Identifying Decision Makers


Your most valuable asset in your job search is your network of contacts. Leverage your network to get in touch with the key decision makers with whom you'll need to connect.

Understanding and identifying the “decision maker” is one of the most important single task in any successful job search. Just so we are clear, “decision makers” are the people who actually make the hiring decisions. Finding these people within an organization could be easy or could take some detective work. Company size is perhaps the biggest variable that can impact your ability to find these individuals because larger companies tend to have more management layers.

What’s in a Title?

As you begin your job search, put some thought into what the title would be of your future boss.  After all, your future boss is more than likely going to be the decision maker.  For example, if you are a Controller in the accounting field then there is a strong likelihood that your future boss, or decision maker, would be the Chief Financial Officer.  Here are some suggestions to help you find decision makers.

Use Your Network

Your most valuable asset in your job search is your network of contacts.  Let me repeat – your most valuable asset in your job search is your network of contacts.  By leveraging your network and consistently reaching out to your friends and associates in your immediate network will dramatically improve your ability to identify potential decision makers.    Consider this– if you have just 100 people in your network and they each know 100 people, that could potentially give you access to 10,000 individuals.  Leverage this multiplier effect in your search.

Conduct Online Research

Company Websites– The first place to start your online research is the company’s web site. Companies often highlight some of their key executives on their sites.  Be sure to check it out because you may be surprised at how much information you can find.

LinkedIn– At the time of this writing, LinkedIn is the most widely used tool for online business networking and can be a highly effective for conducting decision maker research. Use the advanced search function to find the individuals with the right titles that represent the companies on your target list.

Jigsaw.com– Jigsaw is an online user generated directory of companies and contacts.  Members can conduct searches by company, job title, and other helpful classifications.  At last check, it is one of the world’s largest databases of up-to-date, downloadable contact and company information, providing access to over 25 million business contacts in over 4 million companies. Joining Jigsaw is free and it operates on a points based system.  Members share their contacts to earn points that act as currency to pay for searches.

Call the company and ask

Yes, that’s right.  Pick-up the phone and call the company.  Call the main number and ask to be directed to a specific department.  For example, if your new boss could be the Vice President of Marketing, ask to be sent to the Marketing Department.  If the company is small (less than 250 employees), then you may be able to ask the operator or secretary directly.  You may want to do some online research prior to your call.  Therefore, your call may only be to confirm that the contact information and address you have for the individual is correct.  You never know, they may be located at a different location than the one listed on the website.

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