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Is it a good idea to knock at an employer's door to personally hand a physical copy of one's resume to its HR department, even after sending it electronically through the "official" way?

I think it could leave the impression that you are really interested in getting an interview at that particular place, but can this practice also be frowned upon?

  • Yes, I think it could leave a good impression and it also could be frowned upon. What information do you have to help us narrow down the answer? – Nicole Apr 26 '12 at 6:59
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    @NickC: The "only" information I have is that I am a young, junior engineer with a little over one year and a half of work experience currently looking for a better place to work than at my current company. – DotNetStudent Apr 26 '12 at 7:08
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    There's a thin line between enthusiasm and stalking. Proceed with caution! – Scott C Wilson Apr 26 '12 at 10:49
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This depends highly on the business you're in. A chef, for example, seems to follow a career arc that starts with visiting in person to hand over a resume and needs to rise pretty far up before an email or other electronic communication could start the ball rolling, even in a large establishment. Most office jobs involve a more "hands-off" application process, and that's what I'm familiar with.

I've hired dozens of people myself, and advised clients during the hiring process (most recently a month ago) and these days, we get too many applicants. If you can't follow instructions, I don't even read your resume. I know that's harsh but it's true. So if I ask for emailed resumes and I get a comment on a blog post with a link to an online resume, or a twitter dm, or a phone call, or a visit - thanks for playing but you didn't follow the instructions. Now if you followed the instructions and emailed the resume, but then decided to do some extra thing to make sure that I gave your resume all the consideration it deserved, then I would think twice about hiring someone who doesn't mind interrupting my work to make sure they get what they want. I know books and articles are full of advice to "stand out from the crowd" and "put in a little effort to show them you're a go-getter who really wants the job" but trust me, it's a short distance from there to "that annoying guy who thinks all I have to do all day is reassure him on the status of his application" or "that desparate guy who pulls tricks to get his resume read - he's probably not that good".

Be good at what you do. Build a resume that shows it. Stand out from the crowd by doing things all the time, not just while you're applying for jobs, and do things that help the world, not things that inconvenience hiring managers like visiting them at the office without an appointment. Join a user group, a professional association, and the like. Volunteer evenings and weekends doing something (related to your profession) for a non profit. Blog. These are not stunts, they don't look desparate, and they will make you genuinely better, which visiting people's offices will not.

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    Having interviewed "that annoying guy who thinks all I have to do all day is reassure him on the status of his application" I heartily concur. BTW he did not get the job; never annoy the hiring official. – HLGEM Apr 26 '12 at 13:53
  • Good point, that it will vary by industry. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 26 '12 at 18:13
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    +1 for FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. If the company says submit electronically, do that. If they say turn it in in person, do that. If they don't specify how to submit your resume pick ONE submission method (and possibly follow up with a phone call after 2-3 days to make sure they got it) – voretaq7 Apr 26 '12 at 18:20
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I can only speak for myself but as someone who handles about 10 interviews a month, I wouldn't appreciate the gesture.

That's mainly because I'm pretty much busy all the time (most people that do interviews ARE busy from what I observe) and we already have a working procedure in place. These set procedures let us schedule ourselves so we can devote the appropriate amount of time to interviewing without disrupting our flow. Ever notice how HR always seems to arrange for multiple interviews in one day? It's easier to schedule.

In fact, I've just told my HR to NEVER route these visits to me just in case :P

6

A vast majority of companies have receptionists. One of their primary purposes is to prevent people who do not have appointments from interrupting the work day for their employees. Most of the time the receptionist will accept your resume, but rarely are they consulted on the quality of the candidate. Not to mention if the offices at all busy then the receptionist may have taken little to no notice of you.

Almost everyone has a computer on their desk today. Many have laptops or tablets they are using to do their work. It is much easier organize and review resumes when they are in a digital format. Many companies have a website to apply online. This will often put your resume into the system where candidates are selected from automatically. Anytime you can make the HR persons job easier you are generally better off. When you make them do extra work you run the risk or souring their attitude towards you, or even forgetting to enter you into the system all together.

When you should personally hand in a resume

When you go in to an interview have several of your resume in a portfolio. If any one does not have one and is looking over someone else's shoulder or asking about it, offer them one you brought with you. It is a great opportunity to make eye contact and get a smile from the interviewer. I have had this technique turn a sour room friendly. And it marks you as someone that comes prepared for important meetings, that is something the interviewers will probably respect.

