Job Search Secrets: Finding the Decision Maker

by Melany Hallam

A friend of mine has a very direct way of finding work—and it doesn’t include sending out résumés. In fact, he’s never written a résumé in his life.

How can this be?

Well, this is how it works. My friend (let’s call him “Barney”) is a tradesperson. When he was first breaking into the job market, he would start by figuring out where the work was. Then he would walk on to the job site (sometimes borrowing a hard hat and strolling nonchalantly through security), find the person in charge and ask for a job directly. Barney would describe his relevant experience and tell the manager how he could be of use on this particular job site. It helped that Barney is very personable and has an instinct for the best way to approach people. But there’s a lesson to be learned here that could be applied to any type of job search. And that lesson is about finding the decision maker.

“Finding the decision maker” is actually a term used by sales people when working on closing a deal. But it seems just as relevant to a person who is looking for work—someone who is selling his or her services to an employer as it were.

Here are some ways of finding the hiring decision maker in a company and making a connection that can result in a job:

Do your homework—you don’t need to reach a large number of decision makers; you just need to develop relationships with a few important or influential people. Choose a small number of companies that are the best fit with your employment goals and learn everything you can about the people in charge and the challenges the companies may be facing. How can you help them?

  1. Get past the gatekeeper—this might be an administrative assistant or receptionist responsible for keeping the decision makers schedule, screening calls, etc. Being friendly and respectful with the gatekeeper may prompt them to help you by providing information and suggestions on how to speak with the big boss directly.
  2. Network your way in—if you know someone who already works for your dream company, ask them for information and advice. If not, try apps such as LinkedIn to contact someone who works for the company and ask them for an informational interview. You can get all kinds of tips and even personal referrals to decision makers through this process. You could also try joining groups in your target industry on LinkedIn, and use the custom invitation function in the app to send personal messages to potential employers. Invite them to a local event they may be interested in or an interesting webinar. Make sure you’re offering them something useful, not just asking for a job.
  3. Phone the decision maker’s office—try approaching them in various ways. You could phone the department you’re interested in and try saying something like, “I’m a little lost, and hoping you can help me find the right person to talk to.” Most people will want to be helpful. Another strategy is to call later in the day. Higher level managers are often in meetings most of the day and are in the office catching up on work later in the afternoon.
  4. Leave a persuasive message—using your research on the company, leave a voicemail for the decision maker briefly describing how you can help them resolve an issue they may be facing. Make sure you repeat your phone number clearly and tell them when you’ll be calling back. And then follow up when you say you will.
  5. Follow up—email and/or mail an introduction letter, résumé and proposal referencing your previous voicemail. You can even try dropping information off at the decision makers’ office—you might just be there to meet the right person at the right time. Just don’t turn into a stalker!
  6. Build ongoing trust—become a resource for the decision maker at your target company. Forward important or new industry information or share insights with them from time to time. It’s all about building a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship. Then when a job opening does come up, you’ll be the first person they think of to fill the position.


The days of casually walking onto a job site or into an office and asking for a job may be long gone, but Barney’s strategy of targeting the person in charge is still effective. Opportunities are out there; you just need to be aware of them. And one of the best ways to do this is through your connections with decision makers.

BC Election Jobs – Adults & Youth


Elections BC, a non-partisan Office of the Legislature, is recruiting election workers for the upcoming provincial general election.

The province needs 25,000 election workers to work at voting places all over B.C. The majority of these positions will work on May 9, 2017, General Voting Day.

Election workers are paid to attend training and receive a daily rate of pay for working. Most roles will earn about $250 for the day.

These job opportunities are a great way to get involved in the electoral process and obtain valuable work experience. Successful election workers are impartial, service- oriented, and able to maintain confidentiality. Positions are suitable for individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and experience. Students, retirees, and those just entering or returning to the workforce are encouraged to apply. The minimum age to work is 15 years, and applicants must be legally entitled to work in B.C.

For more information, and to find the contact information for your local hiring office, visit the Elections BC website at, or contact Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683/ TTY 1-888-456-5448.

Youth at the Booth

Join a new generation of election officials.
Learn. Earn. Serve.

Youth at the Booth is Elections BC’s program to hire high school students as election officials in the 2017 Provincial General Election.

Interested? We’re looking for students who are:

  • between 15 and 19
  • interested in community service, student government or service clubs, and
  • able to be work in a neutral and impartial way

Applicants must be legally entitled to work in Canada, have a valid SIN and their parent or guardian’s approval to apply.

Youth at the Booth participants will:

  • work as an election official at a voting place in their local community
  • earn at least $250 for attending training and working a full day
  • obtain service experience for high school graduation, their resume and post-secondary applications
  • learn about elections and voting
  • serve their community and democracy in B.C. by making sure every voter can vote

The District Electoral Officer (DEO) for each provincial electoral district hires election officials for voting opportunities in their district. DEOs will work with school coordinators to hire and train students as election officials.

Students who are hired as election officials must:

  • be able to miss school to work on General Voting Day (May 9) and on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of advance voting (May 3, 4 and 5), if working at an advance voting opportunity,
  • complete online learning (1 hour) and classroom training (3 hours) before working as an election official,
  • work the entire day when they are assigned to work (7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or longer), and
  • provide their own transportation to and from voting locations.

How to apply:

  • review the Youth at the Booth election official job descriptions,
  • print and fill out the application form,
  • ensure you have a parent or guardian’s signature, and
  • contact your school coordinator after spring break for further instructions on how to submit your completed application form.

Your school coordinator will either submit the application on your behalf, or provide you with instructions to submit your application directly to the local district electoral office on or after April 10.

Schools – For more information and to register your school’s participation, please contact Elections BC at or 1-800-661-8683. Once your school is registered, school coordinators will be put in touch with the local district electoral officer and provided with further information on how and where students can submit their application forms.

Please note:
You will be contacted if there is an opportunity for employment in your local electoral district. Submitting an application does not guarantee employment.

Not a high school student? You can still apply to work as an election official. See the Election Workers – May 2017 Provincial General Election job posting.

Applying for most healthcare jobs in Powell River- Tips


  •  Pharmacy and Lab jobs are under provincial jurisdiction, via Fraser Health Authority + maintenance as well:
  • Maintenance Employees are hired through Vancouver Coastal Health as well as all medical positions.


BC Minimum Wage to go up 50 cents on Sept. 15, 2017

In accordance with a commitment made in May of 2016, the B.C. government will increase the minimum wage by 50 cents to $11.35 an hour, effective Sept. 15 of this year, to better reflect the province’s overall economic growth and ensure all workers benefit from B.C.’s thriving job market.
The new rate includes a 20-cent increase based on the BC 2016 Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus an additional 30 cents. There will also be an identical increase of 50 cents per hour to the liquor server minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
The daily rates for live-in home support workers and live-in camp leaders, as well as the monthly rates for resident caretakers and the farm worker piece rates (for harvesters of certain fruits and vegetables) will also increase proportionate to the general minimum hourly wage increases on the same date. More information on these rates will be made public in advance of Sept. 15.
With this increase, the minimum wage will have increased six times since 2011.
Quick Facts:
The percentage of employees earning minimum wage declined from 7.5% in 2012 to 4.8% in 2016.
The number of B.C. employees earning minimum wage in 2016 was 93,800 out of a total of 1,958,600 paid employees (excluding self-employed).
The national average for people earning minimum wage is 6.9%.
Learn more:
To view the May 4, 2016 minimum wage news release, visit:
To view the BC Jobs Plan, visit:
For more information on finding jobs, exploring career options and improving skills, visit WorkBC’s website at:

Blog at

Up ↑