plural noun: gatekeepers
  1. an attendant at a gate who is employed to control who goes through it.
    • a person or thing that controls access to something.
      “the primary-care doctor serves as the gatekeeper to specialists”

You’ve handled gatekeepers throughout your life: Your parents from the cookie jar, the receptionist at the doctors office, the toll person who won’t let you go through unless you pay the EXACT amount of money.

Some gatekeepers you just can’t get around no matter what (i.e. legal and lawful gatekeepers) However there are other instances in where, if you are strategic enough, you can by-pass the gatekeeper to  gain access the person you would like to connect to. Sounds tricky huh? It kind of is.

Like any other job, a gatekeeper has responsibilities too.

Their job is to:

  • Provide limited information in regards to specific topics and questions
  • Instruct every applicant with the same procedures and processes when applying for a position
  • Comply with company procedure pertaining to hiring practices

Understanding the role gatekeepers play in the hiring process will help you create a  strategic plan in addressing the gatekeepers. (Yelling,  belittling or shouting at them will not win you points let alone get you to where you want to go…remember they are people who are just doing their jobs too).

Here are 5 tips to get past the gate:

1. Tap into your network. Who in your network of friends and family can connect you with someone they know at your target company? Find a contact who can help get your résumé out of the gatekeeper’s hands and put it in front of their face.

2. Research on LinkedIn. In the search field, type the company name to find the company page. (If it exist on LinkedIn). Once you find the Company LinkedIn page, see “how you’re connected” and  instantly see your connections to the company.

3. Make an ally of out assistant. Connect with the assistant and make them your ally. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: when would be a good time to call back? can you print out your note and put it on the gatekeeper or contact’s desk?

4. Get creative. Combine your resources together and mix and match some strategies to create different types outcomes. For example, (from Forbes) through the company website a job seeker discovered that the company supported a charity he liked, and was hosting a fundraiser. He went to the event and made contacts at the firm, who helped him connect with a hiring manager.

5. Accept when it is time to stop. After a certain point you’re going to have to stop because you don’t want to be known as the “annoyance.” Follow the rule of 3: If there is no response, it is safe to assume your message may have gotten mixed up in the shuffle. Wait a few days (4-5 days is a good amount of time to wait) before trying again. If the contact doesn’t return that call or email, wait again and then give it one last try. Like a date that starts to ghost you, if you don’t hear back again its time to move on.

What kind of methods and strategies have you used before or that you heard of?