what can I say to job candidates who are stalking me outside of work?

A reader writes:

I work for a company known for its unbelievable perks and benefits. Every time a job opens up, we get thousands of applications.

Candidates are becoming increasingly aggressive to stand out. Hundreds of them (literally) have purchased Facebook ads or LinkedIn promoted posts to get their information in front of current employees.

Others have taken to outright stalking our employees. I freelance occasionally and have a separate website for my freelance business. I receive dozens of calls and emails to my freelance number and email account daily from people who want to “chat about the open position.”

My husband — who has a different last name — runs a small retail shop. He’s had people come into his store and tell him that they did internet sleuthing and found out he was married to an employee of my company, and would he please pass on their resume?

I expect to get these messages on my LinkedIn or company email, but am I wrong in thinking that stalking me out and trying to contact me via personal contact info (or my husband) is way out of line?

Is there a way to sharply tell them that this is not okay? Normally, I just don’t respond, but I have to turn my phone off or it rings all day and it’s really annoying. Would it look weird to put a message on my freelance website that says do not contact me about Company X jobs?

My company is aware of this problem, and has said to forward the names of aggressive or alarming candidates their way to remove them from consideration, but it’s so common, I’m thinking this is a product of being told that if they just showed GUMPTION, they’d get the job. I feel bad for them, but it’s also creeping me out.

Yeah, this is out of line and you can shut it down.

You can indeed put a note on your freelance website that says something like, “If you’re interested in working for Company X, please don’t contact me here. Instead, please visit (web address for Company X’s job page).”

If someone calls you there anyway, it’s okay to say, “I’m sorry but this is my freelance business and I don’t take calls about Company X jobs here” and end the call. That’s pretty curt, but if someone is calling you after directly being told not to, curt is fair.

If people come to your husband’s store to give him a resume to pass on to you, he should feel free to say, “She really doesn’t appreciate people doing this, so I can’t take your resume.”

And yes, I think you’re right that this behavior stems directly from people being told they have to take initiative to get employers’ attention — and also from people being told (wrongly in most cases) that no one will ever look at their resume if they apply through normal channels and thus they need to find creative ways around employer’s own systems. I’m certainly sympathetic to people getting bad advice … but getting bad advice doesn’t excuse violating normal boundaries and forcing themselves into spaces and contexts that they haven’t been invited into.

{ 500 comments… read them below }

  1. Jesmlet*

    I would tell literally everyone who did this that it’s incredibly unprofessional, demonstrates an inability to follow directions, and that it’s a huge red flag. But gumption right?!

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Agreed. And I would be tempted to put on my parental voice, be very stern, and tell them that they’ll be taken out of consideration if they contact OP, her husband, etc.

      This is so obscene. I feel so badly for OP for having to even deal with this.

      1. Jesmlet*

        I was tempted to suggest that too but I’d be worried about the harassing behavior escalating if she said that

        1. Anonymoose*

          Why? She would be behaving in a way that is totally appropriate. There are no real consequences (yet) for stalking Company’s employees. Suggesting that they’re screwing themselves over actually seems more a kindness than anything. In fact, I would also put that disclaimer on the freelance website.

          Idiots, amirite??

      2. Julia the Survivor*

        When I was job-hunting in the 90’s the advice articles were full of stories about a candidate who did something like this that impressed the hiring manager so much they got the job. Sounds like those stories are still out there.

    2. DecorativeCacti*

      Right? “I’m sorry, but applications are only accepted by going to the company website. Contacting (stalking and harassing) myself or any other employees outside of the website may render you ineligible for employment.”

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        The company should really put a disclaimer like this on their website. It might deter a few people, maybe. But probably not most people, sadly.

        1. Caramel & Cheddar*

          It seems like it would also be of use to give employees some company-sanctioned responses to this sort of thing, i.e. “We know you’re going to get harassed, so here are things we’re fine with you saying when people behave in this deeply unprofessional way”, if only to ensure employees don’t feel like they’re making the company look bad by being very straight up about this (which might be a concern for people who might worry their employment is precarious or they’re not good at being this forthright, etc.).

      2. Hey Nonnie*

        THIS should totally be the message included on OP’s freelance site. Let them know they are actively hurting their candidacy.

        I’d love to see hubby have some fun with them though. “Give your resume to who? She doesn’t work here. For what job? We don’t have any openings. We’re not Company, why are you here?”

        Or: “Sure, I can take your resume!” Then hauls out a big rubber stamp that stamps “REJECT” on it, right in front of them.

        1. Amber T*

          This is where playing dumb would be so fun. “Oh, you’re applying to be a cashier? You want to manage our social media? You want to be our bike delivery driver?” (Whatever is super far away from the actual job they’re applying to – if any of these are actually remotely related to the position, don’t even mention it.)

          I have a lot of fun (unprofessional) ideas for your husband in the return-awkwardness-to-sender category, which unfortunately doesn’t help OP that much. But yeah, this is awful and horrific advice. GUMPTION!

        2. Snark*

          Absolutely: “Please note: many potential applicants for LlamaCorp positions have attempted to contact me through this, my freelance side business. All applications and contacts regarding LlamaCo employment opportunities must be routed through the employment portal at www dot llamaco dot com/soyouwannabeallamawrangler. Please do not attempt to contact me regarding LlamaCo positions here.”

        3. Oh So Very Anony*

          THIS is my fantasy for hubby’s situation:

          Candidate: Will you please give my resume to your spouse?
          Spouse: Yes, I’ll place it here with the others.
          Cue: sound of shredder

          1. Free Meerkats*

            Sound, my hairy butt! Were I her husband, the shredder would be right next to the counter or wherever he sees customers and they could watch it disappear before their unbelieving eyes. And I would just hope it was on expensive “resume bond.” (is that still a thing? I haven’t job hunted in almost 3 decades.)

            1. Oh So Very Anony*

              I love your name! Is this in reference to critters you’re handing out gratis, or are you standing in solidarity for their liberation?

                1. Free Meerkats*

                  I JUST received a Luke Skywalker meerkat from that ad campaign I bought on ebay dot uk. It’s NIB and in perfect condition. I just hope the person it’s intended as a birthday gift for likes it as much as I do.

        4. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I thought he should have a paper shredder labeled with “Company X Resumes” and tell the would-be candidates to put them in there.

        5. Kelsi*

          I was thinking along the lines of “Oh sure, just put it here in the file with the others!” *holds out trash can from behind the counter*

      3. Snark*

        I’d take it further: “Harassing me through channels outside work is incredibly unprofessional and intrusive, and I’ll be working with our HR department to recommend that you not be considered for any position at the company moving forward. Goodbye.”

        1. Valprehension*

          THIS, 100%. husband should take the resumes and tell the person he’ll be sending their name along to be removed from any consideration. Literally tell all these people they’re putting themselves on the shitlist.

          1. AKchic*

            And outright refuse to give back the resumes he has accepted.

            Husband: *takes resume* “Thank you, I will forward this to HR with the notation that you did not follow protocol and they can add you to the Do Not Interview, Do Not Hire List”
            GumptionApplicant: “Can I have my resume back?”
            Husband: *slides resume into cash register* “No. If you’re not here to shop, you need to leave or I will be calling the authorities about your loitering. Have a nice day.”

    3. Language Student*

      Yep. This is way past “gumption”. Even if you’ve been told to show gumption you might, like, call or email too many times, *maybe* message on Linkedin. This is weird and aggressive and disturbing. I’m 20 and have heard tons of gumption-like advice – I don’t know anyone who would even consider trying anything like this. I would be tempted to straight-up tell them that the company is blacklisting everyone who behaves like this, so thanks for letting me know your name so I can pass it on to HR!

    4. fposte*

      I really like the “no canvassing” note in the posting that a UK commenter mentioned earlier today.

    5. pleaset*

      There’s a certainly a big continuum of different forms of behavior in this case.

      Emailing the freelance mailbox: annoying but not that bad unless the freelance site says not to do that.

      Calling: very annoying and pretty bad.

      Going to husband’s store: very bad.

    6. AKchic*

      I wholeheartedly agree.

      I’d go so far as to say that I would pass my unflattering opinion on to the hiring team about the *stalker* behavior and unwanted harassment.
      I think that if word gets around about how people are being shut down and how their “gumption” tactics backfire so spectacularly, it may actually work in LW’s favor.

      1. Tau*

        Although I can see the temptation, I worry this would open OP up for more arguing and bad behaviour from candidates – if they’re that desperate to get an opening, how will they react if they think OP is hurting their chances?

        What I could see working is “FYI, they really don’t like candidates to contact employees outside work and doing that could hurt your chances” while giving them the impression they can still save things if they back off right now and never pull something like this again. But then I’d feel guilty about forwarding their name to the hiring team anyway, and really I think OP needs to draw a very sharp divide here: when not at work, OP has nothing to do with $company, OP cannot help you get a job at $company, end of story.

        1. Kms1025*

          I agree with you that too forceful a denial could result in amped up behavior from the potential applicants. Just an I’m really sorry but “Hiring Company” does not accept ANY applications except thru proper channels.

        2. CG*

          Agree! I like the mental image of some of the things that people suggested above, but… it seems like a possible consequence of hubby being aggressive about telling people who want to work at LlamaCorp to f off is probably bad Yelp reviews for his store, since these people are already so far outside of understanding the boundaries of appropriateness.

    7. Leela*

      It makes me wonder what kind of advice these people were given and from whom. Unfortunately, new job seekers have very little experience in what is and isn’t appropriate, and employees who don’t move into hiring roles might never get experience in this area, so they trust the information that’s out there. My college career center gave me some HORRIBLE advice that I unfortunately followed: brightly-colored resume paper covered with iconography (it’ll make you stand out!), pepper your resume with buzzwords and phrases that don’t really mean anything “seeking to apply benefit, self-starter who works great in team or solo environments” etc, and high-pressure “HIRE ME!!!!!” tactics like showing up in the building’s lobby and pitching yourself to the receptionist without even looking to see if they have job openings, or finding out who is the hiring manager and guessing their e-mail by firstname.lastname@company.com (and all the permutations of it) to pitch yourself. Stuff that I would put a stop to immediately if someone coming to me for advice said they were trying. I don’t understand how career centers even get this advice in the first place; it can’t possibly be based on good communication with people who hire.

      1. Catabodua*

        I’m a listener of Dave Ramsey and he regularly gives nonsense “gumption” advice to people who call in a la “keep showing up, make them see how much you want that job.”

        1. Leela*

          boooo. When I worked in hiring (not recruiting at an agency), “gumption” was a huge turn-off. All it showed us was that this person doesn’t respect professional boundaries and would be a handful.

          1. Oranges*

            Exactly. I’m wondering why so many people don’t see it this way. You say “gumption” I say ignoring standard/other people’s boundaries to get what you want. Let me sign you up for all the “nope” I have!

            Full disclaimer: I am a female in tech. Boundaries are suuuuper important to me because reasons.

              1. MerciMe*

                Sorry, this was not sarcastic. Boundaries *are* important and tech is a challenging field.

        2. CarrieT*

          I feel like this could work for entry-level service industry and sales jobs, but not for anything else.

          1. BadPlanning*

            Yeah, if it’s a high turnover and they’re partly looking for warm bodies, then show up every day! Or I’ve been told that some restaurants are basically always looking for people but don’t want to post a “help wanted” sign so walking in and asking could be fine (assuming it’s not a chain with an online system).

            1. On a pale mouse*

              I work retail customer service and we’re pretty much always hiring. And even so, you have to apply through the website.

          2. Sarah*

            I got my first job at 16 because I kept calling back after the interview to see if they had made a decision. Literally, “FINE, Sarah, we’ll give you a try.” Of course this was retail at a fabric shop, so there’s that.

        3. Artemesia*

          This. It is everywhere. Ramsey if you can avoid his religious stuff gives good advice for working people in debt and trying to get financially stable but his job seeking advice is ridiculous (and it is rumored working there isn’t exactly a professional nirvana.) On the other hand we had lunch with my husband’s former partner who is still practicing law and he just hired someone who came in and pitched himself and showed gumption — so it works just often enough to keep it going as ‘great advice.’

          1. Catabodua*

            I actually know someone who worked there and she said it was awful in many ways. Let’s just say they win the Best Place to Work each year because they are ordered to vote. The beatings will continue until morale improves!

            He is very good at helping people handle their debts and finances, particularly those who weren’t given any of those skills by parents / schools / etc. But his job seeking advice and his investment advice is highly suspect.

            1. Specialk9*

              Oh darn. That’s too bad. He gives good get-out-of-debt advice, if as you say one can be overlook the super Christian stuff. But to be super Christian and a terrible employer is just disappointing in several dimensions.

        4. Kat*

          ugh, I listen to him too and he gives such BAD job advice, including “work free for two weeks”. I always shout at him and make my coworkers laugh at me!

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            Yes, show the company how committed you are it by encouraging them to break the law!

      2. AnonCanuck*

        Frankly, I blame the desperation caused by increasing economic insecurity and structural economic changes since the 1990s. When unemployment is chronically higher than it has been since the 1970s (except for relatively short intervals of a couple of years each, as in the 1997-1999 or 2005-2007 periods) this makes competition for jobs fiercer, and on top of that, increased impersonal gatekeeping (by means of fillable forms, etc) creates the perception (if not the reality) of having one’s application and resume filtered out without even a human being vetting the process.

