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I'm applying for a job with a large company that uses an online application system. I found the opening through a discussion group specific to the (small) field - posted by the department director himself, not HR. It had a description and said "Go to the website and search job number xxx."

Not sure if that means 1) "There's more information there, and you can apply through it" or 2) "Apply there. It's a large company and it has to be done that way" I did apply online, but I am afraid of it getting lost or at least severely delayed in the black hole of HR.

Would it be inappropriate to ALSO directly email my resume to the director? I don't want it to seem like I am directly ignoring his (unclear) instructions to (maybe?) apply through the website (?).

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Did you check on website? At there, is option available to apply for that specific job? If yes then you should apply from there. You should not send mail directly to director because he has clearly mentioned steps to apply.

After apply from there , wait for 1 week and then if you do not get reply then find contact no. of HR and call them and describe that you applied for X position etc. Also tell that how you got information about that vacancy.

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    +1 Go with what the director said. They obviously set their procedures up like this in order to group all applications (probably in some kind of overview). It's very easy to miss an application when HR receives several dozens of emails daily. – Edwin Lambregts Apr 23 '15 at 8:12
  • @EdwinLambregts - Yeah , you are right.. – Helping Hands Apr 23 '15 at 9:23
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Only E-mail the director directly if you have some personal relationship with the director, such as if you worked with the director previously. The director may still ask you to use the form but reaching out directly will likely get you noticed and, hopefully, accelerated through the process.

Otherwise, use the form or automated system provided. Companies set these up to deal with the large influx of candidates, allowing them to be collated from different sources, sorted, distributed to reviewers, captured for equal opportunity statistics and, if unsuccessful, filed away for later referral.

However, feel free to reach out to HR or someone similar afterwards. This can get you noticed and impress upon them how keen you are. So saying, do not pester them or contact senior people without solicitation. This will get you rejected very quickly.

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"I did apply online, but I am afraid of it getting lost or at least severely delayed in the black hole of HR"

If 10000 people thought like you and bombarded the directors of the company instead of contacting HR as they are supposed to, then someone in management is going to be very upset at being spammed. One of my former bosses would spam my Inbox and then yell at me when there was so much junk in my Inbox that the important emails would go unnoticed.

HR exists for a reason, and thinking of HR as a black hole is self-defeating and gets you nowhere. Especially if you have no strong qualifications for the position you are applying for, you are up against a small army of qualified candidates and HR filtered you out and never bothered to contact you.

When it comes to hiring, HR does not say "yes" - unless you are applying for a position in HR, that is - but it can say "no" at several stages of the hiring process including the initial screening and filtering and the background and reference checks.

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