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Persistence is key in a job search, but can you take it too far?
A new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reveals that more than 65 percent of job seekers contact employers directly as a method of job searching. While this shows employers you’re taking active steps to find a job, there are some people who just don’t know when enough is enough.
You might be an excellent candidate, but become too much of a pest during the job search and HR will put you in the ‘no’ pile faster than you can say, “Did you get a chance to look at my resume yet?”
Here are three scenarios to help you identify and solve pest-inducing behaviors in your job search:
1. Message Monster
Frank has been a job seeker for about four months. While attending a networking event, he gets the business card of a recruiter for his dream company. Frank is ecstatic about the opportunity and wants to do anything he can to get the job, so he shoots the recruiter a follow-up email the day after the event.
The recruiter takes a couple days but eventually responds to Frank’s email and encourages him to apply. Wanting his application to be perfect, he asks the recruiter what qualities great applicants have so he can use them in his own application. The recruiter doesn’t respond for two days, so Frank takes it upon himself to find her on LinkedIn and message her asking if she got his email. She responds later that week answering the question and apologizing for the late response, but Frank’s desire for perfection drives him to ask another question.
After he sends that email, he thinks of another question almost immediately. Not wanting to forget it, he sends it to the recruiter in another email. Since she has been extremely busy, the recruiter doesn’t respond for a whole week. Frank, taking the lack of response as a red flag that he’s not being considered, messages her on LinkedIn, and calls the number on her business card to leave her three voicemail messages asking if she got his application and if it looks good enough. The recruiter, who was actually considering interviewing Frank, gets annoyed at his pushiness and desperation and promptly moves his application to the ‘no’ bin.
It’s not a bad thing to follow-up with valuable connections after you make them; in fact, it’s practically mandatory if you want to maintain the relationship. Frank’s intentions were in the right place, and he asked some great questions, but his impatience and self-doubt led him to continue bombarding the recruiter with messages, which ticks off even the most even-tempered people.
When messaging recruiters at your dream company, show your skill and passion in every message. If you bombard them with emails or message them with irrelevant/unimportant questions, it lessens your credibility in their eyes and makes you seem annoying. Not getting a response to your email is frustrating, but you must understand that the people you’re messaging are extremely busy. If you don’t get a response after a couple weeks, it’s all right to send one more message to verify it didn’t get lost.
2. Social Media Stalker
Stacy just scored an interview with a great company, and her nerves are starting to get the best of her. She receives an email stating the name of the person interviewing her. Determined to show the recruiter she did her research, Stacy looks him up on LinkedIn and reviews his work history.
Upon doing that, Stacy decides to go even more in-depth. She looks him up on Twitter and reads some statuses, which mostly have to do with recruiting trends and the like. She then finds his Facebook and starts to scroll through his profile — finding out he has two young kids and a wife with cancer.
During the interview, the recruiter seems very impressed with Stacy and the research she did on the company beforehand. But the tides turn when she brings up his two children by name and asks him about his wife’s cancer. This not only made the recruiter uncomfortable, but also it called for an early end to the interview (of which Stacy obviously did not pass).
When you get an interview, looking up the professional history of the person asking you the questions is highly encouraged. But when you get out of professional history and move in on their personal life, there is a big problem. Hiring managers like people to know a little bit about them work-wise, but move into anything remotely personal during an interview and the interviewer is left with a creepy, unfavorable opinion of you.
When doing research on the interviewer, it’s best to just know a little bit about their work history, where they went to school, etc. and only bring it up when/if it fits in the conversation you’re having during the interview.
3. Follow-Up Fanatic
Hannah has just interviewed at her dream company (flawlessly, she might add), although there is a hint of self-doubt looming inside her. She sent a follow-up letter the next day that reinforced the points she talked about with the interviewer, something she learned online was important in standing out as a candidate.
A few days pass and Hannah is anxious. Even though the recruiter told her a decision wouldn’t be made for another week, she felt compelled to send another letter after the follow-up addressing a certain point in her interview where she thought she messed up. A couple days before the date of the decision deadline, Hannah called the recruiter and asked if she got her follow-up letters and if she made a decision yet. The recruiter was irked but professionally reminded Hannah that the deadline has yet to come, and she will let her know if she was hired or not in time.
After hearing nothing a day after the deadline, Hannah wonders what happened. She travels to the recruiter’s office to find out in-person whether or not a decision was made. The hiring manager was caught completely off-guard. Annoyed that her daily routine was compromised because of Hannah, she tells the receptionist to send her home. Hannah doesn’t put up a fight, and goes home, where she finds an email from the company saying she didn’t get the job.
Following up is one of the most important things to do after an interview, but Hannah handled it all wrong. After the initial follow-up letter, her impatience drove her to send out more messages, phone calls, and even visit the interviewer in her office (a huge no-no), which caused her to seem desperate. Her insecurities about the interview made her feel the need to redeem herself, which only made matters worse. Even though the company didn’t respond by the date they said, this is common and should be treated extremely carefully — something Hannah didn’t realize.
After sending the initial follow-up letter, all you have to do next is wait. There’s no going back and undoing damage you thought you may have done in the interview — all you can do is accept it and hope the interviewer liked you overall. If the company doesn’t get back to you by the deadline date they told you, it’s acceptable to call one time a couple days after to see if a decision has been made; other than that, no calling is necessary. And there are virtually no circumstances where showing up to the company to meet the interviewer in-person regarding the decision is acceptable.
Doing these scenarios in your own job search might not only cost you a great job, but also some things could compel the company to flag you so you’d never be able to successfully apply ever again. When it comes to your job search, be smart and use common sense to avoid becoming an undesirable pest.
What are some other ways you can be a job search pest? Let us know in the comments!
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