        So it is utterly unsurprising to me that people think such extreme lengths are called for in order to “stand out from the rest” – and that some people think it’s actually good advice, as well.

        A lot of problems would get solved in about six months or less if a guaranteed annual income was implemented, but that’s beyond the scope of this blog, I think.

        1. Liz*

          I once applied for a job online, got a rejection e-mail within 10 minutes, then got called about an interview 2 months later.

    8. Totally Minnie*

      And honestly, if the company is rejecting people who use these stalking tactics, I’d tell these people exactly that. “I don’t talk about Company X jobs on this phone line, and the company is very strict about rejecting people who try to apply outside their official channels.” Then hang up.

    9. Emmie*

      Showing up at her husband’s business is alarming, and deserves an immediate rejection. That’s a huge, and scary boundary violation that speaks to the person’s incredibly concerning judgement. I’d report those people according to your company’s guidelines.

  2. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I would pass those people’s names along to HR to put on the Do Not Hire list.

    1. MechanicalPencil*

      There are so many red flags, it’s like a football game with the flag dancers on the sidelines, the refs throwing flags, people in the stands waving flags. All the flags.

      1. pleaset*

        If the OP’s company email is not online, emailing via the freelance site (which is presumably related to the same field) is not that egregious. It’s annoying, sure. But “Do Not Hire”? Really?

        If it’s in the same field, I don’t see this as that different than LinkedIn.

        What makes it bad is the volume of people doing it, but each individual shouldn’t be penalized for that.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          It’s very different from Linked In. The freelance website is there to provide a specific service and (presumably) doesn’t list anything about LW’s affiliation with the other company.

        2. Engineer Girl*

          The freelance site is for the OPs personal business.
          Email using the OPs resources for anything other than that freelance business is misuse of resources.
          It’s the same as telemarketing calls. Don’t use equipment I’m paying for to make money off of me.

        3. Hey Nonnie*

          They’re completely separate businesses. It’s not any different than walking into husband’s store expecting to drop off a resume for a completely different company. If they can’t distinguish those completely reasonable boundaries, then yeah, it puts their ability to function professionally into question. Do Not Hire is a perfectly reasonable response.

          LinkedIn’s explicit purpose is to facilitate networking. OP’s business website is not. There’s a clear and important difference between being invited in and inviting yourself in.

        4. ContentWrangler*

          I disagree. If OP’s company email is not publicly available, then it means that job applicants should not be trying to contact her directly anyway. Also, based on OP’s letter, it seems like she is not even involved in hiring or recruiting. So, these people have no good reason to be contacting OP specifically.

          And it is absolutely different than LinkedIn. That is a website designed for networking and applying to jobs. Emailing and calling her through her freelance lines shows that these applicants aren’t considerate of her time.

        5. Snark*

          It’s different than LinkedIn because LinkedIn is explicitly an opportunity to network. Spamming someone’s personal side business with requests not related to that side business is an intrusve, presumptuous waste of time. And every individual with the poor judgment to do so absolutely should be penalized.

        6. SheLooksFamiliar*

          Totally disagree with you, pleaset. According to the OP, the company has an application process that literally thousands of people abide by. The OP and her husband are dealing with people who want to bypass this process and pester them – and for her husband, THEY DO IT IN PERSON. This is beyond egregious and annoying: it’s willful disregard and blatant opportunism.

          So, yeah, ‘Do Not Hire’ makes sense to me.

          1. pleaset*

            I wasn’t commenting on in-person contact to the husband, only email the freelance website.

        7. Tuxedo Cat*

          If her email address isn’t on the company’s website, it’s not an excuse to use her freelance account. It serves a specific purpose, and it’s not recruiting for the company.

        8. Mine Own Telemachus*

          I work for a good, popular non-profit, and also have a decently large twitter following (in addition to being verified). I occasionally reference my day job on my Twitter, but I do not follow my work on social media, and I keep the non-profit and my personal freelancing work with a hard line between them.

          I don’t mind getting the occasionally LinkedIn message or email at my work address, as those are clearly connected to my work.

          I have gotten tweets and messages to my personal/freelance email about openings at my work, and I consider those incredibly inappropriate. Do not tweet me about jobs at the place I work as a day job. If our hiring person mentioned that person was coming in for an interview, I would bring up the inappropriateness of contacting me on Twitter. I absolutely consider it egregious because I specifically make a concerted effort to keep my day job and my freelance work separated, and connecting the two signals that I may not continue to enjoy the level of privacy I currently do.

          1. pleaset*

            “I specifically make a concerted effort to keep my day job and my freelance work separated”

            Is this clear to outsiders or just something they should just know?

            I only have a small personal Twitter following, but I tweet about my work sometimes and was not surprised the few times people tried to contact me in that way. Because there is a little overlap between my personal and professional social media, I don’t expect people keep a hard line and would not punish them for overstepping it.

            1. Mine Own Telemachus*

              It’s clear. I never mention my work by name, and it’s not included in my bios that are included in the freelancing work I do. I don’t give out my work email except as it’s available on the site, and I rarely link to things we do.

              1. Mad Baggins*

                I don’t know if it is explicitly clear though…maybe in the world of social media, anything less than aggressive promotion and begging for followers = privacy. I’m not super social-media-savvy but I’m not sure if I could tell whether you were intentionally drawing a line and would consider crossing that line “egregious” or just being discreet due to conflict of interest/other legal or whatever reasons and would actually put in a good word for a follower or someone else from your non-work network.

        9. Kali*

          I don’t think emailing the OP’s company email would be any better. They should be using the official channels.

        10. Susan K*

          I am willing to bet that these candidates aren’t just singling out the OP. I’m guessing this is a famous company (like Facebook or Google), and candidates who do this type of thing are contacting any and all employees they can find, by any means they can find. They’re probably spamming the personal e-mail addresses of 20+ employees, and after they leave OP’s husband’s store, they probably go out and stalk 5 more employees’ families.

          1. SusanIvanova*

            If it’s in California, like those two companies, I wonder how close these gumptioners are to running afoul of the anti-stalking laws.

            1. Stormfeather*

              I first read that as “gumptioneers” and now am mentally picturing a reaaally weird version of the Mickey Mouse Club.

        11. Totally Minnie*

          A, we don’t know that the freelance website is related to OP’s day-job profession. They could work in tech and have a side gig as a photographer for all we know.

          B, this is very different from LinkedIn. This would be the equivalent of getting a Facebook message or Twitter DM from someone you don’t know for a company you don’t have listed on your Facebook or Twitter account. It’s creepy and off putting and people shouldn’t do it.

        12. Spoliokus*

          That’s like showing up at an employee’s house to ask about an interview because you weren’t sure of the company’s address. Her freelancing website is not connected to the company in any way, so it’s inappropriate for people to be using it to contact her about the company. LinkedIn is for making general business connections; her freelance website has one specific purpose, and that purpose is not connected to her day job.

      2. Gay Drunk Patriots Fan*

        Thanks, I didn’t actually WANT to swallow that Diet Pepsi that was in my mouth when read that, I WANTED to spew it all over my desk laughing. Honestly, truly.

    2. Teal*

      Unfortunately HR isn’t going to reach back out to them and let them know what’s happened, so this wouldn’t alleviate OP’s problem.

      1. Brandy*

        Would it be wrong to mention that contacting her for the company would be likely to get them blackballed?? Maybe that would get the info out to job seekers.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Not wrong. I would tell them they’re going to get blacklisted (but it’s important not to give them an opportunity to then desperately try to lobby OP about why they shouldn’t be blacklisted).

          1. Julia the Survivor*

            If OP and her husband say they will blacklist the applicants, they have to actually do it.
            If they tell an applicant they’re blacklisted and then the applicant gets called into an interview, the applicant will 1. think they got away with something, and 2. Won’t take warnings seriously.

          1. Bee*

            I suppose the real concern is in finding language that literally scares off job seekers without turning off potential clients! But this is a lot of work to go through screening out job seekers constantly.

            1. Hey Nonnie*

              How about: “Freelance Company is not affiliated with DayJob Company. Any applications or correspondence received for DayJob Company openings will be discarded.” That should hopefully convince people that trying is a waste of time…

              Also, perhaps figure out a filter for your freelance email, to make sure applications for the other company never hit your main inbox. If you’re worried about losing some legitimate email, set it to skip the inbox and drop into a separate folder, that you can skim once a week or so.

              1. Rachel01*

                Like.. would a filter with auto response catch some of them? It would reply and delete so she never sees it.

    3. CBH*

      I imagine HR must have a system in place as there are probably many many employees that are constantly contacted the same way OP is. I do like that HR is aware of the situation and has a system (the do not hire list), but it must be tiresome from all company parties involved.

    4. PieInTheBlueSky*

      Seems like part of the problem is the sheer number of people doing this. To collect all of their names would require more engagement/time dealing with the issue than the OP wants.

      1. LW*

        Yeah, that’s the real issue. I used to reply individually, but not the sheer volume is overwhelming. I thought the people stopping in to my husband’s store would be a one-off, but it’s now several people a week (some from out of state!!!!)

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          That’s ridiculous. Totally inappropriate. I’m so sorry for you and your husband, LW.

        2. Detective Amy Santiago*

          Oh wow.

          I think a disclaimer on your site/a sign at your husband’s store saying “if you request information about working at company x, your name will be added to the Do Not Hire list” might help alleviate some of it?

          1. CM*

            I think it would be better for the company to put a disclaimer on their application website saying that it is the only method of applying for the job and attempts to track down employees to give them their resume directly will result in them being blacklisted.

            1. Steve*

              What’s nice about this is that it doesn’t clutter OP’s freelance site nor her husband’s business with weird, off-putting signs about an unrelated business, that might be off-putting to real clients of their actual businesses.

            2. Other Duties as Assigned*

              This approach was used in the early days of Saturday Night Live, when they ran a contest called “Anyone Can Host” that required entry via postcard. It was announced on camera by producer Lorne Michaels, who gave the mailing address. He also cautioned that if a contestant spotted any SNL castmember or staffer in public and decided to drop off their card in person, they would be immediately disqualified. It got a laugh, but I’ll bet it minimized the problem.

            3. Ego Chamber*

              This. Jesus. What is wrong with the company that this is a widespread enough issue for them to have a Do Not Hire list, but they’re only telling current employees that the behavior is unacceptable?

        3. Turquoisecow*

          That’s seriously crazed stalker behavior. The amount of research they must have had to do to not only find your name, but figure out that you were married, and then track him down.

          I mean it’s one think of you share a unique last name, and oh! there’s a shop in the same town called UniqueLastName’s Shop – maybe they’re related! But to go through the effort to find him, that’s just insane, stalker level behavior.

          Has he tried telling them that he’ll consider passing on the info if they buy something from him? Might be a way to drum up business. (I’m sort of kidding.)

          1. Hey Nonnie*

            Sign at the register: “Applications for DayJob Company must be accompanied by a $200 purchase.” :D

          2. Tuxedo Cat*

            I wouldn’t do the last bit- they’ll probably feel entitled to talk to the OP or get angry that they don’t even get a phone screen.

        4. OhNo*

          As much as I hate to stoke the paranoia, I wonder if job seekers are sharing this information with each other somewhere? The fact that this was a one-off that turned into multiple people each week (yikes!) leads me to suspect that the one or two people who might have thought of this on their own may have spread the idea around. Especially if your husband didn’t know how to react the first couple times, and the first few who tried it thought they had found the magic in with the company they were looking for.

          The reason I ask is because that’s something the company might be able to shut down at the source. Or at least it would give them a bigger reason to put some preemptive language in their hiring page.

          1. Aunt Piddy*

            I was thinking this too. LW should google her husband’s name and the store name and see if it’s being shared on job-seeking forums.

          2. Ego Chamber*

            “As much as I hate to stoke the paranoia, I wonder if job seekers are sharing this information with each other somewhere?”

            Alternate theory: LW should google herself and see what comes up. It’s possible there’s something online linking her and her spouse (like a Facebook page that acknowledges the relationship) and if the spouse is on LinkedIn or mentions his business elsewhere online, it could be really easy to follow the digital breadcrumbs.

            I’m not saying this isn’t creepy and inappropriate (it totally is!), but it might not require advanced sleuthing and an information network to figure out. And the company really should be doing something to shut this down, even it means posting on their official Help Wanted page—and maybe elsewhere online wherever else they’re advertising openings—calling out this behavior.

        5. sssssssssss*

          This would suggest that a number of ppl are sharing this information for a one-off to balloon to several folks a week.

          Who is sharing and where are they sharing it?

          1. Kelsi*

            Some kind of “get a job at Company X” forum, subreddit, etc? It doesn’t necessarily have to be repeatedly shared or even shared by multiple people, if it’s posted in some heavily trafficked place where people share supposed “ins.”

    5. Queen of Cans & Jars*

      If they’re fielding thousands of applicants, this would be a pretty easy way to winnow down the candidate pool. And I think that if word gets out that harassing the OP is a direct path to the reject pile, it would probably stem the tide of this type of obnoxiousness.

    6. Fake old Converse shoes (not in the US)*

      I’m afraid that these candidates need to be reported to the police.

      1. Julia the Survivor*

        They would call the police if the person in her husband’s store became rowdy, hostile, threatening, or if they were following her or doing anything threatening. Definitely.

