A reader writes:
About two and a half weeks ago, I submitted my application for a customer service position at a company that I really admire. It’s the kind of company that seems altruistic in its business practices, and besides the perks the company describes for this position, I feel as though at the end of the workday I’d feel good just doing the work itself.
A little over a week after I submitted my application (and after hurricane Sandy raged through the area), I noticed that a member of the hiring team visited my Linkedin.com profile. I didn’t receive an email or phone call, so after another week had passed, I reached out to him personally through Linkedin Inmail and formally introduced myself, stated that I was still interested in the position (mentioning that I understood that after Sandy businesses were still trying to get back into their workflow), and offered to meet for a cup of coffee or maybe an interview so that we could discuss why the company and I would be a good fit.
A few days later, that same recruiter visited my page again. It’s been a couple days since he viewed my profile, and I still haven’t heard anything. I’m no stalker or try hard, and the last thing I want to do is give off the impression that I’m desperate. I truly feel as though getting this job would be a career changer for me, and I know based on my experience, skills, and what the company says its looking for that I would be a great asset to the company.
My question is, how persistent should I be in trying to secure an interview with this company? Common sense tells me not to call or email every day (I’d hate it if someone did it to me), so that’s not a concern. Does an email a week sound reasonable? Should I switch up tactics and contact another employee to see if I can secure an interview that way? Or should I just sit on my hands and wait? If so, how long?
I guess I’m trying to find that fine line between admirable and annoying persistence.
For most hiring managers, there’s no such thing as admirable persistence. Unless you’re in sales, we’re not making interviewing or hiring decisions based on who is or isn’t persistent. We’re making those decisions based on who’s most qualified, and one has nothing to do with the other.
That means that an email a week is way too much. After applying for a job, you can reach out by email once … although many hiring managers, myself included, feel that even that is unnecessary and slightly annoying. After your one email follow-up — which I don’t even recommend unless you can’t control yourself from doing something — do not continue to follow up. At that point, you’ll have expressed interest twice (your initial application and your follow-up). They know you’re interested. If they want to talk to you, they’ll contact you.
You cannot make them contact you by repeatedly asking them to, and if you try that, you’ll annoy them — just like you’d annoy anyone by making repeated overtures without an expression of interest in return. (And the hiring rep’s visit to your LinkedIn page wasn’t an overture back. It was simply a “let me see who this guy is.”)
And no, do not start contacting other employees. You’ve contacted their hiring team twice now. If you start contacting others trying to find another way in the door, you risk looking overly aggressive and like you don’t respect their decision-making process (which, uh, you don’t, apparently), and you risk alienating them completely.
Again, employers aren’t looking for candidates who stand out by being persistent (except in the sales field). They’re just not. They’re looking for the strongest candidates, the ones who show the strongest track record of excelling at what they need … and that’s something your resume and cover letter will convey, not your follow-ups.