If you know the person you are going to be giving the resume too.

It is not about who you know, its about what you know right... not really. If you know someone at the company and they ask you to bring them your resume do it. Personal references are really only important when they are employed by the company you are working for. But when you have someone on the inside advocating for you it can increase your chances of at least getting an interview. Many times it will get you in doors that would otherwise not even consider you.
You should not give your resume to someone in person unless they have asked you to. Ask your contact if they would prefer a physical resume or the digital version. They are going to know the best way for them to advocate for you. Help them out.

  • +1 for bringing your resume with you to the interview - a key point a lot of the other answers (and a lot of people I've interviewed) seem to overlook. You never know when the company printer will be jammed and the folks interviewing you won't be able to print that electronic resume you sent them! – voretaq7 Apr 26 '12 at 18:23
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    Perfect! Oh - and one more - give a resume when you see the poor hiring manager squinting at the horribly laid out resume the company has provided - sometimes corporate info systems do horrible things to resume formats... your printed copy will be much easier to read!! – bethlakshmi Apr 26 '12 at 20:15
4

I am myself a junior software engineer working in a video game company. When I applied, I personally handed a physical copy of my CV and a CD containing several of my projects.

After a bunch of interview and tests I got the job. The HR guy told me afterward that my CV stood out because it was rare for him to receive a physical one.

So I guess it depends on the company.

4

Adding a tad more detail to the "it varies" answer - know the business, know the culture - demonstrating these things is much more important than resume/face to face exposure.

I hire in two roles - engineering/IT & performing arts.

Here's a comparison -

IT/Engineering:

I'm super busy and my own context switch time is critical. I don't want to or have time to hear from individual candidates until they are screened by my HR. Keeping the business needs going is my job, screening candidate's is HR's job - they and I have had a meeting on my needs and I trust them.

Worse, I work in security - a paranoid field to say the least. If you showed up on my doorstep (past the armed guards, metal detectors and man trap) I might be slightly impressed at your Ninja Skills, but mostly I'd be freaked out. I'd also have serious concerns about your respect for procedure, which is a critial part of the needs of my team. And I'd be worried that you don't understand that my particular focus is about building great walls, not climbing over them with impressive skill.

Performing Arts:

Much the opposite. Perhaps because our culture revolves around seeing and being seen, the environment is much more open. It's a strike against the candidate if they haven't seen our group perform -- because why do they want to join an artistic endeavor that they haven't even seen? Several of my favorite candidates have sheepishly admitted to "stalking" us politely for years. You have to love your work in this industry to be able to do well as a performer. I wouldn't be suprised to hear that any public facing role was somewhat similar.

More to the point - feel free to engage with me at a show, class or other public event. But there's good ways and bad ways. Particularly in the performing arts, a good performer makes the performance look effortless. So there is a fine line between "interested, engaged, confident and enthusastic", and the incorrect impression that you can do this job with 0 years of experience better than a practiced performer with 5+ years of experience. A big part of the culture is dedication to improvement. As a manager in this world, I have to trust that people will take their own needs to improve seriously, and that people will be willing and open to receiving critique and working on improvement.

Always the "I'm really interested, your work is so cool" is a winner. Hard to disagree with that one. :)

And even within the more closed tech world - if you happen to see me at a networking event (conference, BOAF session, meet n greet, etc) - and find out that I do something you want a peice of - then absolutely let me know.... that's an appropriate time, because I've intentionally set aside this space for meeting new people and finding out about new opportunities (getting a great person on the team is absolutely an opportunity - for both myself and the candidate!). Just be aware and open to me asking you to follow a normal procedure.

3

It depends on the company that you are applying to.

For the large company, I would think that this is highly frowned upon. They have a pretty large pool of candidates to shift through, and having someone dropping their resume in would be a disruption to their process.

The logistics of dealing with a paper copy of your resume would also be frowned upon by these HR folks.

For a smaller company or startups, I would think that this is highly favourable. It shows initiative and out-of-box thinking on getting notice and a foot in the door. The smaller company are also more agile and able to handle this type of interruptions better than the larger docile companies.

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Its a bad idea. By doing it in person your just increasing their workload and refusing to use the recruitment procedure they set. Imagine if all the applicants handed everything in person?

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    -1 I am imagining a world where everyone meets each other and gets a good feeling prior to an interview... that thought does not support your answer. Please consider either expanding it so it provides more value. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 26 '12 at 13:50

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