    7. Artemesia*

      I’d blackball anyone who came into the husband’s place of business for sure. For those who email the free lance site — maybe not if they backed off when given the boilerplate response. Gumption is not all bad but you don’t want to encourage it, but seeking out the husband of an employee is wildly crazily stalkerishly over the line and I would have no problem putting these people in the ‘do not hire queue.’ Wow.

    8. PersephoneUnderground*

      I guess I’m slightly more sympathetic than most here- I don’t think one time doing this warrants permanent “Do Not Hire”, especially given the desperation of unemployed people, the cluelessness of recent grads, and reams of bad advice out there (including shaming unemployed people for *not* showing enough pushiness because if they really wanted a job they could *of course* get one, they just must be lazy… ugh).

      A refusal/ignore and a standard warning that applications/resumes received through anything but the correct channels will be rejected, followed up by doing exactly that, is all that’s needed (basically agree with Alison’s advice on handling this). I think it’s possible for people to buy bad advice and then wise up later- if they apply the right way, I don’t think being stupidly pushy previously should stop them being hired. Exceptions for people who ignore multiple rejections or requests to back off or otherwise stand out as particularly bad, then blacklisting is totally warranted.

      1. Schadenfraud*

        OK but that’s tough luck for the applicant – there’s plenty of other places to apply. Meanwhile, this “one time” behavior from one rando snowballs into constant harrasment via her husband’s business and her francelance gig, all by one time randos. It’s not just one person messing up once, it’s a pattern of behavior that needs to be nipped in the bud because at the end of the day, this employee is being harassed constantly by these would-be applicants.

    9. DaniCalifornia*

      Exactly. I’d tell them I would be happy to receive their information and then forward them to HR to put on the ‘Never call list’ This goes so far beyond “gumption” it sounds ridiculous. Anyone who would do this would probably not be an asset to that company.

  3. CBH*

    I’m shocked. I would have thought that keeping a distinct line between personal and professional would be an automatic given when someone is job searching. I’m surprised that a job hunter would think this could lead to positive outcome. OP Alison is giving you some great “comebacks” to deal with this situation. Hopefully people will soon learn to respect those lines.

    1. nonymous*

      I think that there’s this narrative floating around that knowing people through their personal connections leads to interesting conversations which can lead to consideration for jobs down the road. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen, but the interaction at a personal level has to be genuine. There are some neighbors I would happily recommend, but that’s because I’ve had the chance to see how they organize and carry out community projects, not just because they came up to me!

      And of course, applicants with an existing social circle of influences have an advantage. Sometimes those social circles are dictated by who the applicants’ parents know, or what socio-economic group they hail from. But if one is trying to maximize their encounters in networking-rich environments, why not leverage online relationships? The problem is when the encounters before the ask aren’t genuine.

      In the reddit cross-stitch sub, I believe the rule is that only 10% of participation can be an ask. So if someone is promoting their blog/video link, they are supposed to post at least 9 other comments/threads of similar weight that are meaningful to the community but with no gain to themselves. Even if 10% isn’t the best ratio for real life, it’s worth considering that 100% isn’t either.

      1. Clever Name*

        I apologize for the off topic comment, but thank you for mentioning the reddit cross-stitch sub! I never thought to look on reddit for cross-stitch stuff. You have made my day. :)

  4. MuseumChick*

    Dude, this is way over the the line and sounds very scary. Frankly, I don’t think your husband would be out of line to say to these people “Wow, that is really inappropriate. Please leave.” And if they keep trying to give him a resume, “No. Please leave.” No need to say sorry or try to soften it.

    I would also drop the “I’m sorry” from what you should say to people who contact your through your freelance work.

    1. CBH*

      I like your blunt and direct response of “wow that is really inappropriate”. It’s too the point and hopefully “shames” the job hunter into realizing what is acceptable vs extreme.

      1. Amber T*

        Yeah there’s zero reason for your husband to be polite in this situation. The stern “Please leave” will should really do the trick for most of the wackadoodles. And if he’s worried about scaring off customers… If I was shopping in a boutique shop and I saw someone walk in, demand to speak with the store owner about some job that was most decidedly *not* a job at this location, and the store owner said MuseumChick’s lines, I would not think less of him at all. I would feel awful that he has to deal with craziness (and clearly not for the first time).

        1. CBH*

          For some reason OP’s letter today has me thinking of so many scenarios on how to handle this situation. It seems like OP has a good handle on how to handle things when (admittedly upsetting) comes through her freelance website. It must be frustrating for OP’s family who are in no way professionally associated with the company. As stated above I like MuseumChick’s blunt line of “that’s really inappropriate”.

          I wonder if as an alternative, the husband can “play dumb” when these inquiries come to him. Something along the lines of:
          -you have the wrong company – I’m not desired company, my business is teapot painting -how can I help you?
          -OP and I do not have any business connections, sorry I can’t help
          -wow OP’s company is hiring, I had no idea, you should apply to their website
          -I have no pull or say at desired company
          -I don’t know about their hiring process but I’ve heard a rumor that when desired company is contacted through inappropriate channels, potential employees are blacklisted

          OP I feel sorry for you and your husband. I’d say follow Alison and Museaum Chick’s advice. You were hired at desired company for your job, not for HR/ recruiting. Keep us posted

          1. Penny Lane*

            Why bother to play dumb? Who has time for these games? Just shut it down. Why are people so afraid to “offend” people who are, well, doing something offensive and inappropriate?

    2. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      Yes, if I were LW’s husband I would be pretty blunt in my “wow, you are ridiculously unprofessional. No I will not take your resume, and be glad I’m not, because if my spouse had your name you’d be on a Do Not Hire list because of this behavior.”

      1. Clever Name*

        This would be my response. Just a “no” and “this behavior can prevent you from being hired.”

      2. Specialk9*

        “wow, you are ridiculously unprofessional. No I will not take your resume, and be glad I’m not, because if my spouse had your name you’d be on a Do Not Hire list because of this behavior.”.

        This is my favorite script yet.

    3. Just Employed Here*

      Yeah, and I wouldn’t want the husband to say “she really doesn’t appreciate it” about the OP — that makes it weirdly about the OP’s personal preferences, rather than about normal professional behaviour.

      I’d say “This is not the way to apply for a job at SuperCorp. Please consult their website for how to apply, and please leave.” or something like that.

      1. beanie beans*

        Or “This is not the way to apply for a job at SuperCorp, and in fact, will actually hurt your chances of getting hired there. Please consult their website for how to apply, and please leave.”

        1. Just Employed Here*

          I think the husband should say as little as possible about the hiring processes at SuperCorp — after all, he doesn’t work there!

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The “I’m sorry” certainly isn’t required, but there’s no harm in initially being minimally polite. If someone pushes after that, you can escalate in tone/severity of your response.

      I know some people think you should never say “I’m sorry” when you have nothing to be sorry for, but it’s a social lubricant that can make language sound less abrupt. And while she doesn’t owe these people non-abrupt responses, taking two seconds to make it so is not a major investment of energy or time.

      1. LBK*

        Ha – we come back to our philosophical difference here on apologizing. This one is like the customer service situation for me, where I think it weakens your stance to apologize when you’re not the one in the wrong. It frames it as though you’re guilty of something and, where the caller in this case has already shown a tenuous grasp on appropriate boundaries, I wouldn’t want to say or do anything to give them the impression that we’re equally at fault for this violation (eg if I didn’t want to get calls, I shouldn’t have put my freelance number up on a public website).

        1. Just Employed Here*

          Yeah, “unfortunately” doesn’t admit any guilt, so to speak, whereas “I’m sorry” does, albeit just a little bit.

          (I’m in charge of a customer service team, and I feel strongly that one should only apologize when one is at fault — but then do it really properly and clearly.)

          1. Ego Chamber*

            At my last call center job we weren’t allowed to say “unfortunately” because “it’s a negative word that automatically makes the caller angry and they’ll be planning their argument instead of listening to whatever you tell them next”—except every other year when they’d decide it’s part of “setting proper expectations” and then you’re allowed (and encouraged) to say it.

        2. Myrin*

          I always find the different takes on apologies so interesting because to me, this totally hinges on delivery.

          I “apologise” all the time in that I regularly use the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologise” (albeit in my native language) because I find that it makes conversation less abrupt and brusque. But my neutral voice is pretty loud and somewhat angry-sounding and I doubt anyone’s ever thought I’d admitted guilt to them when I didn’t actually do just that.

          (Then again, there’s probably a simple language difference with regards to this topic. It seems to me that “I’m sorry” is used as a mindless filler much more in my language than in English. In fact, you can actually say “I’m sorry” in a certain tone of voice to indicate that you’re actually not sorry at all, thankyouverymuch. Like, they’re the same words/expressions, but convey the polar opposite, which probably informs my take on this as well.)

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            It’s like on The Simpsons when Homer says “just once, I’d like someone to call me Sir without saying you’re making a scene. There is a way to call someone Sir that does not mean I’m showing you respect. There is a way to say “sorry” that does not indicate I apologize, I’ve done wrong.

          2. Yorick*

            I think “I’m sorry” is kind of filler in English too, and if it keeps someone from escalating a situation, why not do it? It doesn’t actually amount to an apology, and a sincere apology where you’ve done something wrong and take responsibility and make amends doesn’t have to include the word “sorry.”

        3. Aleta*

          This is interesting to me, because I’m strongly accustomed to both hearing and using “I’m sorry” as a way of expressing empathy for a situation, completely and utterly divorced from the idea of fault. When fault is involved it’s directly acknowledged – “I’m sorry, we actually need you to do x” vs “I’m sorry, there was a mix-up on our end, we actually need you to do x”. The idea that the first example would mean I’d be framing it as being guilty of something is actually really foreign to me. Maybe regional?

          1. LBK*

            I agree that in many contexts that’s what it means, and I don’t expect people to take it literally. It’s more about the subconscious tone it sets for the conversation.

          2. ZVA*

            Same for me. Most of the time, if I’m actually apologizing — especially to a customer — it’s much more detailed then just “I’m sorry.” It’s that plus this is how it happened, this is how I’m going to fix it, this is how I’m going to prevent it from happening in the future.

            But I say the words “I’m sorry” plenty of times when I’m not admitting fault. Say a customer calls and says something like “I just received my books and there’s something wrong with them” (I work for a printer), I might say something like “I’m so sorry to hear that” or “I’m sorry they weren’t what you’re expecting” — as a way to express sympathy and concern and that I care about them and their issue, not as a way to say “Yes, there’s something wrong, and it’s our fault,” because maybe it isn’t. In fact, I have to be pretty careful about prematurely admitting fault as this might cost us a lot of money…

            I get where those who say “I’m sorry” is “admitting fault” are coming from but I think the way we use those words is a lot more nuanced than those commenters are giving them credit for!

          3. Artemesia*

            Women use ‘I’m sorry’ to signal empathy and it gets interpreted as a way to assume fault. So it is riskier for women to use it as social lubrication in conflict situations.

      2. Antilles*

        In most cases, I’m firmly on the side of “never hurts to be polite”.
        But for the husband, showing up at my store to ask a big favor (passing along a resume) is *so* far over the line of normal behavior that I think it’s absolutely fine to skip that step and jump straight to the “are you serious? I’m laughing in your face because that’s such a ridiculous request” phase of the conversation.

        1. DArcy*

          If someone was literally coming to my unrelated business, I would be pretty overt about it,

          “Very well, I will pass on your resume. With my personal recommendation that they list you as ‘do not hire’ due to your grossly unprofessional behavior. “

      3. FD*

        Normally, I would agree with this, but this is a situation where people are crossing a boundary so completely that I feel like using “I’m sorry” is likely to be read as an opening. It’s not a hard no, after all!

      4. oranges & lemons*

        Slightly tangential, but it always bugs me when people say that women should try to say sorry less, with bonus points for the word “conditioned.” This feels weirdly condescending to me. It would be just as accurate to say that men are conditioned to be able to get away with rude and brusque behaviour more easily. (This isn’t to say that apologizing is always an effective tactic, but just that I don’t think everything that’s associated with women should be automatically suspect and in need of fixing.)

        1. Specialk9*

          Agreed. It’s not women who made the rules that they should be shut out of power systematically for millennia. Blaming women for trying to push around rules of oppression is fairly oppresive still, actually.

      5. I woke up like this*

        I also think softening his response makes sense if there are costumers in his store who don’t know what’s going on. If I were shopping and heard an employee sternly demand someone leave without knowing the context or witnessing inappropriate behavior, I would be uncomfortable and likely slowly head to the door.

      6. CG*

        Also, I’d worry about these folks leaving bad/false Yelp reviews for LW’s husbands store! They’ve already demonstrated a fuzzy understanding of boundaries, and he probably doesn’t want his unrelated-to-his-store interactions with them to affect store business…

    5. AdAgencyChick*

      If I were the husband, I’d probably just take the resumes and tell OP “here’s another name for your do-not-hire list.” People who are this determined to track down a potential contact probably wouldn’t hesitate to leave a negative Yelp review for the husband’s shop if he turns them down bluntly.

      At most, I’d add a very neutral, “her company doesn’t accept resumes outside of the normal channels, so you should send your resume in through the company website.”

