The Baby-on-the-Doorstep Technique

Baby-on-the-Doorstep is a sales technique named after the proverbial "drop the baby off on the doorstep and someone will make sure she is taken care of" method of adoption. If someone called you on the phone and asked you to adopt a child, you probably would not consider it. But if that very same child appeared on your doorstep, what would you do? You would at least take her in and see to it that she finds a proper home. That is the basic premise for Baby on the Doorstep.

This sales technique is used every day by energetic salespeople who call on customers unannounced, in person—many with a great deal of success. Baby on the Doorstep involves some courage on your part since you will be doing what most companies ask you not to do: show up in person without a scheduled interview. But it is actually quite simple. You just pack up your resume, head down to the company location, and try to find your way as close to the Hiring Manager as possible. Ask if the Hiring Manager is in, state your name and that you have a personal package to be hand delivered. If the person is out, ask when he or she will be in again and call at that time. If the person is in, ask to meet briefly. When and if you do get through, say that you were in the neighborhood and decided to drop off your resume personally. State your interest in working for the company and ask if the person would schedule fifteen minutes so that you can talk further. Do not push for anything more than that. If you are offered time right then, go for it. If not, be willing to come back at a later time that day or later that week. Remember that you are interrupting the person's day and schedule, so take only what you are given and don't push for more.

Even though you are interrupting unannounced, do not assume that you will be turned away. Managers are not continually occupied with A priorities throughout the day. Also, you may be stopping by at a time when hiring is an A priority. So know the company going in and be prepared for a potential full interview. It does happen. The reality of Baby on the Doorstep is that you may only get one or two minutes face to face with the Hiring Manager. But that amount of time is sufficient for establishing yourself in their mind. Up to that point, you may only be a resume or a voice on the phone. Now you are a real person. Assuming you present yourself well, that one to two minutes has the same—or greater—initial effect as the formal interview, since you are being evaluated with very scrupulous eyes.

It's an aggressive technique, one that some may shun or shy away from. But if you are failing to get through to a company, this technique offers a solid alternative.

A recent grad used this technique to get a job with an ad agency in Chicago. He waited in the lobby with doughnuts to get the hiring manager's attention. Finally, to get rid of him the hiring manager offered to take a look at his work. Extreme? Yes. But sometimes the extreme measures are what will get you noticed. P.S. He got the job.