Gatekeepers, usually so poised under pressure, have human needs just as the rest of us do.  Generally they are the Type B enablers of Type A driven bosses.  Gatekeepers receive more than their share of annoyance from above.

When you are dealing with a gatekeeper, you would do well to remember the following.

  • When you phone a gatekeeper, always ask if this is a good time to talk.  You’ll find 50 percent of the time it isn’t because he or she is either waiting for the boss or a priority call to come in.
  • Avoid calling at high-demand times.  Monday mornings, for example, are generally poor window to reach offices dedicated to high performance.
  • Listen. A gatekeeper can be your best source of information on a manager’s decision-making habits and preferences.  The gatekeeper may also give you important scheduling and availability information on the manager just in passing conversation.  Don’t overlook it.
  • Be specific in identifying yourself and your purpose in calls and e-mails.  These beleaguered folk have tons of information swimming across their desks.  Be precise in identifying why you are calling.  If it relates to a particular document, call it up on your computer before you make the call.
  • Learn who the gatekeeper’s backup is.  Generally there is one, and this person often plays an important role in absorbing overflow work.  I can’t tell you how key this ofter overlooked tactic is.

I have much more career advice and job hunting tips in my book “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door”

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