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        You’re nicer than me, because I’d say “What makes you think giving your resume to a total stranger is any better than just applying online, the way the company wants and expects you to? What special treatment do you think you’re going to get just because you handed your resume to me?”

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          The husband owns the shop though. I personally would love to be blunt in this situation, but maybe not if it would cost me business — not just from the company stalker, but also from people who see bad reviews and don’t investigate further.

      2. Tuxedo Cat*

        This what I’m thinking too. People who are behaving like this are desperate, for whatever reasons, and I could see being unreasonably angry. I don’t think they have a right to lash out, but it is something to consider.

      3. Jennifer*

        Ohhhhhhh shit, good point on the Yelp. He probably shouldn’t actively have it out with any of these people for that reason.

      4. CG*

        I should read down before commenting a day late with “but Yelp!”…

        These people clearly don’t understand normal boundaries and social appropriateness, so yeah, I’d worry that he still has reasons that he has to be polite to them. Husband may need a sign or something that he can point to in order to minimize time spent on this.

    6. MLB*

      If I were the husband, I would make a sign the was short and to the point and attach it to a stick, then hold it up when someone comes in. It’s rude to hunt him down and they deserve nothing but bluntness in return.

    7. MuseumChick*

      Something else I just thought of after reading more comments, OP for your website some people down thread already mentioned stating something like “Please do not contact me regarding open positions at companies I am affiliated with” Beyond that, I would have a stock email ready to go for those who ignore that. I would make it pretty straightforward: “I do not answer questions regarding (company) on this website. To apply to open position visit (insert link).”

      If they keep going after that do not respond, note their name and let the hiring manager know they should be put in the do not hire pile.

  5. Snarkus Aurelius*

    I was with you on this being inappropriate and unprofessional behavior until I got to the part about your husband. I consider that harassment because it’s disturbing and upsetting even if you two did have the same last name.

    Not that this will make you feel a little better, but Google Avi Zolty. You’ll see how “gumption” and “disruption” and other meaningless buzzwords led this guy to commit a crime because he wanted an investor.

    I worry some clueless exec out there thinks this behavior is great and keeps rewarding it so you hear these one off stories and think it’s the norm instead of the exception to the rule.

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        I would have pressed criminal charges and asked the feds to see if a federal crime had occurred.

        That venture capitalist was way too nice!

    1. Pershing48*

      Avi is a clever guy, the news story doesn’t show up on the first page of search results on Bing. Someone paid good money for some SEO optimization.


    Can you company put something on their LinkedIn and Careers pages that says “Contacting Company X employees outside of Company X channels is not permitted and will remove you from consideration. Please do not harass our current employees.”

    Is that too harsh? Or not allowed for some reason? I realize it isn’t something most companies need to do, but this clearly isn’t an infrequent thing for the LW. Hundreds of calls and emails outside of company channels is a level that deserves addressing, IMO.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The thing is, though, that you don’t want to ban all contact outside of official channels. You want good candidates to be able to contact a current employee who they know and ask about the job, the culture, etc. So you don’t want to paint with too broad a brush. I think there’s enough nuance in the idea of contacting current employees outside of official channels that it’s hard to give one blanket statement (or at least one that isn’t off-putting — because “do not stalk or harass our employees” would certainly capture it, but would read oddly to people who would never think of doing that).

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Awkward phrasing maybe, but how about something to the effect of “Contacting Company X employees that you don’t already know”?

        1. CM*

          Or “Contacting Company X employees is only allowed thought their official company email or linked in profiles. Contact through other methods will cause us to no longer consider your application”

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s still going to sound too rigid and big-brother-y. What if I want to contact my old coworker who works there now and I regularly email with her at her personal email address or call her on her cell phone? I’m going to wonder why the company is so interested in discouraging that, and without knowing this back story it’s going to look weird.

            1. Kaitlyn*

              I get the sense that LW is involved in hiring? Not just an employee of the company. So having a statement like, “Only applications that are submitted through xyz@companyname.com will be considered. Job seekers who submit applications by any other method will not be considered, and may be removed from consideration on a temporary or permanent basis”?

              Is that kosher?

              1. KarenT*

                I get the sense that LW is involved in hiring?

                I was wondering that myself. Does the LW have a title that’s leading to this level of harassment, such as Director of HR or of a particularly interesting department, or is this employer so popular this is a problem for many employees?

              2. Lw*

                I am not involved in hiring, Human Resources, or management. I’m a low-level graphic designer.

                1. KarenT*

                  Given that, I would strongly consider removing your company from your LinkedIn and just listing your freelancing (assuming you are not currently job searching). If you’re not showing up in a search as a current employee, hopefully you would be left alone! You can always add it back in later.

                2. Kaitlyn*

                  So is this a company-wide problem, then? Every time postings go up, does everyone get resumes flung at them? Because if they do, then surely HR/management is aware of the issue; if they don’t (or HR/management somehow isn’t wise to what’s happening) then they need to be clued in, and I wonder what it is about your department/position/layer of the hierarchy that is vulnerable to these inquiries?

          2. KarenT*

            I think the trouble with statements like this isn’t just that it sounds to rigid, but also it’s very off-putting to someone who would never it do it (I find it a touch accusatory) and that it will likely be disregarded by someone who would do it.
            It actually reminds me of my condominium’s issue meetings. When the building is having an issue (water consumption increasing, cigarette butts being thrown on to neighbouring balconies, litter in the common areas) those that show up to the meetings are never the problem.

            1. Malibu Stacey*

              Or a dating site profile that says something like, “Don’t bother contacting me if you’re just looking for someone to support you financially or you’re way into drama” — I don’t consider myself either one of those things, but now I don’t want to contact you because you sound insufferable.

              1. KarenT*

                Yes! Was going to say this is another way job searching is like dating. I saw a dating profile the other day that said “Don’t message me if you’re a fake, a phony, a cheater, or a liar. DON’T USE PEOPLE.” I’m none of those things but….

                1. an infinite number of monkeys*

                  Or as someone I know once pointed out – who would ever look at those ads and says, “Oh. Well, I really like their profile, but I’m TOTALLY into mind games and drama, so I guess I’d better not hit them up.”

                2. Specialk9*

                  People are often unaware how clear of a picture they paint on online dating sites about their dating baggage, and sometimes into their own head full of bees.

                  But anyone who says they don’t want drama – run hard. They always love drama, and create it actively.

      2. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

        Wouldn’t they still be contacting that current employee through company channels though, if they already know them? Maybe I phrased it poorly. I was trying to say you can still contact employees directly through LinkedIn or Company X email, just not through their other jobs. Or their spouses(!) or whatever other crazy stalker thing they figure out.

      3. bean*

        You want good candidates to be able to contact a current employee who they know and ask about the job, the culture, etc.

        I think this is the key. There has to be a way to make a statement discouraging applicants from reaching out with job-related inquiries when they *don’t actually know* the letter writer. Basically, something like “Searching out and locating Company X’s employees to contact them outside of work and cold-calling them to inquire about matters of hiring/employment is not appropriate.” But, y’know, more elegant than that.
        Presumably someone the letter-writer knows can contact her without going through her freelancing website… if it’s someone the letter-writer knows, presumably they already have her contact info.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      That’s not too harsh at all. I think that’s entirely appropriate in this situation.

    3. Teal*

      I think they need to put out SOMETHING that lets people know how common this tactic is. Everyone who tries it probably thinks they’re the only genius to ever figure it out. Meaning they think they’ll stand out, and don’t think OP/husband/company receive this enough to be annoyed by it.

      It would be incredibly helpful to have some language that at least lets people know this is a common tactic and it’s not appreciated.

      1. drpuma*

        This could be a great use of the LW’s company’s hiring blog or other social media. Any candidate who is doing that much research would surely read those, too. Interviews with current employees could include questions about how they were hired, and could also provide opportunities for hiring managers to talk about the practices of successful applicants (“one guy was calling me five times a day, he did not get an interview because that’s not how we treat our clients”).

    4. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I don’t think the company can – or should – stop people from contacting their employees about the job. However, they absolutely CAN broadcast the message that they will only accept applications via their career page.

      In 2005, the Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs (OFCCP), a part of the US Department of Labor, created a statute regarding Internet applications. Long, boring story short: companies that get 10%+ of their business via government contracts can stipulate ‘only electronic applications will be accepted’ if they wish. They can refuse to accept hard copy resumes and applications and, in fact, they can get penalized for violating their own rule. Non-government contractors tend to follow OFCCP guidelines as a ‘best practice’ and see the benefit of an online system.

      I am rooting for the OP’s employer to tell job seekers ‘Only online applications will be considered,’ or ‘No hard copy resumes or applications will be accepted or reviewed.’

  7. Wannabe Disney Princess*

    Yeah, this is creepy. And wrong.

    Especially researching you to find your husband (!) and showing up to his workplace (!!). I mean, what’s next…..showing up at your doorstep? I can’t think of anything I’d be desperate enough for that I’d go Kool-Aid Man-style crashing through normal boundaries.

    LW, don’t be afraid to be curt. Personally, I might aim for just this side of rude, especially if they continue to contact you after directing them to the proper channels.

    1. HiNicoleInTN*

      If OP’s company happens to be a popular internet search engine, I’m sure there is a blurred line between stalking and taking advantage of the aforementioned search engine.

      1. LBK*

        Just looking up the info isn’t stalking, IMO, but using it this way certainly is. Having access to the information doesn’t inherently authorize you to use it however you see fit. Even if someone provides you with their phone number willingly, that doesn’t mean calling them 10 times a day is appropriate – you still have to exercise discretion in how to use the information available to you, and you can be judged according to that discretion.

        I mean, even in actual criminal stalking, the stalker is usually someone with a perfectly valid reason to have personal info about the victim, such as their ex. The issue is less about what information they have than how they choose to use it.

      2. Wannabe Disney Princess*

        Eh, I feel using said search engine to look up the husband of an employee and showing up where he works is crossing a line. That’s not just looking up information and moving on. That is using the information to badger a stranger into talking with you.

        1. Annie Moose*

          Yeah, I’ll willingly concede that I’ve googlestalked people before to find out more about them–but I don’t actually DO anything with that information. Like, if I’m curious where an internet celebrity is from, I’m not digging up that information with the plan of going to their house!!

      3. Turquoisecow*

        I don’t think it’s blurred at all. There’s a very solid, fat line between “oh let me search for the hiring manager or look her up on LinkedIn to see what she’s like” and “let me stop by her husband’s store to drop off my resume.”

        The first is understandable. The second is insane.

      4. Specialk9*

        That’s not even remotely a blurred line, come on. Working for a search engine is not an invitation to being stalked, and seriously, why would you even say that?

    2. CG*

      I like “go Kool-Aid Man-style crashing through normal boundaries” and hope to use this next time I encounter an instance of it…

  8. Anonymous Educator*

    If people come to your husband’s store to give him a resume to pass on to you, he should feel free to say, “She really doesn’t appreciate people doing this, so I can’t take your resume.”

    I think he should also feel free to say “She’s told me when people do what you just did to pass the résumé on to her so she can put it in the ‘never hire’ pile.”

    Okay, that’s mean. But I’m sure he could find a nicer way to say the same thing.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I would go straight to this response. Stalking the family members of employees isn’t gumption.

      2. Queen of Cans & Jars*

        I agree! I think OP’s husband has the luxury of being removed enough from his wife’s business, and that this behavior is batshit crazy enough, that he can have some fun with the idiots who come into his shop with a resume.

    1. Fabulous*

      “Absolutely I can take your resume for X company! I’ll be sure to pass it along to the hiring manager so they can add it to their ‘Never Hire’ pile. Thanks for stopping by, feel free to look around the shop before you go!”

    2. Guitar Hero*

      He could put it in the special filing cabinet for resumes. I believe Michael Scott had one for faxes from corporate. It was quite effective.

    3. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I would love it if he just said, “Oh, sure, I’ll send it to them through my fax machine” and then put it in a shredder. But that’s pretty rude and I don’t think I’d have the…well, gumption…to do that myself.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Except if it’s shredded, it will never get into that “never hire” list.

    4. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      “The fee for passing along your resume is a $75 purchase. $100 purchase will get you the Deluxe Pass”

      (Not really. Don’t do that)

        1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

          Right! What are they going to do, complain to Big Company that a shop owner who is the husband of an employee tried to extort them for money when they stalked him down and tried to submit their resume?

          1. Steve*

            It’s not against the law to fire someone for their spouse’s behavior. Plus, hubby would be making two businesses look bad in one fell swoop – his own and his spouse’s.

            1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

              I kind of feel like you missed the joke. But frankly, the only one looking bad is the stalker, and the company would take the complaint as an opportunity to add the applicant* to the Do Not Hire List for total lack of common sense and professional behavior. “Look at this guy! He’s soooooo dumb he not only submitted his resume to the wrong business, but now he’s complaining to us that other business didn’t treat him respectfully!”

              * It doesn’t count as applying for the job if you submit your resume to the wrong business.

          2. OhNo*

            Yes, actually. They could do that. The likelihood that Big Company will take it seriously is slim, but we don’t know how gossipy the OP’s field is.

            I’d be concerned about rumors, if it were me, but folks in my field are very chatty and tend to know each other’s business. Could be that’s not as much of a concern for the OP and her field, though.

            1. Observer*

              If it’s a tight field, people will know the score, and it’s likely to end up as one of those “can you believe someone did that?” stories about the applicant. But still, who needs it.

