I recently had someone reach out to me on LinkedIn and ask about getting their foot in the door at the company I work for. My first instinct was to cringe- admitting you just want to get your foot in the door seemed to me like a well-known job search faux pas. My second instinct, being the curious little Junior Recruiter I am, was to reach out to other, more experienced recruiters for their take.
Step 1) Shoot out a tweet. Step 2) Email my coworker/mentor. Step 3) Post the question in the recruiting section of Quora.
The answers I got were pretty close to what I expected, but it was good to hear several perspectives in different words.
Tracy, a DC recruiter who responded to my Quora post, said that using the phrase is not the kiss of death, but if you can’t demonstrate your value the position at stake, your chances are “slim to none of getting hired.”
Pete, my work supervisor, said “I don’t think it’s the kiss of death per se, but it does set the wrong tone with a recruiter. One of the metrics that some recruiting teams are judged by is quality of hire, and tenure of hired employees can factor into that metric. Additionally, recruiters (and to a greater extent, hiring managers) don’t want someone who will come in and only give them 6 months until they can move into another role. Now if someone is talking about getting a foot in the door in a certain field, that can show some good willingness to “pay their dues” and display their moxie for going after something that they want.
Pete’s recommendation: that “candidates use this [phrase] sparingly in their job search conversations. Alternatively, they could offer that they are ‘interested in taking an entry level spot to learn the business from the ground up.’” Nice wording, Pete!
My advice: steer clear of the phrase since it has negative connotations for recruiters. As Pete said, you can still address the issue, but in less loaded terms.
As for taking a position just to get your foot in the door: think carefully before you do so. I wouldn’t take a job that I knew I wasn’t a fit for or wouldn’t like just to get into a company. If you’re unqualified or unhappy in a position, your chances of transfer or promotion aren’t high. As I’ve said before, there is a fine line between being flexible and being desperate, so don’t take a position you have no interest in (obviously there are exceptions to this in some cases).
That being said, switching departments does happen and I’m a perfect example of it. I realized throughout the duration of my internship that I wasn’t a fit for the research department, so I chose to transfer to the recruiting department. Luckily, I work for a company that values my happiness at work and was willing to help me achieve it.
The bottom line is that you can never bank on getting transferred. Take a job that you will like (if not love!) at a company that values your happiness and cross the bridge of transferring if and when you get to it.