I recently ran across an article on the site Career Pivot about following up to get a job. There was a sentence in the post that said, “If you want to get the attention of a prospective employer, you may very well have to be a pest, a nice persistent pest but a pest none the less.” I get it and I completely understand why Career Pivot wrote it. Candidates want the job. So, they’re anxious and excited.
As a human resources professional, let me offer some advice. Don’t be a pest. Not even a “nice pest”. What you do want to do is be effective, efficient, and a good communicator in your job search. You want to follow-up and try to connect. But do not be a pest.
That being said, how do you follow-up and not step over the line to “pest” status? Well, here are a few considerations.
Remember the goal of job search. I worked for an outplacement firm many years ago and we always told candidates the goal of a job search was to receive multiple offers. The key word being “multiple”. That means job seekers should be constantly working leads – multiple leads – in the hopes there will be multiple offers. I’m bringing this up because…
Don’t put all of your efforts in one basket. If the goal is to get multiple offers, then candidates shouldn’t be focused on one company or one job. Yes, I’m sure there are jobs that you really like. But if a company isn’t responding, there are other opportunities available. Especially in today’s job market with record low unemployment.
When you go to an interview, find out next steps. Then follow them. I tell recruiters that a candidate should never leave an interview not knowing 1) when the company is going to make a decision and 2) who to contact with follow-up questions. If the recruiter doesn’t automatically tell you, ask the question. Then, once you know, do what the company asks.
Now, if all of these considerations haven’t convinced you that “being a pest” may not be the best approach in your job search, let me toss out one more thing. Do you really want to work for a company where you had to become a “pest” to get the job? Even a “nice pest” to get the job? When it comes to new opportunities, you should be interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. And if it takes pesky behavior to land a new job, just imagine what your career will be like. Enough said.
Maybe it’s just my perception of the word pest, but when you cross over to the pest category, you run the risk of organizations questioning your ability to follow the rules. This doesn’t mean you can’t contact the company or send a follow-up note. (You absolutely should.) Just be careful about going from appropriate job seeker follow-up to pesky candidate.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Austin, TX