      1. Bacon pancakes*

        I would go more with the approach of: “Oh, I don’t know if they are hiring, but I am looking for a new sales clerk, are you available for an interview? Now? Oh, I was confused because you gave me a resume… so you AREN’T looking for work? But like I said, I don’t know if they are hiring because I don’t work there. But I am, so let me know if you want me to consider your resume. No, I mean for here… I mean you are here. With your resume. So you aren’t looking for a job? This is rather confusing….”
        Just literally make it the most awkward encounter possible. And reiterate the “No, I only take resumes for applicants to my store. Not to jobs elsewhere.”

    5. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      I think that is a perfect response actually. Because yeah, when you’re stalking people, you’re going to get put into the never hire pile.

    6. Yada Yada Yada*

      “oh my god, are you stalking my wife?! I’m calling the police!” *reaches for phone* *candidate freaks out and never pulls a stunt like this again*

      1. Sylvan*

        I might skip the threat and just call. Digging up information on someone until you find their spouse, their spouse’s job, and their spouse’s address is seriously weird. Maybe people would quit stalking if they were treated like stalkers.

        1. AKchic*

          That is actually a nice idea in theory, but in practice, it is so much harder, and varies state-by-state.

          In Alaska – nobody would care. Small-town mentality accompanied by overworked law enforcement and terrible laws to begin with.
          Not knowing what state this is, we don’t know if law enforcement would actually treat any call seriously, and we don’t know if the company would be appreciative of the potential publicity/fall-out of a police investigation (or multiple investigations).

            1. AKchic*

              Having been a victim and working with victims since my own case in 2003, “sobering” is a polite word.
              It was bad in 2003. It has gotten so much worse, and we have the same groups helping women, but because they are so well known, they are Well Known, so it is not uncommon for abusers to watch the shelters to see if their victims come out or go in. They have been flat-funded for years, even with increased need.
              Villages get little to no support. It can take days for a village safety officer to get to a village just to take a DV call, let alone a major call. Weather delays can make things worse. Budget cuts are killing women and children.

        2. attie*

          Didn’t Gift of Fear mention that calling the police on stalkers often has the opposite effect, because the police’s response is to send an officer to “have a nice chat and tell him to knock it off”. And from that moment the threat becomes toothless because oh look, you already called the police last time, and what happened? No consequences whatsoever!

  9. LBK*

    I think you should feel completely free to be blunt with people who contact you that way. “This number is for my personal business and it’s really inappropriate to contact me this way. If you need information about the job, follow the instructions as provided in the listing.” I think that’s direct without being unprofessional.

  10. Manager-at-Large*

    “Sure, I’ll take your resume for Jane. She’s always looking to add to Company X’s database of applicants that are clueless, agressive and candidates for the never-hire database”.

    just kidding.


  11. Angela Ziegler*

    I mean, if the internal memo is that certain applicants are taken out of consideration, maybe this should be shared with applicants? As in, the next time someone comes by the retail shop trying to show ‘gumption’, telling them point blank ‘The company sees this behavior as unprofessional and unnecessary, you’ve hurt your chances considerably by doing this and not going through proper channels. ‘ If word gets out among applicants that ‘gumption’ hurts rather than helps, wouldn’t that deter people in the future?

    1. LW*

      One would think! But I’ve certainly told people before that their behavior took them out of the consideration, but they responded by taking any response for me as an opportunity to engage further. Our company website and job postings stress that applicants have to follow a set process, but it doesn’t seem to deter them. And, quite frankly, the calls and emails are so frequent now, I simply do not have time to respond to each and every one.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, my worry is that this will invite further engagement. It also sets the OP up as the bad guy in all these people’s minds, and that’s an unfair burden for her to have to carry around. She may run into some of these people in the future or even want something from one of them one day. Short, polite, and quickly over is what I’d be going for.

        1. NW Mossy*

          Do you think it’s OK if the LW just ignores the emails and vmails? I would expect to be ignored if I was doing something this wildly off-base, but then again, I’m not familiar enough with the thought process of the Gumption Brigade to know if that would just provoke them into even worse behavior.

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            I think the problem is this:

            I have to turn my phone off or it rings all day and it’s really annoying.

          2. Sylvan*

            They’ll keep calling.

            At my old job, the higher ups had restraining orders on a couple of people. That stopped them!

      2. Engineer Girl*

        I was thinking it would trigger an instinction burst response of worse behavior.
        That’s been my experience with boundary stompers. But sometimes it’s worth it if it eventually shuts things down.

      3. Clever Name*

        Since they’re clearly researching you, what about a LinkedIn post that you put up any time there’s a new position or you start getting calls? Something like “Please don’t contact me regarding job opportunities at Llama Llama Teapots Inc. Unsolicited appeals will not help your candidacy.” ? I suppose it depends on if you’re a hiring manager. If you’re not, I would say something like “I can’t help you get hired at Llama Llama, but I can’t recommend that you NOT be hired. Please don’t contact me or my family.”

        Of course, if someone is crazy enough to go to your husband… there may be no helping them.

        1. Specialk9*

          Or take the dream job off your LinkedIn profile. It stinks, but so does having to turn off your personal phone because so many people call it. (!!!)

          Though dang that stinks. You have basically been doxxed, but by people who think you’ll hire them for stalking you.

          1. PieInTheBlueSky*

            Perhaps you could try leaving your job on your LinkedIn profile, but removing your company name — instead of “I work at Facebook”, maybe try “I work at a well-known social media company”. (And maybe consider this for your freelance site as well.) Maybe some of these candidates won’t try to contact someone who appears to be one link away from the company. On the other hand, if you are linked to many others at your company, it may not work very well.

    2. fposte*

      It wouldn’t hurt, but I think the myths about its being advantageous are always going to be too strong to combat.

      1. LBK*

        Yeah, because I think unfortunately there is always going to be the one person for whom it worked, and that person’s story will override the 100 other people whose resumes were trashed because they were too annoying during the hiring process. Everyone wants to believe they’re the exception.

        1. Antilles*

          Especially since most people who are gutsy enough to try the “being a pest” strategy would likely perceive the whole thing with a strong confirmation bias.
          1.) If you get hired because you were persistent, then you remember (and loudly proclaim to others) just how Gumption worked for you.
          2.) If your resume gets tossed in the trash because of your persistence, then you (and others) would more likely to write it off as affected by other reasons – “X is just so selective, it seemed like a long shot anyways”, “I’ll bet it was his lack of llama wrangling experience”, etc. Or even viewing it as a win even though they didn’t get the job because “well, at least this way they saw my resume rather than just being completely ignored”.

    3. Info Architect*

      Sure, but it’s not the husband’s job to do this. He can ask them to leave, or he can say that he’ll take their resume to ensure it gets on the Do Not Hire list. Other than that, he’s not obligated to communicate for the company nor give job search advice.

      1. Matilda Jefferies*

        I agree, and I also share Alison’s worry above that any sort of engagement from the husband could be seen as a positive sign by the Gumptions. Even saying that anyone who tries to leave a resume with him will end up on a Do Not Hire list, implies a level of knowledge of the company’s hiring practices, which the applicants may take as encouragement.

        I think the husband’s best bet is to just repeat “I”m sorry, I can’t accept resumes for this company,” over and over and over again, without any further explanation or discussion. A softer variation of “no is a complete sentence,” if you will.

        Not that either of you should be having to deal with this, ugh.

  12. beanie beans*

    Learning today that people purchase Facebook ads in order to promote themselves for a job. I can’t get my head around this.

    1. LW*

      Shockingly common for us. One person emailed us saying they had spent over $1,000 on targeted ads to reach current employees and were angry they didn’t get an interview.

      No one asked you to do that?

      1. Hills to Die on*

        Thank goodness for AAM to keep me in the loop on things. I had no idea people did this! And $1000!!

        1. Clever Name*

          That’s A LOT! Facebook ads aren’t really expensive (not that I’ve used them to find a job). But in general, promoting a post can be done really cheaply, especially if your targeting is very specific.

          1. Kathleen Adams*

            Yeah, Facebook ads are not expensive, generally speaking. Maybe gumption indicators cost extra?

      2. AudreyParker*

        I seriously do. not. understand. The spend. The hostility. The thought that FB ads are going to get you in the door. I mean is this some demographic that has bought into the deification of social media marketing over all else or something? Ugh, I’m SO sorry you and your coworkers are having to go through this :( Here I am feeling kind of bad for considering reaching out to people I don’t know on LinkedIn just to ask some questions…

        1. LW*

          Surprisingly, it’s been all ages, from fresh college graduates to seasoned professionals with 20 years of experience.

          It’s a relatively small company — less than 500 employees — so the openings are few, but I cannot log into LinkedIn without a “Hey COMPANY employee! I’m the teapot designer you’ve been looking for” advertisement at the top of my screen.

          1. Jiya*

            I think you can at least change your LinkedIn privacy settings to prevent that sort of ad targeting, if it bugs you.

          1. AudreyParker*

            Glad to meet another appreciator :) It lives forever for me on Netflix (at least for now!)… SO good!

        2. Starbuck*

          It seems mostly like a lack of understanding that jobs go to the candidate that is the most qualified, not the candidate that showed the employer that they wanted it the most. Add to that also that it seems easier to show an employer that you want the job at these early stages, but it would be much harder to demonstrate your qualifications in these venues.

        1. Daria Grace*

          It’s possible to restrict who sees your ad by very specific criteria. I’m not sure if you can directly target people based on where they work but you can target by job title, location and interests. If you tweaked your ad settings right, you could make it so it was mostly/entirely people from your target company seeing the ad.

          1. Triumphant Fox*

            Especially if the geographic location is specific. “Chicago” wouldn’t get you far, but if the company is in a specific company town/suburb/zip, you could get pretty accurate with a combination of job title and location.

          2. Media Monkey*

            on Linked In you can target people by their company/ job title/ location/ level/ industry and a few other factors – as long as there are enough of them. you can’t target specific people, or use targeting so specific that it would effectively go to named people (like targeting CEOs at LargeCompany – as there is only one)

      3. Bea*

        I hope they have crippling debt from these bad life choices…I’m in a foul mood right now and knowing this is a thing is poking the bear inside.

    2. AudreyParker*

      I’ve been hearing on podcasts about people using geotagging to get their names and info to show up for employers – this is not an area I know much/anything about, so don’t ask me how this works! I’m pretty desperate, and none of this would sound anything other than annoying and pointlessly time-consuming (and possibly expensive) to me… And I’m not sure how it fits into a world where the logical emphasis has been on making a personal and relevant connection if you’re looking to bypass ATS/HR, unless maybe you’re in sales or thought-leadership.

      1. nonymous*

        It absolutely works, but I’ve only seen it in the context of changing your LinkedIn location to the city you want to be hired in. In the paper era, I was advised to put both my campus and family address to show that I was open to employment in both regions.

      2. Specialk9*

        I can only imagine how utterly creepy it would be to have a candidate ad follow you around the web, popping up as you’re browsing. Like they’re actually literally watching you right now, in your chair, scrolling on your phone. Ugh.

    3. Myrin*

      I have no idea what that even means (clearly I’m An Old at heart, despite being only 27). They buy ad space, make ads about themselves, and then somehow manipulate those to appear in front of people from OP’s company?

      1. beanie beans*

        I know I’ve been approaching my job search with hopeless optimism, but spending $1000 on ads to get your face in front of a company blows my mind. The only winners in this game are Facebook and LinkedIn.

      2. LW*

        Basically, yes. Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to target ads at very specific populations, such as employees of X company.

          1. Millennial Lawyer*

            Not to get political or anything, but this is why there’s a focus on Facebook re: Russia-paid advertising in the 2016 elections – because Facebook has tools that let ad buyers target micro-specific populations.

            1. MsSolo*

              It’s also something being investigated at other levels, because the level of targeting allows you to practice some pretty specific discrimination (one I recall was a job ad of facebook targeted so it would only be visible to straight white male candidates, and another was an anti-semitic organisation targeting local Jews with carefully worded hatespeech not pick up by the auto-censors). Facebook really don’t want to let go of their algorithms because they’re what makes them appealing to advertisers, but they seem to think it’s some subtle and impenetrable system, rather than a really obvious way to harass and discriminate and stalk people.

              (and yet 90% of what you get is “you’re a woman? have an ad for diet shakes!” because advertisers themselves aren’t so smart)

              1. Julia the Survivor*

                I’ve had advertisers stalk me a couple of times.
                One was a retail natural products company. I looked at their site once and determined they were too pricey. After that, every time I went to YouTube their smug, annoying 3-minute ad popped up! It took a few heated emails in which I spelled out that my gmail ID was somewhere in their code and they needed to delete it (!) to get them off me. Their cluelessness and refusal to take responsibility for their own marketing insured that I will never, ever, buy from them!
                The other was an ad for a “natural” food wrap that contains soy, which kept coming on my FB feed. I’m one of millions who is allergic to soy, and putting soy in their wrap, especially without big warnings, is beyond careless! I posted on their ad, and then it came more often, and I kept posting until they blocked me. :D

                1. Julia the Survivor*

                  P.S. – I had found an article that tells how to stop ads from stalking, but I can’t find it now.
                  LW, If you google “how to stop ads from stalking or following you” there are several articles that might help. :)

                2. FoxyDog*

                  That’s called re-marketing I believe. If you visit a website they can place a cookie in your browser that says you’ve visited the site. Then their google ads can be specifically targeted to those with the “have visited” cookie. (I used to work for an online store that used google ads.) Clothing stores are all over this…browse Kohl’s or Target’s website and you’ll get ads from them forever. The store you’re talking about probably had no idea about that, as it’s Google/YouTube that’s tracking your activity, not the advertisers themselves – they’re just using Google’s services.

