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I have applied to an open position at a big company (worldwide, 10k+ employees, but non-BigTech). The kind of firm that have positions published for a certain number of weeks, and a generic application platform.
The role is mid-senior and relatively generic (think “senior C++ developer”). So I'm surely not the only candidate, but they might not receive many dozens of applications.

I want to ensure I get a shot at this opportunity and land a first interview.

So, while my application is formally processed, should I try to informally reach out (e.g., ask more details about the role via LinkedIn) to the hiring manager and/or future boss — this, in order to have my application noticed?


P.S.: With hindsight, what I want to know is whether this move would be perceived positively as:

Wow! Here is a candidate showing they're really motivated for that job and goes beyond simply filling yet another form/who's not blindly applying to any offer coming!
(So let's see what's they're really like)

Or whether it would be frown upon like:

Who does they think they are?! Here is a candidate that's trying to jump the queue and doesn't formal processes matter!
(So let's not bother considering their application).


Context: I'm quite alien to recruitment practices in corporate setting. I genuinely believe I could be a good candidate for the role (seniority and background on scope with the job spec).
However, I fear that by applying for this position via their generic platform only, my application might get lost or discarded by an automated process just because I'd have forgotten a specific keyword. So my objective would be to bypass this automated triage and be shortlisted by establishing a prior personal/casual connection.
That said, I wouldn't want this to backfire and them to reply “don't try to jump the queue, and follow the process that we've describe” as they ought to follow the process by the letter.

The culture is western-European. I assume that by triangulating company/department, job title, and location, I should be able to identify the relevant managers. My question is similar to How to get someone actually reading your resume when applying to a big, sought-after company, but focuses specifically about contacting a (possible) manager via LinkedIn.

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  • Rather spending your time triangulation on LinkedIn and annoying your potential future bosses, you should spend your energy looking for additional job opportunities. Nov 6, 2022 at 14:29
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    Depending on the exact recruitment process used, there might not even be a hiring manager or "future boss" at this point. At my employer, general software engineers are generally first hired, before they are matched with a specific team. Nov 6, 2022 at 17:02
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    But you ARE trying to jump the queue. That's literally what it is. Your words: my objective would be to bypass this automated triage (IF, and that's a big "if", there is any)
    – Agent_L
    Nov 8, 2022 at 12:50

4 Answers 4

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So, while my application is formally processed, should I try to informally reach out (e.g., ask more details about the role via LinkedIn) to the hiring manager and/or future boss — this, in order to have my application noticed?

No.

Companies (and most hiring managers) frown upon folks trying to go around their formal processes.

And no hiring manager I know wants to answer questions from a stranger that hasn't even passed the initial screening phase.

Just be patient and follow the company's process.

P.S.: With hindsight, what I want to know is whether this move would be perceived positively as:

"Wow! Here is a candidate showing they're really motivated for that job and goes beyond simply filling yet another form/who's not blindly applying to any offer coming! (So let's see what's they're really like)"

Or whether it would be frown upon like:

"Who does they think they are?! Here is a candidate that's trying to jump the queue and doesn't formal processes matter! (So let's not bother considering their application)."

They may just ignore your attempt to "reach out". But of the two choices, the latter is far, far more likely in my experience.

It's not a risk I would suggest taking.

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No - the most likely outcome is that they will ignore it, the second most likely outcome is that they will (correctly) assume that you're trying to bypass the standard applications process and get annoyed.

In particular:

So my objective would be to bypass this automated triage and be shortlisted by establishing a prior personal/casual connection.

This isn't happening, not in a month of Sundays. Even in the unlikely event that they responded well to your reaching out and were favourably disposed towards you they aren't going to just discard the normal process for one candidate that they've never met. Not only would the amount of effort to do that (for what is essentially a stranger) be higher than you could expect them to give but it would be indefensible should someone at the company (e.g. HR) ask them why you were being given special treatment.

I've had people try the sort of thing your considering and I can say without a shadow of a doubt it's never done anything other than make me annoyed with the applicant and even when they would otherwise have been reasonable candidates it sows the seeds of "does this person not understand simple instructions?" or worse, "does this person think the rules don't apply to them?". Needless to say I've never hired one of these people.

It was the "in vouge" advice a few years back to tell jobseekers that they should ignore the standard processes and make themselves "stand out" - it was junk advice then and it's junk advice now.

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  • Exactly right! Having done hiring myself, in the early stages we are really looking for reasons to trim the applicant pool right down. If you give me an inkling that you can't follow instructions, right into the rubbish bin goes your application! Nov 7, 2022 at 9:47
  • Thanks! I was trying to understand whether this approach would be perceived as “here is a candidate showing they're really motivated for that job and goes beyond simply filling yet another form” (so let's see what's they're really like) vs. “here is a candidate that's trying to jump the queue and doesn't understand formal processes matter”. Your other-side-of-the-fence perspective (and notably the fact the person I'd contact wouldn't be able to do anything about my being-processed-application) is very valuable!
    – ebosi
    Nov 7, 2022 at 9:58
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Yes, No, Sort-of, Maybe.

You certainly want to maintain a professional network of contacts. This network can help you when you're looking for a new position and, in return, you can help others when they are looking.

It works well, for example, if you've been in touch with the hiring manager or someone that they know and then you're able reach out when you're in the market. Referrals can be an effective way to get around the initial applicant HR boiler-plates. In many places, they're the most common way job-positions are filled.

However, most people don't respond well to surprise contacts from strangers who obviously have a goal in mind.

It depends, of course, on how good your communication is and the exact context of the situation. If the position is very specific and will attract very few candidates, it might be a good idea to communicate with a subject matter expert in the company you're targeting. Or, if you can find someone who knows you directly or indirectly within that company, they may be able to refer you to the hiring managers. Many employers actually pay people who give them referrals which end up as hires (true in the US, not sure if that's the case in the EU).

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    'Many employers actually pay people who give them referrals which end up as hires (true in the US, not sure if that's the case in the EU).' I can only speak for the UK but this is a common practice in tech companies.
    – Dakeyras
    Nov 6, 2022 at 21:25
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    @Dakeyras, Yes, but if they contacted the person after they've already applied, it's too late for their contact to be counted as a referral. If they were going to contact an employee, they need to do so before they actually apply. They didn't follow the correct sequence. Nov 7, 2022 at 1:54
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I'm actually a little surprised as to how many people are saying 'no'. I think it depends on industry and I would say generally go with your intuition on whether or not it's appropriate but my general feeling is 'why not'. I will though preface this by saying that I work in tech and hiring processes can be slightly different but wanted to at least offer an alternative opinion.

The reason that I don't think it's inappropriate is because you're trying to reach out to formally enter the interview process, it's not like you're expecting to not have to interview or shortcut those processes. So, if you're reaching out to a hiring manager that would increase your chances in getting an interview, then why not go for it? I don't think that if you would've been considered, they would no longer consider you because you tried reaching out through LinkedIn, but I do think if you weren't going to be considered and you don't reach out, your chances will stay slim.

I think if you could craft a message that's a similar cover letter style of who you are, what role you're interested, and why you're a good fit, it couldn't hurt (but some of these other answers suggest that it could so go with the option you feel more comfortable with!)

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  • For some jobs, the ad lists a name and a phone number to reach out to in case you have any questions. I always have questions, so typically I call (well prepared). Good chance they will ask some questions back. You can then still apply (and they may remember you) or you don't apply because you don't like what you heard.
    – Bernhard
    Nov 10, 2022 at 21:39

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