Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Fine Line Between Job Seekers and Stalkers

     Follow up. That’s what most of us were told way back in school when it came to job seeking and positioning ourselves as must-hire employees. Follow up. Show the hiring manager you are interested. Make your name stand out.

     In theory, it’s good advice. But the truth is, it doesn’t take much to annoy a hiring manager – and if your name stands out because you are the stalker in a pile of applicants, the likelihood is that you aren’t going to get your desired outcome. Think of job seeking as being a lot like dating. It’s great to make your interest known, but if you go too far in that endeavor – you’re liable to end up with a restraining order and no goodnight kiss.So here are some general guidelines when it comes to communication and avoiding that stalker line:   

Phone Calls: Phoning a hiring manager to follow up on your application or inquire about an opening is fine. Calling more than twice, however, is unacceptable – no matter what your excuse is. Once you have confirmed a hiring manager has your information and is aware of your interest, give himtime to get back to you if that interest is returned.   

E-Mails: If you sent an e-mail to confirm your application was received, to ask about when interviews would be occurring, to confirm your interview and ask questions about that, then another 15 minutes after your interview to thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to connect and to share an inside joke from your interview, and another a few days later to ask about any decisions that may have been made – you are a stalker. You can e-mail once to check on your application (although, you should only do this if you have reason to believe it may not have been received) and once to thank an interviewer for meeting with you. Anything beyond that is crossing the line into stalker.   

Showing Up: Don’t. Just don’t.

     Think of two contacts as your general guideline. So if you phone once and e-mail once, fine – but don’t shoot for two of both. And don’t ever show up unannounced and ask to speak to the hiring manager. Doing so indicates you don’t have respect for their time and obligations.  Keep in mind that while this perfect job is your number 1 priority, a hiring manager is doing a full-time job, traveling, putting out fires and trying to coordinate interviews with others with similar schedules.  Your timeline and his might be slightly (or even vastly) different.

     It is hard not to hear anything back, but if you have already reached out and still not been extended an offer or asked to come in for an interview, it is best to accept that they just aren’t that into you. Don’t continue to waste your time or theirs. Instead, move on to the next opening and trust that your efforts will be rewarded in time.

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