The Ten People You’ll Meet During a Job Search

You must get to know the five insiders and five outsiders who will directly or indirectly impact every job search

It is 2:12 PM on a Tuesday when your cell phone rings. Looking at caller ID, you see that it is the name of a company you applied to a few weeks back. With a hopeful heart and a smile, you answer, “Hello. This is Kris Smith!”

“Kris, this Kellianne Harris from Bestco…you submitted an application for a position in our customer service group. The purpose of my call is to invite you to speak with us further… “

Arrangements are made to speak in about a week, and now you mind turns to what lies ahead. You need to become an expert on Besco! And on the ten people you will meet during and preparing for your upcoming appointment.

Who’s on the Internal Functional Hiring Team?

Important roles to understand from the employer side will usually include some or all of these people:

1. The sourcer: This is the person who evaluates and filters all the candidates, and provides a regular pipeline of talent for the recruiter to review. If you do have interactions with a sourcer, it is likely prior to more formal discussions with a recruiter, HR, or hiring manager.

2. Recruiter: Recruiters are engaged by the employer to find right-fit candidates for open positions, most often for higher-level or difficult-to-fill positions. Bear in mind if a recruiter is your main point of contact with an employer, they work for the business and not you. Their compensation often depends on the success of the candidate.

3. HR manager: HR managers oversee the hiring process and often take a more strategic view, ensuring a candidate is a good match for the role, the team, and company. He or she can offer insight on salary and in some cases will manage negotiations. They also make sure all employment laws are strictly followed. Depending on the company or role, you may or may not have conversations with the HR manager during the interview process, but he or she will likely support you from an HR perspective if you are hired.

4. Hiring manager: The hiring manager is the person who makes the final decision about making a job offer. This is the manager who will oversee you if you are hired. Most hiring managers are not experts in the interviewing and hiring process, but are strong operational people who manage their area of the organization. The hiring manager is likely the most important person to impress in the interview process. Since the hiring manager has the most riding on the decision, he or she needs to hire the right person.

5. Interviewer: Candidates typically interview with several people. An interviewer’s role is to assess whether a candidate is a good match for the position. Interviewers can come from the department doing the hiring or from departments who are the customers of the hiring department. Interviewers are often operational experts, so their role is to determine if you can perform the job effectively, if you are trainable / coachable, and how you might fit with the current group of people there.

Who are the External Hiring Influencers?

In addition to learning roles on the employer side, it’s also critical to know what roles exist within your own network that will best serve your needs. Some people in your global professional network can directly or indirectly help you in your search. To be effective, your network must have been built and nourished well before you need it to assist your job search.

1. Reference: Someone an employer can contact to get insight about your character and professional aptitude. Former colleagues, instructors, managers, or business contacts are often references. You choose the references you provide an employer, so choose wisely.

2. Recommender: With the popularity of LinkedIn, it’s important to have professional endorsements. These contacts offer their positive opinion about the candidate’s skill set within an industry. This person might also be a reference and a referrer. They must know you and your work well enough to offer a valid opinion of your credentials for a specific position.

3. Insider: Insiders are people who work for the employer who would be willing to speak with you about the company and what it’s like to work there (think an informational meeting). They help you to gain an insider’s perspective of the employer, the culture, the people, and perhaps may even offer your résumé to the HR department.

4. Career coach: Coaches work with a job seeker to understand motivations, strengths, weaknesses, and to help the job seeker create a plan to achieve his or her career goals. This role typically works for a fee.

5. Support/Advisors: A strong support system includes friends or family willing to assist with reviewing your résumé, providing advice, conducting mock interviews, and providing words of encouragement.

Every job search is different, but understanding the ten people you are likely to encounter will help you prepare for a better interview with a better outcome.

What other people/roles have you encountered during a recent job search?

I help job seekers, higher ed, and employment services connect people to better jobs faster. My company’s acclaimed career development tools, the Job Search Readiness Assessment for experienced professionals/skilled workers and Graduate Employment Preparedness Assessment for students/recent grads both assess and explain over 3,000 career and job search best practices. I also work with some of the world’s top employers by helping them get the most out of their talented people. My company’s extensive leadership development course catalog provides effective skills-building for everyone in the organization, from the new / developing leader to the seasoned C-level executive. My company’s coaching programs produce significant results in compressed periods of time. To find out more, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 215-942-0982.


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