                  Facebook targets ads based on pages, posts, etc that you or your friends have liked or commented on.

                  What’s really creepy is when you get ads related to words you’ve googled, or sent/received in gmail.

        1. Starbuck*

          I can see how if the company in question is actually Facebook that an inexperienced candidate might think that was a good venue for raising their visibility to apply at that company…. but it sooooo does not work that way!

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      I suspect the success rate for buying Facebook ads to promote yourself as a candidate is probably similar to the stalkery “gumption” tactics described by the OP—almost nil.

      Unless your résumé is spectacular, my merely seeing you on Facebook isn’t going to make me think “Hire this person.” And if your résumé is spectacular, just apply through the official channels, I’ll see how good a candidate you are, and then I or someone else on the hiring committee will interview you.

      I would say, though, that if your résumé is spectacular but I see you only through a promoted Facebook ad of some kind, that alone is likely to hurt your candidacy.

    5. Sarianna*

      Honestly, it makes me super glad I use AdBlock Plus and NoScript on Facebook and most other sites. “Sorry you wasted your money, but clearly you aren’t as internet savvy as you think.”

      1. Specialk9*

        I do that too but find that most sites these days demand I turn it off to see their site. Not sure if I’m doing it wrong.

    6. Anonna Miss*

      Wow. I saw a job with Facebook online, and that a former coworker worked there. I reached out via LinkedIn to say “Hey, I applied for this – it’d be cool if we were coworkers again”, but didn’t get a response. I just figured he was too busy/didn’t remember me well. It never occurred to me that there were so many people who wanted to work there. (A ginormous open office in an incredibly expensive part of the country? That makes he hesitate, not go full stalker.)

      I don’t need to know where the LW works, but I’m totally curious about what kind of benefits are offered. Clearly more companies need to offer them!

      1. Anonna Miss*

        (Ooops! Posted too soon. I see that the LW described by benefits. But still. That level of stalking is crazy.)

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        I think that’s a totally different situation, though, since that’s your former co-worker—you actually know that person. These are total strangers reaching out / stalking.

  13. KitKat*

    I wonder if putting “Please do not contact me about Company X jobs” on OP’s website will just make it easier for more of these people to find and contact her? I would worry about that if I were the OP…

      1. Fabulous*

        Perhaps a more generic line would be better, “Please do not contact me about jobs unrelated to Freelancing Business.”

        1. CM*

          I like this, although if OP may receive offers of employment from people interested in her freelance work, it may deter them.

          Maybe something like: “If you are a job applicant, please send your resume to the company where you are applying for a job and do not contact me directly. Unsolicited emails, phone calls, and other types of contact may result in your being disqualified from consideration from the job.”

    1. Jesmlet*

      Maybe just “Please do not contact me about my non-freelance work” but I’d worry that that would sound too confrontational to the people actually there for the freelance

    2. k.k*

      Perhaps you could include a similar note without using the company name. Refer to it as “companies I am affiliated with” or something to that nature.

      1. Triumphant Fox*

        I like this edit, combined with CM’s edit above.

        “Please do not contact me about employment with companies with whom I am affiliated. Any unsolicited emails, phone calls, or other types of contact will result in disqualification from consideration.”

        1. Flinty*

          I think even just your first sentence would work well! It would deter people who have some sense of boundaries, and there’s not a lot you can do about the people who have no boundaries anyway.

    3. oranges & lemons*

      Sadly, I doubt any general line would work for the kind of people who are willing to do this kind of thing, since they are likely to assume the rules don’t apply to them. I think the easiest way to deal with them would be to have a form response that you can send with minimal effort that says something like, I’m not able to accept applications for positions at Company, please apply through official channels here. And then delete any follow-ups. It sucks that the LW’s husband is having to deal with them as well, though, and it’s probably much more annoying/potentially alarming in person.

      1. Hey Nonnie*

        I wouldn’t even do that much. Set up an email filter to skip the inbox and dump these solicitations in a separate folder. Skim them over once a week to check for false positives. Delete the rest. It’s not OPs job to hold their hand through the application process. Presumably there are written instructions on how to apply right in the job posting.

        Who knows, maybe if job seekers literally never get a response to their applications this way, word will get out that it’s useless to try.

  14. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    He can have a sign over the shredder and call it the Gumption Files.
    Just file your resume over there for me.
    thanks, buh bye.

  15. Cringing 24/7*

    Ugh. If I were Husband, I’d just offer to burn or shred their resume, then say, “Since I don’t work at Company X, that’s the most I can do with it.”

    1. sssssssssss*

      Or, tell them: “Sure, you can put it in the box over there. I bring them over once a year or so. My last trip was six months ago so I don’t plan to go back until…ummm…November? Hope you’re not in a hurry!”

  16. RemoteDreams*

    Hey, on the topic of being creepy, is it okay to ask an interviewer a question based on their LinkedIn profile? I notice they previously were in the position I’m interviewing for, and really rose up the ranks at the company. I’m curious how common that is, because I’d love to have those sorts of opportunities too!

      1. RemoteDreams*

        Okay, that’s what I figured, but then I see a post like this and want to make sure I never cross the line into crazy town! Thank you Alison :)

    1. Guitar Hero*

      I’ve always done this in interviews, during the “do you have any questions for me?” part. It’s not creepy to ask your interviewer about his or her career at your potential new company. Rather, you’d be missing out on some crucial info if you didn’t ask.

    2. CM*

      I think you should disclose that you got the information from LinkedIn, like, “While preparing for this interview, I looked at your LinkedIn profile and noticed that ___.” Since LinkedIn is meant for professional networking, most people should be fine with this, although you always get a few outliers who think any use of Google/social media is rude.

      1. RemoteDreams*

        It would be odd to be on LinkedIn and annoyed that I used LinkedIn… so hopefully that’s not too likely! I can’t imagine a way in which I could ask that wouldn’t bring up LinkedIn (unless he happens to explain his history himself), so hopefully that turns out fine.

        1. Specialk9*

          Usually they can see that you looked at their profile anyway. (And that’s good – so long as you don’t friend request them while in the application-interview phase.)

          1. RemoteDreams*

            I actually browse anonymously, so they wouldn’t be able to see. I always worry I’d look creepy if they could see I looked!

  17. rosiebyanyothername*

    This is so messed up… though I’m kind of curious what company it is. Who wants to work for someplace so badly they’d do stuff like this??

    1. LW*

      We’re actually pretty small and in a niche industry. But the company offers 100% paid healthcare for the employee, our partners, and our children. We can work entirely from home. We have unlimited vacation (and the company means it. High performers can take 3 months to backpack through Europe without anyone batting an eye). We have a stipend to encourage us to travel. 3 months maternity and paternity leave at 100% of your pay. Oh, and a stipend to set up a home office.

        1. Autumnheart*

          (After I follow you home and stand outside on your doorstep for 3 days a la “Fight Club”)

            1. Triumphant Fox*

              Come now, we can do better. Hack into her Alexa and have her list your achievements when you summon her.

              “Alexa, play some music”
              “Did you know Stalking Steven was valedictorian of his class at prestigious university? Wouldn’t you want to work with someone like that? ”

              “Alexa, show my calendar”
              “Stalking Steven’s passion for teapots began when he formed a teapot club in middle school. Maybe you should pass his resume along to Anne in HR. ”

              “Alexa, play Stranger Things”
              “Do you know that Stalking Steven outperformed his whole division in teapot sales this past year. You may want to move his resume to the front of the line.”

              1. OhNo*

                I am equal parts amused and horrified at this idea. You know someone’s going to try it, now that smart home assistants are getting popular. You know it.

            2. Half-Caf Latte*

              We’ve already had our Lloyd Dobler reference for the month around here. Try again! :)

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Oooh, I’d like to work there. I’ll attach the full text of my resume in a follow-up post. You’ll send it on to HR with a personal note that I seem like a good person to join the team, right?


          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            What’s the minimum number of ads that shows the appropriate amount of gumption? I don’t want to overdo it. That’d be tacky.

        1. KarenT*

          I was about to comment ‘tell your husband I’ll be by the store later’ but it felt to creepy!

          1. AKchic*

            I’ll see him at the grocery store on the way home. So much more organic to accidentally bump into him while I’m distractedly browsing for carrots in this meet-weird while I try to foist off my resume while he’s thumping cantaloupe.

            Okay. I kinda creeped myself.

      2. rosiebyanyothername*

        …dang, that sounds like the dream! BUT STILL, stalking people is not okay!!
        I hope this stops for you soon, LW.

      3. London Calling*

        Do you have a London office? :) I PROMISE not to take out a FB ad or stalk you, honest!

      4. Fergus Formerly Known as the Artist Fergus*

        That’s some SHIT. I had one company tell me their relocation package is a truck, but I have to get three estimates.

      5. Goya de la Mancha*

        oofta…not excusable, but I can see why people would go to such lengths.

        Maybe your company will start offering a bodyguard stipend ;)

      6. Sylvan*

        Wow, that sounds fantastic.

        Getting oneself blacklisted by stalking you doesn’t sound fantastic, however.

      7. GreyjoyGardens*

        Wow! Now I do not think it excuses the stalking, pestering, gumptioneering at all (seriously, showing up at *your husband’s* workplace?) – but I can see where a company that is just head and shoulders above all the others when it comes to atmosphere and benefits, especially in a niche industry, would get people who really, really, would do anything to work there. Especially if it’s the case where the industry has one outstanding company and the others are “meh” or worse. (Don’t know if that is the case for LW.)

        It says a lot that the LW’s company is such a seeming unicorn. But this isn’t the LW’s or husband’s problem.

      8. Lora*

        What’s the catch?

        Have worked places with fancy benefits – concierge services, paid undergrad + grad school, tons of paid short- and long-term disability, paid healthcare and dental and vision, personal trainer and on site gym, bunch of stuff – the drawback was, the management sucked out loud and people left after 2-3 years regardless, because no amount of benefits is worth hurting your brain dealing with that level of stupid on the daily.

        1. Lw*

          I’ve been here 3 years; I keep waiting for the catch, but so far I haven’t found one. My coworkers are awesome, and management is smart and empathetic.

          1. ArtsNerd*

            The catch is that you get harassed by desperate, entitled and wildly inappropriate job seekers.

      9. Jojobean*

        Oh man, those are some INCREDIBLE benefits! If more companies in the US were like that, I miiight consider giving up working in war zones just for the R&R packages (I like to travel and two weeks a year just will. not. cut it)!

  18. Murphy*

    I can’t believe that people think cybserstalking you and your husband (!!!) would make you view them positively.

  19. MsChanandlerBong*

    This is annoying, but I do feel bad for some of the applicants (provided they’re just following bad advice and not being annoying on purpose). I belong to a budgeting group on Facebook, and we often discuss job hunting (since it relates to how much money you make/how much you’re able to save/how much debt you can pay off). For every person who says this is a bad idea, there’s another person who says, “Well, I’m a manager at XYZ store, and I only interview applicants who show gumption by calling multiple times to show they are interested in the job” (or whatever type of “gumption” the applicant exhibits). So some people are getting a positive response when they do things like this, and it’s making them think it’s always acceptable.

  20. PieInTheBlueSky*

    OP, how are candidates finding out to contact you? Are you the hiring manager or someone in HR or related to the job opening in some way? Or are you just a regular employee and all employees are harassed to this degree?

    1. LW*

      No, I’m not at all involved in hiring. I’m not even a manager. I’d say every employee experiences this.

      1. Goya de la Mancha*

        Wow, that is just…wow….

        I really think the company needs to take charge and put an end to this somehow, but I’m at a loss as to how! Other then to leave a blanket statement on the job descriptions saying “any contact to current employees outside of the online application will result in elimination from the candidacy pool”?

        1. Matilda Jefferies*

          I agree. If the problem is that widespread, then I think your employer should at least be providing you with some language to use with people who track you down like this. Plus some pretty strong language on the careers page about how they do (and do not) accept applications, maybe under a big banner saying Gumption Won’t Get You A Job Here.

      2. Sylvan*

        If you have any chance to ask for this, would it be feasible for your phone number to be removed from the website? Could someone who isn’t in a public-facing or client-facing job get that?

        1. Lw*

          My number isn’t on the company website. I’m not at all public facing. They’re calling my personal number.

          1. Sylvan*

            That is amazing.

            Any idea how they might be finding it? I suppose through your freelance work?

      3. Need A Change*

        I think this makes it worse for you! People may think they can do this to you because you not involved in the hiring process. My wife get’s stuff like this all the time on facebook etc. because of where she works and she is “involved” with HR, but not in hiring. She just shuts them down with “I can not accept unsolicited resumes and all applications must be submitted via the online portal.” This tends to go in waves for her, but for the most part people come back with oh thanks.

