How To Reach The Hiring Manager Directly (Bypass Job Boards)

Have you been applying to dozens of job openings on job boards only to hear nothing back?

It’s a common problem many of my clients are facing.

A large reason for this is the massive number of applications HR gets. There are just too many unqualified applicants who are “trying their luck.”

It sucks because qualified applicants, like yourself, then get lost in the stack of applicants HR has to go through.

Also, due to the complexity of the role, HR often isn’t able to accurately identify who the highest quality candidates are.

Thankfully, my colleagues and I have found a way to overcome this. It’s so successful that we’ve seen it be used to get interviews at tier 1 firms such as McKinsey.

How do we do it?

Well instead of applying directly on the job portal and going through HR, we suggest approaching the hiring manager directly via their email inbox. (note, in this case, the hiring manager refers to the person who will be your future direct boss, not the HR manager)

This method involves a lot more work per application, but the response rates will be significantly higher.

Here’s a summary of how it works:

  1. Get a referral to the hiring manager
  2. If you can’t get a referral, find the hiring manager on Linkedin
  3. Use the Skrapp plugin to get their email address
  4. Email the hiring manager with some smart suggestions on their business
  5. Only after contact is established, send out your CV and cover letter to the hiring manager

Did you notice how at no point in this process, do you go through HR. That’s the trick. You’re bypassing all the gatekeepers to go straight to the final decision maker – the hiring manager.

Step 1: Get a referral

Once you’ve identified the job and company, try to find if any old friends work there. Get in touch with them to get you a referral to the hiring manager.

Time and time again, we’ve found that this is the best way to get in touch with a new company. Hiring managers always value referrals from existing employees very highly. It shows the applicant is resourceful and well connected.

If you can’t get a referral, you’ll have to use a more long winded method of getting in touch with the hiring manager.

Read on…

Step 2: How to get hiring manager’s email (if no referral available)

If you don’t have any friends who can help, use linkedin to find the hiring team at the target company.

For example, if you’re interested in a social media marketing role at Singapore Airlines, go to linkedin and search for “social media Singapore Airlines”

Linkedin will then show you a list of social media marketing executives who work at the company.

If you can’t figure out who the hiring manager is, try approaching any junior or mid level executive in the same team.

Don’t target senior directors as they’re often too busy to reply unsolicited emails.

In this case, the right person to reach out to would be Raymond Chua, the Assistant Manager.

Step 3: Get the email address

To get the target executive’s email, I use a Chrome plugin called Skrapp (

Install the Skrapp plugin in google chrome, by visiting their website.

Once you’ve installed the plugin, sign up for an account. You’ll then get 100 free email searches a month.

Once that is done, go back to linkedin.

Visit the hiring manager’s linkedin profile. With the plugin installed, you’ll be able to see a new button on the profile in Red.

Click that button to get the hiring manager’s email address.


Step 4: Email the hiring manager with some smart suggestions

Now that we have the email address of the hiring manager at the target company, it’s time to email them.

In your email to the hiring manager, do not immediately bombard them with your CV and cover letter.

Instead, give some smart suggestions to show you know your stuff.

Here’s an example:

Email Subject: Improving Instagram Engagement

Hello Raymond,

I’ve been a fan of Singapore Airlines’ instagram page for a while now. The beautiful pictures always create such a sense of wanderlust in me. 

Raymond, I’ve noticed that your team uses hash tags to broaden the reach of their posts.

Have you tried using Singapore specific colloquial hashtags?

I’m currently managing the social media account for IKEA in Singapore. I’ve found that using Singapore specific hash tags get less direct engagement (due to the smaller base) but results in more overall views from users in Singapore. This results in us getting a far higher percentage of our viewership from our target market (Singapore) which is the KPI we look for. 

Let me know if you’d like to give that a try at Singapore Airlines. I’d be happy to toss a few ideas out to you. 

In parallel, I also heard that Singapore Airlines is hiring a social media executive. Is the role still open? I’d love to hear more about it.

In the meantime, best of luck instagram hunting! 

Best regards,

If you were the hiring manager, how would you feel upon getting such an email? If it were me, I’d be awfully impressed. So impressed that I would take a phone interview (at the minimum) with Rachel.

That’s why such cold emails often result in outstanding response rates. They’re too impressive to turn down.

Putting together such an email takes a lot of effort. Fret not though, you can often re-use these emails for other similar applications.

For example, if you’re applying to a similar social media role at Citibank, you can pretty much use the same email with a few minor tweaks.

This method takes significantly more effort but it’s definitely worth it.

Give this a try and let me know if it’s successful for you. I’d love to hear from you. My email is

Meanwhile, happy job hunting!

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