Job Search Lessons From "Wall Street"
by Scott Brown
Job Search Handbook
One common theme that seems to keep recurring during the course of a job search
is that of starting to view people in corporations as inhuman and just part of
a system. This is largely driven by overworked people in corporate H.R. departments
who are expected to deal with massive volumes of candidates and to be able to
screen applicants they're not really qualified to make judgments on.
This is a big part of the reason why H.R. people are often curt or have a bad attitude
when you talk to them on the phone or meet with them in person. There is also the psychological phenomenon of people treating others the way they are treated.
Companies often treat H.R. people poorly: they're the last to get new computers, have the smallest budget, and are usually regarded as just being a necessary evil within the company. Human Resource departments were originally called "Personnel" departments, but the name was changed in an effort to help them gain more respect as being an important asset within the company. Unfortunately, the name change alone did not make a difference.
Why point all this out?
Because as a job seeker, you are in large measure selling yourself to these people. They are your customers. Any good salesperson understands that knowing the customer is critical to persuading them to make a purchase.
Sure, the ultimate customer is the hiring manager who you would end up working for. But the H.R. department is often an intermediary customer who you need to persuade first in order to meet with the hiring manager. Sometimes, you may have to talk to an H.R. person several times before getting a chance to interview with the company. It's easy to fall into the trap of treating H.R. people as if they were just inhuman and a part of the system.
A good example of someone realizing that a human touch could make a big difference can be seen in the character of Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, in the movie Wall Street.
In the movie, Fox is an entry-level sales rep at a brokerage firm. He and his co-workers are told it's all a numbers game, and that they should pick prospects out of the phone book based on their zip code, and give them a standard sales pitch.
Sheen's character realizes, however, that a personal relationship with a big player could really skyrocket his career.
The biggest figure on Wall Street is a tycoon named Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. Just about everyone on Wall Street wants to do business with him. Against the odds, Bud
Fox undertakes an effort to establish a relationship with Gekko's secretary so that he can eventually get a meeting with Gekko.
After a couple of months, he's established a flirting relationship with Gekko's secretary, teasing her about the idea of their getting married, and on Gekko's birthday, he shows up at their office with a box of Cuban cigars, which he knew Gekko liked from an article in Forbes magazine.
This personal touch of remembering something Gekko liked, combined with the fact that he had established a relationship with Gekko's secretary, got him a meeting with the biggest star on Wall Street and a chance at making millions.
It all came from Fox's realization that relationships and treating people well were an important part in being successful.
If you haven't seen the movie Wall Street, I'd definitely recommend it. Maybe it will inspire you with ideas about how you can land the kind of job you want. Dealing with people who are stressed out - like H.R. people or secretaries for busy business people - is not easy. But a combination of persistence and humanity can work wonders!
�2005 by Scott Brown. All rights reserved.
Scott Brown is the author of the Job Search Handbook - http://www.JobSearchHandbook.com.
As the editor of HireSites.com's weekly newsletter, Scott has written many articles on the subject of job searching. He wrote the Job Search Handbook to provide job seekers with a complete yet easy to use guide to finding a job effectively.
To download your own free copy of the Job Search Handbook, visit http://www.JobSearchHandbook.com.