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Dutchess_III's avatar

Should I call this potential employer, and what should I say?

Asked by Dutchess_III (26698 points ) 1 week ago

About 3 months ago I asked my attorney to let me know if she heard of any openings for a legal secretary. I feel I would really like to work in the legal field. Within two days she emailed me of just such a position. At this other firm the girl they have currently is a student and will be returning to school in August. So I called, and the head secretary asked me to bring my resume by. She seemed really happy to have it, and seemed happy that I was interested.

She said they would be interviewing in July, and made sure she had my number and email.

Well, it’s July 17th and I haven’t heard anything yet. Should I contact her, and what should I say?

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22 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

Definitely. I’d call and ask for the office manager and say that you were just touching base with them and were wondering if they have filled the position yet. Tell them you’re still very interested in an interview and would love to have the chance to come in and meet with them.

At the firm I work for, enthusiasm is a HUGE plus. I’m pretty sure I was hired on enthusiasm alone, because I definitely didn’t have any experience. They want to know that you’re interested in working there not just interested in working anywhere. Calling shows initiative – it won’t seem pushy unless you doing it often.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Absolutely. Contact her. Unless you don’t need the work.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Find out through you attorney, who the hiring supervisor is and contact them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I already did contact the hiring person, guys. I handed her my resume.

I’ll call.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why does this make me so nervoud?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The head secretary at placed I worked was only there to at for the hiring supervisor, like a partner or associate.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

You’re nervoud because you really want the job. Just relax and dance like nobody is watching.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Dutchess_III “Why does this make me so nervous?”

Any job search is nerve-racking. You have to put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and ask people to like you and give you a chance. It’s only human to feel some anxiety.

I wouldn’t call. I’d write a follow-up letter to the head secretary, on paper and mailed with a postage stamp. I’d remind the person of who I am – that she met me, and took my resume, during May – and that I’m still interested in the job. I’d also include another copy of my resume.

Just a few quick, polite paragraphs will work (I can PM you some sample language, if that would be helpful). The written word still impresses people; an actual letter, instead of a phone call or email, shows that you’re serious and willing to make a real effort.

livelaughlove21's avatar

^ I guess it depends on the firm, because that letter would end up in the trash here. Hearing someone’s voice is more personal than some letter. It’s a little old-school and might make you look as if you’re not “in touch” with the times. Also, it’s a lot easier to ignore a letter than to ignore someone you’re on the phone with. The best way to avoid being ignored is to show up in person, but then you risk coming in at a bad time and irritating them.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

^^^ A general letter, addressed to nobody, might end up in the “round file.” But, I can’t understand why a letter, that’s addressed to a specific person, would get discarded. Does your firm’s mail clerk really have the authority to open personal staff mail and trash it according to his/her judgment? If that’s the case, your office needs to put some new policies in place.

A phone call can be almost as disruptive as showing up without an appointment, and email’s too casual. “Old school” isn’t always a bad thing; good manners and a professional demeanor can go far. Sitting up in a chair, showing respect and attention, may be old school, but slouching doesn’t make one seem “in touch with the times.”

I’d like to add some more “old school” advice. If someone spends time and effort giving you a job interview, immediately send a thank-you letter. Again, it should just be a few sentences of gratitude, not an essay about why you’re so terrific and really should be hired. The letter shows good form and will be appreciated.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul I’m not saying the person would not receive the mail or that the person receiving the mail would not look at it. I’m saying they may not follow up. When you call a law firm, you probably aren’t going to get the person you’re looking for right away. If that person is busy, the receptionist will let you know, so you’re not bothering anyone. If they are available, you get the opportunity to speak with them directly. There’s no intrusion if they accept the call. With a letter, there’s no pressure to respond to it. There’s something very detached about it – what I would think was, “oh, this person was too scared to get on the phone with me, so they copped out and wrote a letter.” I say man (or woman) up and call the person.

“Old school” is fine if you have an old school office manager. Many law firms are very up-to-date and some have gone paperless. Most of the mail they get is junk. A thank you note after an interview via mail is perfectly fine, though I see a lot of those in the trash as well (then again, why would you keep them?). And sitting up straight is not “old school” – old school implies that there’s something more current that is equally or more acceptable. Slouching in your chair during an interview has never been and will never be acceptable. Not a valid comparison at all.

