A reader writes:
Yours is the first advice I have ever come across in job searching literature, dictating that that the job seeker should NOT end a cover letter with a promise to call in a few days and schedule a time to meet. Most of the books and articles I have read on this subject state that this is exactly what one ought to do.
Having received an annoyed response from employers when I have occasionally tried to “stay in the driver’s seat” like that, your advice does intuitively make sense. Do you have any speculation on why most interviewing and job seeking books out there would push this approach? Why do you think these other authors are so off-base? In other words, I’m wondering why the first time I’m hearing this advice is from you.
As far as I can tell, it’s a mix of the following:
- people giving advice on how to get hired without having any significant experience actually hiring someone — so they’re speculating on what they think might/should work, without any actual first-hand experience
- people who do have first-hand hiring experience, but from long ago, when job searching conventions were very different
- the fact that anyone can proclaim themselves a job search expert, with zero credentials that matter (but they do often tout irrelevant credentials, like having taken a resume-writing class or being a trained “career coach” — neither of which get you a nuanced understanding of how hiring managers think)
Of course, there are also hiring managers out there who give bad advice too — you can find hiring managers who believe all sorts of bizarre things (like this one or this one), and sometimes they share that bad advice with the world. But they’re less of a problem, because they generally have don’t have as large of an audience as the people in the categories above, since for the most part they’re busy managing rather than advising strangers.
But in all these cases, it doesn’t help matters that the target audience for job search advice is often anxious and vulnerable and therefore inclined to believe what they hear from someone who looks like an expert bearing help.
A better bet is to always ask this question before taking job search advice: How many people have you hired yourself? And how recently? The answers are generally pretty dismaying.
(By the way, it’s hard to write about this topic without sounding like I think that my own advice is the best ever and everyone else should be ignored — but I don’t. I just want people to evaluate advice sources before assuming that the fact that someone is being presented as an expert — by themselves or by a media outlet — means that they’re credible, because it so often doesn’t.)