Name That Contact

A job seeker in my network told me a quick story last week about how he got a hiring manager’s attention. Get ready for this show stopping strategy! He used the man’s name. Ground breaking stuff. He saw the gentleman’s business card on the table he was standing beside for a job fair and actually called him by his name. The man was caught off guard and asked how Butch, my contact, knew who he was. Butch explained he saw the business card and assumed it belonged to him. The man smiled and a friendly conversation was born. Considering Butch addressing him by name threw him off, it stands to reason Butch was the only job seeker out of the 500 who attended the same event to show enough consideration to personalize his message.

Though I blogged about this ages ago, Butch’s story brought home the potential value in bringing the topic up again. Folks, the best way to show a genuine interest in and respect for someone is to use his name. Whether or not it’s appropriate to be familiar to the point of using his first name depends on the situation, but the point still stands people love to hear their names. On a conscious and subconscious level, people want the courtesy of being recognized as more than a body in a suit or a “to whom it may concern.”

Some will say names are hard to come by. Though I’ll concede there may be occasions when that’s the case, the internet age and the disappearance of the gate keeper receptionist has made that less likely. The problem tends to rest more with not bothering to care to address people politely. I get emails and calls frequently where my name is never mentioned. These are people who I know are aware of my name. Though it sounds nit picky, I’m here to tell you  it’s rude. I don’t get upset about it and I can’t say I specifically notice when someone neglects to use my name. What I do notice is when someone does because it’s outside the norm.

If the goal of the job seeker is truly to be viewed as a unique person and not just ink on a piece of paper, doesn’t it seem wise to lead by example and treat those whose attention is craved as the individuals they are? Butch shouldn’t have been the only one to use that hiring manager’s name that day. I wonder if he’s the only one the owner of the company invited to follow-up with him directly after the event? If we’re placing bets, I know where my dollar is going.