Coloma's avatar

Go ahead and call but, let me tell you, from someone who has submitted hundreds of resumes and applications in the last 4 years, it is the new norm to not hear back from prospective employers, even with follow ups. I recently interviewed a few weeks ago and the employer followed up with ME that very afternoon, said they thought things went very well, asked how I felt about the interview and then said they would call me for a 2nd interview the following Mon. Nothing. I followed up TWICE and it has now been over 2 weeks and clearly I have been blow off.

I am about ready to blow my brains out in this current job market. It is horrendous, insulting and degrading to get zero feedback or follow up. Pffft!
Good luck but don;t hold your breath. Is that cynical enough for you? lol

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Dutchess_III. The United Republic of Jellies has given you all sorts of thoughts and opinions. In the end, I know you’ll do what makes you comfortable and gives you a sense of resolution, whether good or disappointing.

Telephone call; email; stopping by; writing a letter; lighting up the sky with roman candles; showing up with a marching band. After 3 months, what do you have to lose by contacting this woman? It’s all good.

The frustrating reality is that it can be so difficult to get hired, something that usually has little or nothing to do with the job applicant. I don’t doubt, for a single moment, that the head secretary was impressed by you and happy with your credentials. There are so many reasons why worthy people never hear back. In your situation, the firm could have promoted from within, or it may have determined that current resources make it impossible to hire someone. Another possibility is that the job’s still available and no decision’s been made yet.

I hope you know that all your friends here are wishing you the best.

@livelaughlove21 ”[O]ld school implies that there’s something more current that is…more acceptable.”

Not at all. I think you’re using the phrase “old school” when you mean “passé.” Something old school has its roots in the past, but it’s time-honored, respected, and classic. When you refer to someone as being “old school,” you’re paying that person a compliment, saying that he/she has a long-established code of conduct and honor.

Read any advice tips, from the 1940s or 1950s, for a young woman seeking employment. She’d be told to wear a hat, have white gloves in the summertime, and make certain that her shoes match her pocketbook. That’s all passé. But, the advice would also include being well-groomed, wearing clean, neat, and appropriate clothes, being approachable but not overly familiar, and sending a thank-you note promptly. That’s all old school and timeless.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks @SadieMartinPaul. I just sent an email that said, “Hi Terry. I’m touching base with you for the secretarial position. I wanted to let you know I’m still interested and I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Val.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, there is just NO way to predict how different people may react to different things. When I was working, my co-worker and I used to exchange emails all the time, and we were only about 20 feet from each other, and in plain sight! Well, then I got stuck working in the same office as my boss. It was just the two of us. She had her own office. I’d send her an email. My reasoning was that I wasn’t going to assume that if it was quiet it didn’t mean she wasn’t busy. I figured she could read the email and set it aside for later, or take action then, whatever. It was meant as a courtesy to her.

One day she came storming out of her office yelling “Do you have a problem talking to me face to face??!!!” I was really taken aback and asked her what she was talking about. She yelled, “Why do you send an email when I’m RIGHT HERE?!”

So I apologized and explained my reasoning above and never sent her another if I could just go talk to her. Got fired anyway.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

^^^ You got fired because you tried to be polite and not interrupt your boss’s workflow?!?! Could anything be more unfair? All she had to do was give you some minor guidance and instruction. Instead, she acted like a sociopath. Good riddance; you don’t need such people in your life.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul It wasn’t just that. I was sick in November of 2012. Hospitalized for two weeks with walking pneumonia. I lost consciousness for two days. As a result of everything I suffered some memory loss…I couldn’t remember much of anything from Sept or Oct or the first two weeks of November. Well, my husband shared every little detail with my boss. She came to the conclusion that I had permanent brain damage, and treated me accordingly. She’d take things that I did, such as the email thing, and would imagine that I was doing that because I was stupid and brain damaged. Took 4 months, but I could tell from the first day back what was going to happen. It was so obvious.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

^^^ She didn’t just act like a sociopath, she was sociopathic. I would say that your stupidity and brain damage are on par with those of Hillary Clinton.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why thank you very much! :D Yeah. She was pretty damn dumb IMO. Computers scared her…and I’d make them dance. She didn’t like that.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul I’ve never heard anyone use the term old school as a compliment. I think the last time I heard someone use it, it was in reference to someone having a home phone and no cell phone – it wasn’t meant as a compliment. But oh well. Not my potential job opportunity, not my call.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I’m depressed. It’s noon and I haven’t heard back. :(

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I called her today. They hired a legal secretary from Ark City. She’s starting this week. :(

@Dan_Lyons I danced like no one was looking and she screamed at me to put my clothes back on!

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