      4. Yetanotherjennifer*

        I hate to suggest something that’s more work for you, but here I go anyway. I just wonder what you’d find if you pretended to be an applicant and googled how to get a job with your employer. I would prefer to think that a couple of websites are providing this info than believe so many people are willing to be this stalkerish. Maybe if these sites have some sort of moderator or have comments them your company’s hr department can put a word in for applying through approved channels.

  21. Wondering One*

    I’m confused about how these people even know the LW works for this company. It is on their freelance website? I feel like I’ve missed something.

    1. LW*

      That’s an excellent question. I do not mention it on my freelance website, but I do list my employer on my LinkedIn profile.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        So, if they’re making the connection through your LinkedIn profile, maybe that’s a good place to start. Can you add a note there that says “If you’re looking for a job at AwesomeCo, please apply through traditional channels and do not contact me about it. I will not pass any resumes to AwesomeCo unless I contacted you personally and suggested you apply.”

    2. Leatherwings*

      They probably are doing LinkedIn searches and/or the company publishes staff names on their website (which is really common in my field).

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I would imagine LW’s name is on the company website or she has the company listed on her LinkedIn and they are finding her freelance site by searching her name.

    4. McWhadden*

      She likely has the Company listed on her Linked In account. And either also has her freelance on there or people just google her.

      And then she probably references her husband on social media like Facebook or something.

  22. ThursdaysGeek*

    I would have the husband say: “She really doesn’t appreciate people doing this, so I can’t take your resume. Or else, I can take it, and forward it to her so you can be put on their Do Not Hire list. Your choice.”

    Of course, that’s only shutting them down one person at a time. :(

    1. Elle Kay*

      Yup! That would be my response- and the same thing to anyone who calls/contacts via your freelance website.

  23. AKchic*

    Oh my… just no. No no no.

    For your husband, I am so sorry that he is put in this position. Since he is not a representative of the company, he is not really obligated to take the resume or be polite in any way. He can say whatever he wants, and if they insist on passing that resume on, he can do whatever he wants with it. Even if it means ripping it up right in front of them and telling them that since he isn’t X Corp, they are wasting their time visiting him and to never come back unless they are buying something from the shop.
    At best, all he can really do is act shocked, as if it were the first time, refuse any resume or contact details and say “that is extremely unprofessional, you need to follow proper protocol. Unless you’re buying something, you’re not a customer, leave my store” and shuffle them out of the building.

    For you, either ignore them, forward the messages on to HR, or as they come in person “that is unprofessional, I am not the person to talk to.”

    If HR approves it, maybe a loud “stalker alert” and walk away? Ah… if only, right?

  24. nnn*

    This is beyond the scope of OP, but wouldn’t it be awesome if desirable employers publicly announced that trying to circumvent the hiring process was grounds for elimination from the hiring process?

    1. Goya de la Mancha*

      That was my only thought as to a solution for this. If the company made a blanket statement on all job postings that it was unacceptable and grounds for your app/resume to be shredded.

  25. Augusta Sugarbean*

    I don’t think the husband has to do *anything* except say “I’m not involved in the hiring process at all so I cannot accept your resume.” And rinse and repeat.

    1. Myrin*

      I actually think it would be perfectly alright for the husband to say “Are you kidding me? I don’t have anything to do with that!” and then chase them out with a broom.
      Well, okay, maybe not the broom, but I stand by the rest.

      1. McWhadden*

        These people are still in the community and people who own retail stores can’t afford to do that.

        1. Myrin*

          I was being tongue-in-cheek and slightly exaggerating, but I also don’t think it’s horrible and likely to impact his business much if he says “I’m sorry, but this has nothing to do with me”.

    2. Liz T*

      I think it would be appropriate for the husband to say, “Leave me and my wife alone or I’m calling the police.”

    3. Abe Froman*

      This is the right response, IMO. Anything else will invite people who have already proven they are willing to cross many lines of inappropriate behavior to go further to prove their gumption. I wouldn’t want this poor guy to deal with hyper aggressive people who refuse to take no for an answer and may get belligerent.

  26. Blue Cupcake*

    A lot of responses are funny but you don’t want to damage your freelance business our your husband’s business by being snarky.
    How about simply putting up a statement that you do not and will not pass along resumes. You have nothing to do with hiring so it’s a waste of both your times. They need to show they can follow instructions and go through proper channels.

  27. Observer*

    OP, I want to add on to Allison’s EXCELLENT advice. Change your cell number. If anyone calls you on your cell number or contacts you on the freelance address after you put your disclaimer up, please do pass on their information as someone who doesn’t follow basic instructions. And if they find your personal email, or try to stalk your husband, please pass this on as verging on alarming.

    It doesn’t matter why they are doing this. If it’s “just” a matter of bad advice, it is still bad behavior – and I’d be worried about what other terrible advice they are going to be following.

  28. Leela*

    On the flipside of this, I was once a recruiter and was forced by my manager to hunt down a stellar candidate (who hadn’t been responding through normal channels) through his wife’s unrelated person website, use a WhoIs lookup to find her e-mail, and blast her with dumb information about the role “Great developer job in YOUR HUSBAND’S AREA! Have him e-mail me to learn more!”

    It was mortifying and felt very wrong but I was held hostage by medical insurance and after pushing back a few times felt I had no choice or lose my job. They eventually let me go because I wouldn’t give them the personal contact information of friends I had in hiring positions at my previous company, nor was I willing to call people who weren’t looking at 6:30 in the morning or after 10 PM. 0/10, do not miss that job at all

  29. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Well…At least they stand out, I suppose?
    In all seriousness though, what the hell? Figuring out your husband’s name AND showing up at his store? Bothering you so much you have to turn of your phone? Not realizing that is SO WRONG in SO MANY WAYS takes a special kind of not caring about boundaries.

  30. Need A Change*

    Frankly this is just a symptom of the bigger issue with hiring. We need a sea change it’s a big complex issue, but it’s needed. Both ends the company and the candidate! These people above believe the ends justify the means and have been told they need to take initiative, do whatever it takes, and stand out. On the company end what feels like resumes going into a black hole, pre-screenings that screen out good candidates, no follow-up after extensive interview processes. This is just the tip…. I get it I have been on both sides of the table. It’s hard to “look” over hundreds of resumes for one opening, but I try at least to followup on anyone we make any contact with. Of course this might just be frustration with my current job search.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I agree with you that companies need to be better at following up, even with a form email, but that’s a completely separate issue from this one. Based on what the OP has written, it doesn’t seem as if these are candidates who were interviewed and then were trying to follow up with the hiring manager to see what next steps are. These are people wanting their unsolicited résumés to be seen by random people who aren’t at all involved in the hiring process.

      1. Need A Change*

        I agree with you! My comment wasn’t so much about the issue above, but how it fit’s in to the overall job search. These people overstep that’s a fact, but I believe it’s in part due to they think they have to. We have been lead to believe that there are 100,000 people applying for 1 job and they you have to show “drive”, “persistence”, “gumption” etc.. Companies feed into this also, and I can’t blame them, when people believe something is rare than they will settle pay more. In the case of job hunting paying more is giving up pay, PTO days, and flexibility. Hence why people ask Alison over and over when should I follow up, whats this mean when this happens, and how do I set my resume apart.

        The great rescission has hurt workers the most in the idea you have to do more for less and companies can do more with less. Like I said this is a symptom of a bigger problem. My question for the person who wrote this letter is what age group is doing this? I would bet overwhelming it is younger workers, just a guess.

    2. Leela*

      My husband went through an extensive round of interviews right before Christmas. The last thing he was told was that they wanted him to come in and do some work for them after the holidays. He waited until about January 15th to respond to them, and so far he can’t even get acknowledgement that his e-mails have been seen. Is he still in the running? Was the role filled? Taken off the table indefinitely? Who knows? We sure don’t. I understand not getting back to every candidate but someone who’d passed all the rounds and was told to come in? This seems ridiculous to me. He said he’d even e-mailed two different people just in case something had happened to one of them. Obviously he’s still looking and we put no faith into this company whatsoever but it seems very odd that they wouldn’t even send a “sorry it’s been crazy! We’ll get back to you when we have more info” for someone who made it that far.

      1. Need A Change*

        I hope things work out for him! I am in the same boat right now. I started interviewing for a position in January multiple rounds, that I had to take time off from my current job, that ended with interviewing with C level members. I was given a time frame and after that I followed up with the hiring manger who responded with “I’m going to schedule a follow up meeting. I’ll contact you soon. Thanks for your patience. ” Frankly that can be taken so many ways, but to say the least it wasn’t an out right thanks but no thanks. It’s been a month since that note and silence.

        Now I don’t want to follow-up because I think it was a nice way to say hey give us time, but I also want closure. I know what Alison would say and that’s , Move on and if it happens its a nice surprise, but still. The time frame they gave me at the last interview was 3 weeks we are just over 5 weeks so yeah it’s an outside shot, but I have move past. As usual I will keep looking and I didn’t stop because this felt “good”.

      2. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

        Years ago I applied for a government job, I had an interview and was told the job was mine, they just had to do some paperwork. The very next day I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant and it was a difficult pregnancy health-wise. The job dropped from my mind completely. In the Spring while tending to my daughter I got a call from the dept. asking me when I could start. They had finally got the paperwork done. Ironically, about 12 years I later worked for the dept but in a different section. Every time I passed that first office I was tempted to go in and see if the job was still open.

    3. Allison*

      From what I’ve seen, it’s usually not “the company” collectively choosing to ignore candidates. There’s usually a higher-up in the corporate talent acquisition team who wants everyone who applies to be acknowledged within a certain amount of time, and everyone who interviews to be closed out properly with some sort of notice that they didn’t get the job, but recruiters are notorious for not being process-oriented, and who are “sooooo busy” they operate with tunnel vision. Sometimes, getting them to actually go through all the applicants and close them out properly, even if it’s definitely, unquestionably, part of their job, is like herding cats.

      I sometimes get emails and LinkedIn messages from candidates who say “oh I saw this job opening and I’d like to know more, who’s the recruiter?” and when I do some digging, I see they’ve already applied, and I find out the recruiter already decided they weren’t a fit, and it’s everything I have not to go “THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL THEM THAT??” because the recruiter is usually older and more experienced, and it would be disrespectful of me to question why they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

      1. Need A Change*

        @Allison my point is the process is broken. Don’t get me wrong I do not thank everyone who applies should even get a call, email, or letter saying thanks but no thanks. Far too many applications to deal with to do that properly, and I believe we all understand that. However, you are brought in even one face to face they should get at least a thanks, but no thanks email. I would expand that to HR phone screens, but that’s me.

        I’m not saying I have an answer, but we are past the “submit a resume to HR on Tuesday between 3-5 in person or by mail” time, yet we still act like we are stuck there. What once would have had 25 applications with 5 candidates now is 500 applications with 50 qualified candidates. Hiring mangers get stuck on the what if the next person is better group think. Applicants get stuck on the I need to stand out from the 499 other people just so I can talk to someone and never hear back. (Added the last bit of snark in frustration)

  31. Liz T*

    I worked briefly in customer relations for an arts organization, and we had a papering list–by and large elderly communities whom we would offer free last-minute tickets when we had a lot of empty seats. We made it clear to these organizations that they were not to call me asking; I was to call them. I was under strict instruction that, should one of them call asking, I would say, “I’m sorry, now I have to remove you from our papering list.”

    So, can OP do that? Tell anyone who reaches out that way that she has to remove them from consideration?

  32. Fergus Formerly Known as the Artist Fergus*

    It goes the other way to. I received 10 emails in 20 minutes today for a position at the same company from 3 recruiters from India.

      1. Fergus Formerly Known as the Artist Fergus*

        I have had them email me saying I have been trying to reach you by phone all day.

        1. AKchic*

          When I worked in rehab, I used to get clients calling my boss or our CEO complaining that they’d tried calling me 10-20 times a day to get their records when I had not received a single phone call. It got to the point that I had to start logging my every phone call and voice mail to “prove” my incoming calls (even though all incoming calls were monitored via caller ID, I also had to confirm it in my log by confirming the date, time, phone number, the person calling, and the reason for calling).
          The person who complained? They never did call me. They were calling a defunct number that had been redirected to my boss at one point but when we changed phone systems, the phone number got lost in the upgrade/transfer so it was essentially a dead line with no phone but still had voicemail. The person who used to have that line hadn’t worked for the company in years. I was happy to take the call log and hand it back and say “yeah, not doing this anymore”.

  33. Lauren K Milligan*

    As others have said, I think it’s completely fair to put on your own website and LI profile that you will not discuss opens positions or accept resumes. I would also encourage (with a group of employees having the same issue) HR to add a standard note to every job lead (at the bottom, with the EEOC info) that candidates are only invited to apply through the company’s portal and reaching out to employees may result in the disqualification of their candidacy.
    What a headache for you!

  34. Stranger than fiction*

    Is anyone else seeing a theme of obnoxiousness lately? First there was the Op who got followed around conferences, then the Op that got followed around by a company where she didn’t accept a job, now this!

    1. Fergus Formerly Known as the Artist Fergus*

      We are at a new level of crazy, beyond Bat Shit Crazy, and I thought Bat Shit Crazy was the creme a la creme of crazy.

  35. Irene Adler*

    Maybe the employer should nix the job opportunities web site altogether. Then when they need to fill an opening, they hire an external recruiting company to do initial job candidate screens. No company names are revealed until at least the second interview. The job descriptions are written no differently than other jobs said recruitment company recruits for.

