When asked I have to say that the worst part of the advances in internet recruiting and information technology in hiring is in the sheer volume of applicants. Wonderfully qualified folks are often overlooked simply because they get lost in the pile. This has always been an issue in recruiting when the resumes used to literally pile up on a desk, but now they are everywhere and come in the hundreds into email inboxes and applicant tracking system cues. Certainly, the reach to find qualified applicants is greater, but this is in direct proportion to the volume that comes with it.
Therefore, the options for the eager applicant to be heard are limited. Calling in to confirm receipt of the application has been used to point where organizations build systems to discourage it and only the most advanced organizations have established systems for applicant feedback to advise you of your status and awareness that your application has been viewed.
One option that is now rarely used is what I call the Resume Pinball technique. This begins with an applicant preparing a professionally prepared resume and cover letter and mailing it (yes, like the U.S. Mail) to the senior-most person in the department in which you’d like to work. For example, if you what the IT job, send the resume to the CIO, accounting job, send it to the CFO, etc.
The resume and letter should outline your qualifications directed related to the role you are applying for and indicate in your cover letter that you have already applied through the applicant tracking system as required by company procedure. You need to state that you are sending this resume as a courtesy to make the CXO aware of your interest and as a convenience to them.
This effort does a couple of things for you. First, you have just separated yourself from the pack, second, if you have the qualifications, you have made yourself aware of the decision-maker or above in a way that is tangible. Third, you have made a good impression by going the extra mile in expressing interest. All very positive things.
What typically happens in my experience is the resume will now start rolling down the organization like an old fashion pinball machine. It will begin with the CXO, then to the Director, then to the Manager, then to the Recruiter, usually by hand, but often through interoffice mail. The point here is not that you need to have the actual resume move around, but to have your name move around. If the organization is worthy, they will share it with the above leaders and discuss your qualifications.
Good or bad, you have become a subject of a conversation and have you in consideration. This is much more than if your application was sitting in someone’s email inbox.
This approach is a hit or miss but does work and I have seen it work on multiple occasions, especially where the pool of applicants was large. At the very least expediting the consideration process; and all for a little effort and a stamp.