Job Seekers: Be Persistent, but Don’t Cross the Line

(Photo by David Davies at

A veteran recently told me, "I think this particular hiring manager is avoiding me. A week ago, I had a great interview and she seemed happy with my resume, but now she won't respond to my emails or calls."

What he said next was alarming -- "I email her every morning, ping her on LinkedIn every day and I even parked outside the office to see if I can catch her leaving work. I just need to speak with her about getting me hired."

Wait! While job seekers should show passion and clearly demonstrate excitement over a potential job, there is a fine line between being persistent ... and stalking. No hiring manager wants to feel pressured toward a candidate, especially from said job seeker.

Using social media, you can find out a lot about a person -- from what online platforms they prefer, to where they live and where their kids go to school. Using this information to act overly aggressive toward a hiring manager will make them fearful.

To show persistence and keep your name in front of employers (without crossing the line), consider the following:

  1. Ask the hiring manager to connect on LinkedIn. Send a personalized note, reminding them how you met, what you discussed and other connections that may help them recall who you are. Hiring managers meet a lot of candidates in a day, so you should use your connection request to remind them of your personal brand and offer.
  2. Don't send a Facebook invitation to a hiring manager or recruiter. Facebook is a social and fun platform. While hiring managers might look at your Facebook profile and timeline, asking them to be "your friend" could come across as presumptuous.
  3. Use email to communicate, focusing on concise and useful information. If you are following up on an interview, get to the point quickly. If you are sending additional information as a follow-up, state that in the subject line. If the point of the email is to remind them that you are interested in the position, then add bullet points reminding them of your experience, value proposition and qualifications for the position.
  4. Use the phone to communicate. Phone calls can be disruptive to one's busy day, so have your message and objective in mind before you call. Remind them who you are, the position you are applying for and then get to your question or comment. Do you now have references that you were asked to provide? Think about your expected outcome from the call and whether you want to set another meeting. Remain open to having small talk, too. Some hiring managers enjoy a friendly chat before talking business. Listen for cues in those first seconds of the call to see whether you should go straight into the purpose of your call, or if spending a few minutes talking about the weather, vacations and family will build rapport.
  5. Don't forget snail mail. Have you found a great article or reference materials you think the hiring manager would enjoy? Send it by postal mail instead of email. Anything you mail should be inexpensive (i.e., don't send an expensive book you mentioned in your interview). One candidate told me he sent a bouquet of flowers as a "thank you" to a female recruiter once, and her husband became very upset. It crossed the line. Job seeking is a professional process.

It can feel frustrating when the hiring manager is not on the same timeline as the job seeker. To the job seeker, urgency and anxiousness are a part of daily life. Hiring managers are looking for qualified candidates who will share the values and commitment of the company. Every step of the hiring process is critical -- from resume, to interview, to follow-up.

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