just type the following into Google:

More often than not, you should be able to find someone’s email address in the results that come up. Doesn’t matter whose it is! It will reveal the company’s email scheme.

Based on the results, let’s say you determine that the scheme is [email protected]

If you want to confirm whether the mail box exists, one neat tool is (However, you can easily skip this step.)

Use a web app to look up the info

If you can’t find any evidence of a company’s email scheme through your Google searching and don’t have luck with, here are some other tools that can provide you with access to some emails for free (not everyone on the planet is in their databases, but you can try and see if the person you want is in there).

Emailing the hiring manager: just do it!

At this point, you can just go for it–send the person an email or LinkedIn InMail and see what happens. My preferred method is an InMail, so that the recipient isn’t wondering “How did he get my email address?”

Either way, make sure the message is a brief, concise, and thoughtfully worded cold networking letter.

Yes, it might not be a valid address for any number of reasons, or the person might not be paying attention to his LinkedIn InMails, or maybe the person has left the company and won’t receive it. Who knows. Who cares? Just go for it. You don’t have anything to lose.

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Is your online presence helping or hurting your job search?

Your “digital dirt” could be haunting you.

If you haven’t “Googled” yourself lately, it’s probably a good idea to type your name into the search engine to see what results you get.

A wealth of information about most of us is at any prospective employer’s fingertips and can help or hurt your chances of getting the job you want.

“Your Google results are your new resume.” — Richard Bolles, late author of best-selling career book What Color is Your Parachute?

I won’t get into whether it’s right or wrong for employers to research candidates online. I can see both sides of the issue. Whether it’s right or not, if you want to land a great opportunity quickly, you can’t afford to overlook your online presence.

Who gets searched

In general, you’re probably more likely to be looked up online if you’re an executive or senior-level candidate, versus a blue collar or entry-level candidate. Executives are sometimes mentioned in the media and on websites and blogs, so employers and recruiters might be interested in any mentions of you online.

The likelihood of being searched could also vary by industry and job type. For example, I would expect employers to look up a marketing professional to find out if the candidate is social media-savvy, whereas employers might be less interested in an HVAC specialist’s online presence.

So, what information can help or hurt you?

Potentially helpful information

  • A strong LinkedIn profile with recommendations
  • Other social media profiles that are focused on your chosen profession
  • A blog in which you write about topics relevant to your profession
  • Posts you’ve made on social media websites that present you in a positive light
  • A personal website (eg., an “electronic portfolio,” or “e-folio” for short) showcasing your qualifications; this can include a blog
  • Positive news articles and press releases about you

Potentially harmful information

  • Social media profiles that might contain information about you that could be a turnoff
  • Posts you’ve made on social media sites that someone might perceive negatively
  • Embarrassing photos of you
  • Political donations you’ve made
  • Lawsuits or criminal records
  • Negative media or blog coverage of you

Confusing information

Another problem is that a search for your name might pull up references to others who share your name. This can be problematic. The employer might think that some of those other references are about you, and you might suffer because of mistaken identity. One way you might avoid this confusion is by using Vizibility, which helps you organize and share your online identity.

Action steps for taking control of your online presence

Research & evaluate: First, research yourself thoroughly to uncover everything that an employer might be able to find and evaluate whether any of the information about you might turn off a prospective employer.

Fix what you control: Address any negative information that is under your control, like removing all the comments you posted on Facebook complaining about your job, or setting your Facebook profile to private.

Try to fix what others control: If there is unwanted information about you on a blog or website, evaluate carefully whether it might be appropriate to politely approach the webmaster about having the material removed.

Create positive content: Set up a great LinkedIn profile, find a reason to send out a press release about something you’ve done, and consider creating a personal website/e-folio to promote yourself. (All services I offer, by the way!) A positive, professional presence on other social media services can also be helpful, depending on your industry, goals, and interest level.

If the situation is out of control

In some cases, if your online reputation is severely tarnished, drastic measures might be necessary. (This might be the case if there are a bunch of negative news articles about you online.)

There are consultants and companies who specialize in search engine optimization and online reputation management who can help you with improving your search engine results. I would be happy to refer you to a reputable provider if you are interested.


How common is online research of candidates?

Statistics vary regarding the percentage of employers who look up candidates using search engines and social media.

The Society of Human Resource Management released some findings on this in August 2011 (see slide show below for details). SHRM’s findings are more conservative than other figures that have been reported, but are still substantial enough that candidates need to consider their online presence.

(Also, it’s worth noting that SHRM surveyed HR professionals, not hiring managers. Some HR people are avoiding online searches due to legal concerns — considerations that hiring managers might not think about.)

Slide show of SHRM’s survey results

View more presentations from shrm

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