Last week I received this request from my friends at Careerealism.com…
Hi Experts and Partners,
We are looking for feedback for our weekly Ask Our Experts post. If you have time, please respond to this e-mail before Tuesday, July 17th with your advice in 3-5 sentences.
This week’s question is: “What is the most annoying mistake job seekers make and what tips do you have for breaking the habit?”
Here’s how I responded…
Most job seekers forget that hiring managers have a lot on their plates. Filling an open position, no matter how important to the operation, is one of several things that compete for their attention. After a positive interview, many job seeker have unrealistic expectations about how quickly the process is moving forward. So while I encourage job seekers to follow up with a handwritten note after an interview, I also encourage them to not make a pest of themselves. If you don’t hear anything by two weeks after your note should have arrived, you might want to follow up with an email, letting the hiring manager know you are still interested. Follow up is good – too much follow up can be just plain annoying and hinder your chances of getting the job.
This must be a very real problem for HR and hiring managers, as the very next day, I saw a post on TLNT.com about the very same subject. Tim Sackett is an HR pro who writes a blog called The Sackett Project. Turns out that Time and I think a lot alike. Check out what Tim has to say on this subject…
The one thing that all HR and Talent Pros can connect with is having to deal with stalker candidates who are relentless at contacting you after an interview. The ironic part of this is that they are most likely following someone’s bad advice – usually a parent (“If you don’t call them, they won’t know you’re ‘really’ interested”), or a grandparent (“Back in my day we would go back the next day and knock on their door again to tell them how interested in the job we were”) telling them what they needed to do.
Even worse, many times they are following the advice of a Pseudo HR Pro who is shoveling out free career advice like they actually know what they’re talking about – until you realize they haven’t actually worked in HR since the 1970′s. For those of us in the trenches, having to deal with overly-aggressive candidates following up can be the biggest pain of our day.
4 Really Annoying Ways to Follow Up
So, here are 4 Annoying Ways to Follow Up After an Interview (if you’re a candidate, stop doing this!):
- Use your “inside connection” in my company to get feedback. Nothing screams cheesy more than doing this: “Hey, my uncle works in tech support; I’ll just have him contact Tim in HR to see how I did.” When this happens to me, I go overboard talking to the connection on how bad they did — so much so that we are actually rethinking your employment because of your relationship.
- Send a thank you note to me at my home. Yes, this has happened to me – and yes it was way creepy. The last thing I want to deal with when I walk in the door of my home is some crazy candidate from work. No, it does not show initiative – it shows your propensity to be a stalker.
- Ask me to be Facebook friends. Look, I don’t even want to be work friends if we hire you, and I certainly don’t want you poking around my Facebook page. I would rather you tattoo a picture of me on your chest and put it on a billboard before befriending me on Facebook. Don’t do this!
- Leave me a voice mail every day for two weeks. Again, this doesn’t show initiative, it shows desperation. Like the veteran running back who runs into the end-zone and casually tosses the football to the referee, act like you’ve been there. You can follow up once – a quick “thank you” and a “I’m definitely interested” is all that it takes.
Just use your common sense
I can’t even begin to tell you about some of the crazy ways that candidates have tried to stay in touch and get noticed over the years, but most bordered on insanity and just helped me screen them out as a possible selection. The ones who seem not all that interested are the ones I usually had to stalk myself!
I would tell you to just use common sense here, but that seems to be thrown out the window for most folks, so I’ll say less is more — and be respectful of the hiring manager’s time.
I found Tim’s use of the term “stalker candidate” interesting. I have just finished reading a Jeffrey Deaver novel about a stalker. Very creepy. Believe me, you don’t ever want an HR or hiring manager to think of you as a stalker candidate.
The career success coach is simple common sense. Don’t become a stalker job candidate. Follow up after job interviews appropriately – with a handwritten note to the HR and hiring manager. Don’t overdo it. Respect their time. Remember, filling the position for which you applied is one of many things they have on their to do lists. Getting a job offer always takes a lot longer than you would like. That’s life.
That’s my career advice on how to avoid become a stalker job candidate. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always thanks for taking the time to read my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
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