BLUF: Is it wise to begin a marketing campaign of past colleagues to contact the hiring manager on one's behalf before having the initial screening interview?

I was notified on Monday that my position was being eliminated (no big surprise) but I was given the choice of taking a demotion back to what I was doing before I landed the manager gig or taking the severance package.  I took the demotion but wasn't terribly thrilled about it as a concept. 

On Tuesday morning (July 14) I checked the internal/external career site and applied for a position with another group (customer service) as a Relationship Manager (an elite customer service type of position) that was posted on July 10 (last Friday) as the same pay grade as I'm currently at.

This morning, a colleague of mine gave me advice that our former executive gave her -- that I should request recommendations to the hiring manager of various former managers of mine and colleagues (at the manager level) that I've worked with.  The recommendation is that I contact these people ASAP and ask them (if they're comfortable) to email the hiring manager on my behalf BEFORE I've even had a chance to do the initial phone screening with the Recruiter.

I'm meeting with the recruiter this afternoon at 3pm for 30 mins to discuss the position and my qualifications.  According to my colleague and former executive, I should be in contact with my former direct managers and colleagues at a managerial level to email the hiring manager NOW rather than waiting to even speak with that person, let alone the recruiter first.

To my way of thinking, "if I can't land the job on my own merits, I don't think a marketing campaign will help / look good" but then again that executive is quite the political animal.  On the other hand, right now isn't the time to let pride stand in the way!

What are your thoughts? 

jhbchina's picture


First, I am sorry to hear the news, and it sound like you have the right attitude. The advise you were given is dead on.

I would try to limit the number of people lobbying on your behalf to the three best contacts with the best relationship with the hiring manager.

When you contact them, tell them your status and what they think you need to do next. Give them the chance to offer assistance first. If they are hesitant, then ask them to email the hiring manager.

You may not like this part either, however it does help. Be prepared to send them a thank you letter with your own written recommendation letter for them to edit. In the past, when I asked for letters of recommendations, most managers say yes, and a month later you are still asking for the letter. In one case, I had a manager say to me "Write what you want me to say, and I'll edit it to my style." From that point on, when I ask for a letter of recommendation, I always offer to write it and forward it to them for their approval. Most are very happy to do it this way for it saves them a bunch of time. In the end I have strong recommendation letters too. You might not like this, but if your competition is doing it and you want to get the position, you need to choose if you are comfortable doing this.

Finally, the more referrals you have for the position, the more likely you will be the lead candidate for the position. Go for it and good luck.