    What the OP describes is horrible. I would be seriously freaked out if job candidates contacted me-in any format.

    This company, while they have stellar benefits, needs to take the well-being of their employees more seriously. Crazy isn’t going to be contained by a “Don’t contact the employees or you’ll go on the Do Not Hire List” notice. Job seekers will go to greater and greater lengths to get ‘noticed’.

    1. Goya de la Mancha*

      “No company names are revealed until at least the second interview.”

      Off topic, but I would HATE this as I like to do my own research on a place before/after applying. That being said, I also wouldn’t track down rando employee and show up at their spouses place of work…

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yeah, you’re going to lose a lot of great applicants with this sort of secretive approach.

        1. Irene Adler*

          There’s no shortage of job applicants in this economy- despite the supposed low unemployment rate. The company will be fine.

          1. Observer*

            But there IS a shortage of GOOD applicants.

            No, the company will NOT be ok. Because only people who are desperate are going to consent to this. Also, there is no way that people that removed from the hiring company are going to be able to screen adequately. Lastly, decent people don’t treat job applicant like trash or criminals. And that’s exactly what this approach does. Which IS going to lead to a really bad change in company culture as well.

        2. bonkerballs*

          Yeah, I 100% would not apply for a job without knowing what the organization was first. To me that seems totally bonkers.

      2. Irene Adler*

        It’s a very common tactic for recruiting companies to use. The initial interview is just a screen where they learn the basics regarding whether you are a fit for the position (salary needs, interest in the position, cursory questions about skill set, acceptable answers to behavioral questions, etc.).

        Yes, you don’t get the chance to study up on them. And they know that.

        So if you are contacted for a second interview, you’ll be informed as to who they are, and have time to “study up” on them.

        1. McWhadden*

          It’s common but a terrible recruiting technique. They want the best people for the job not the ones who just happen to be willing to put up with shady BS from recruiters.

          There has to be some middle ground.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            It’s not “shady BS” for recruiters to keep the names of their clients confidential. It’s a good business practice. If I tell you that I’m submitting you for a position as Head Llama Groomer at Llamas Inc, you can turn around and apply there on your own and we lose out on the client paying the fee for finding you.

            1. McWhadden*

              It’s a good business practice for recruiters to make money for recruiters. It’s shady BS from any prospective employee POV. And you lose a lot of great candidates that way. It’s a terrible practice.

              I get that isn’t your problem. Someone gets hired. And you get your fee. But losing out on all of the great candidates who won’t put up with that kind of nonsense for one second hurts the clients in the long run. Which is why so many don’t choose to use recruiters.

            2. Oxford Coma*

              How do people job searching on the sly protect themselves in small industries when they can’t know to whom they are applying? You’re asking people to take a huge risk with their livelihood in many cases.

              1. Oxford Coma*

                ETA: And what about people with non-competes? If I was job searching, I would need to know up front that I was not applying to A, B, or C in order to avoid breaching my current employment agreement.

                1. Detective Amy Santiago*

                  You communicate that to the recruiter when you start working with them? It’s not that hard.

              2. Sacred Ground*

                Now I’m imagining the awkwardness of applying for a position and discovering it’s actually at your current employer who doesn’t know you’re looking for another job.

            3. Observer*

              It’s terrible business practice to do interviews without telling the interviewee who the position is with. And people with options won’t do those interviews. For the good and sufficient reasons that they have no really good reason to believe that there is actually a specific position in play. And, they have no reason to trust the recruiter – if you treat me like a liar, why would I think YOU would never lie?

        2. Jennifer Thneed*

          I’ll talk to a recruiter without knowing the company name, but I *insist* on knowing the location, and if they won’t tell me that, I don’t talk to them.

          I’m not asking for the mailing address! Just the city name! (Or neighborhood, for Local Big City.) I need to have an idea of what commute I’m looking at before it’s worth my time to talk on the phone. Most recruiters aren’t in my area and many haven’t even looked at a map to notice that bridges are a major part of the landscape, and this matters because bridges are bottlenecks.

          (It’s worth noting that I am always talking to external recruiters.)

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            I think that is perfectly reasonable.

            We usually don’t disclose the company name until they are ready to schedule an interview (whether via phone or in person), but we will give an address.

      3. Stranger than fiction*

        Yeah, while I get the sentiment behind it, it’s rather annoying when external recruiters act all cagey when asked what company this “amazing opportunity “ is with.

        1. Q*

          In my area, plenty of employers will remove you from the applicant pool if you get submitted for the same position by more than one recruiter–if I don’t know what company it is, I can’t talk to them anymore because I lost out on too many jobs.

        2. Starbuck*

          Maybe this is a common practice in some industries, but if I got a call about a position at a mystery company, I’d assume it’s some kind of scam and would hang up and block their number. But recruiters seem to be very uncommon in my field so I don’t have a good understanding of what the norms are. Mostly it’s my general distaste for unnecessary seeming middlemen that’s coloring my opinion here.

    2. Observer*

      No company name till the second interview? Seriously? I don’t think any candidate with good choices is going to be willing to interview under those circumstances. Nor should they.

    3. Bow Ties Are Cool*

      Ugh, no. They’d lose a ton of good candidates who don’t want to wade through recruiter BS. Every time I’ve worked with a recruiter, I’ve been very clear: I’m looking for *at least* $X for a permanent llama grooming position in Downtown or South MajorCity, and they come back with “I got you an interview on Tuesday for a cat wrangling 1-year contract gig in Deepest Exurb that pays $X-minus-15K!”

      Also, I’m not wasting my time on an interview for an unknown company. There are companies that you just don’t want to work for, why would I bother getting all prepped for an interview only to find out that it was with EvilCorp?

  36. Catabodua*

    This situation stinks for OP. She doesn’t want to go nuclear on people and then have that hurt her freelance business, and the same for her husband. One bad Yelp review by a disgruntled candidate could do some real damage to his business.

  37. Elizabeth West*

    Is this company putting something in the job posting? They really should. At the top, it should say in big bold letters:

    We only accept applications submitted through our Career portal at [http coolcompany apply dot com]. Materials sent by any other means will be immediately discarded.

    Put this on EVERY job posting, on every platform. That may cut down on some of it. Indeed and LinkedIn listings should have an option to bypass applying through them. I know sometimes when I click on Apply Now links there, the website directs me to the companies’ career pages and I have to create an account, etc. directly with them.

    If they’re not doing this, they’re putting the burden on the employees to redirect these candidates, and that’s not right. If they are and it’s still happening, then I agree with other commenters–they should provide some guidance to employees on how to redirect people who keep doing this.

    1. Irene Adler*

      Good thought.

      But some job seekers won’t let this deter them. Some job seekers strive to make that all-important personal contact- no matter what. They figure their disregard of the rules will be forgiven because they possess the perfect skill set that turns heads and impresses all.

      I say, take the job opportunities site down-completely. Hire a recruiting company to do the hiring. Don’t reveal the hiring company name until at least the second interview. Write the job postings in same language as all other job postings from said recruiting company.

      The current hiring format is placing a hugely unfair burden on the employees. I’m sure the OP isn’t the only employee going through this -to greater or lesser degrees. Asking employees to deflect the job seekers and steer them to their web site isn’t going to stop crazy.

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        But people like this will still send their resumes even if there aren’t any posted job openings. They’ll try to wrangle “informational interviews” and other supposed backdoor ways in.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      In a comment upthread, the LW says Our company website and job postings stress that applicants have to follow a set process, but it doesn’t seem to deter them. But this statement probably needs to be stronger. Instead of just “you need to follow this process,” it also needs to say “and if you don’t follow this process, you’ll be added to our do not hire list.”

      1. Fergus Formerly Known as the Artist Fergus*

        I have told one company to add me to their DO NOT HIRE LIST, but they still contact me.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      Yeah this is a great idea if Op has any standing to suggest it/they’re receptive to it.

    4. Anna Bella*

      I came here to say this. While I was in J-School many moons ago, I had a *very glamorous* internship at the local newspaper creating employment ads for companies who published in our paper. Occasionally employers would request some verbiage to this effect, also adding “no phone calls or drop-ins please.”

      Some will violate the rules anyway, but those are the same people who apply for jobs they were never qualified for and are usually easy to weed out. Anyone with a strong enough sense of judgment to be competitive in a sought-after field would take a hint. So, at the very least, it may reduce the number of “stalkers.”

    5. MsSolo*

      I wonder if going for an anonymised application process would help? It’s increasingly common in the UK to prevent unconscious (and conscious!) bias and avoid nepotism. The hiring committee don’t get any names, addresses etc until after candidates are selected for interview, so they don’t know if you “showed gumption” or came heavily recommended by your mum’s bff from high school or stalked the graphic designer’s husband. There are issues with it as a process (applicants with literacy issues or poor computer skills are more likely to get filtered out where a recommendation might have helped move them to the stage where their relevant skills would shine) but it’s shown to have a dramatic effect in tackling race and gender biases.

      “As part of our proactive anti-discrimination policy, all resumes and applications will be anonymised before being passed to the hiring committee in order to ensure candidates are judged purely on their skills and experience.”

  38. Bea*

    Ef these people. I would just continue to bin the crap they send and tell them you’re not taking calls about the position at your freelance number.

    I agree with the comment above these people are the kind who will turn around and put up fake reviews on Yelp or Google because they’re out of touch and grossly entitled. So the less engaging the better.

    I’m sorry you have to deal with these idiots.

  39. Rusty Shackelford*

    Normally, I just don’t respond, but I have to turn my phone off or it rings all day and it’s really annoying.

    I know that if you have an iPhone, you can put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and only allow incoming calls from people you want to hear from (i.e., your Favorites list, or a particular group of contacts). Doing this, plus recording an outgoing voice mail message that says “If you’re calling about a position at AwesomeCo, please contact their HR department at xxx-xxx-xxxx; I will not forward resumes from people I don’t know who contact me at this number,” would be a temporary fix. And then get a second phone number, or a Google number, for your freelance business.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Meant to add: I’m sure you can do this on other phones as well. I just don’t know how it works.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        On recent versions of Android, you go to Settings > Sound > Do not disturb preferences > Priority only allows > Calls > From contacts only

        I think you can then set different Do not disturb schedules.

    2. Yetanotherjennifer*

      You can do that, but don’t expect it to be foolproof. One time I was given a phone number that had belonged to a house painter. At first I passed along the calls. Then I changed my outgoing message to provide the painter’s new contact info. I still got messages for him. People just don’t listen that well. One caller even went so far as to say she didn’t have a pen and paper handy and told me, didn’t ask, to have him call her.

  40. ToAnonOrNotToAnon*

    Since this is so far into the real of wtf, what if the company makes a dummy email as a point of contact. This suggestion looks super ridiculoulous in writing but then again the whole situation is so?!?

    So the job posting could say “please apply at www superawesomecompany dot com, or email JanetFaun @ awesomecompany dot com with any questions.” Someone would have to still check the email and such but it might give people “someone” to bother who can’t be stalked/have family members contacted/etc. If something viable comes in through it, an actual staff member could take up as their contact point. Rotate names as needed/claim you haven’t updated your employee directory recently.

    Honestly this is just random spitballing at this point, based on maybe some people just want to make contact with a “person” rather than a “portal to nowhere.”

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      The IT folks can totally make an email address redirect to someone else behind the scenes.

      Also group email addresses: I’ve worked places where my department had a generic email that other departments used and we could all check, and we also had personal email addresses.

  41. SpaceNovice*

    I like the idea of a disclaimer on the OP’s website that does not list the company with a disclaimer also on the main company’s job listings and website. Maybe even create acknowledgement pages that applicants will not harass employees regarding jobs on the company site and another that people will not use her contact page to attempt to circumvent the process.

    This is not a problem the OP should be dealing with alone. This has to be dealt with by upper management. Word needs to get out that this is Not Cool and that someone Should Not Do This. Maybe ask a candidate or two who made them think that this was a good idea (local “job guru”?) and then send that person a cease and desist letter. Someone might want to research if there’s an external factor that’s raising the harassment to this level besides just being a good company.

    I hope your company can find out a solution that cuts down the harassment (if there is one), because this truly sounds awful!

  42. a1*

    I wonder if the opposite approach would help. Let them know how not unique they are by doing this. Husband says “You’re the 20th one today. That’s lower than yesterday, so far.” Or OP could say (if she answers a call or email, though I understand why she doesn’t/wouldn’t). “You’re the 50th caller today. And that’s just to me.” They could even add something at the end like some of the above comments about it not helping/being a hinderance or something.

    1. AKchic*

      I like this approach, followed by a “No, I won’t take your resume/application” without even bothering to wait for them to offer it.

      GumptionApplicant comes in, resume in hand: “Hi, I’d like to give you my resume for Position at X Corp.”
      Husband: “You’re the 15th person so far today to try this stalker tactic. No, I won’t take your resume unless you’re applying for my open cashier position. I am not affiliated with X Corp.”

  43. Free Meerkats*

    LW, see above for my recommendation for your husband.

    Were I in your shoes, I’d talk to HR and strongly suggest the language that has been presented by several here on the ads. I’d also suggest they set up an email address specifically for employees to forward applications they get to so they can be removed from consideration and make that known to all employees and encourage them to use it. No one wants to be saddled with working with someone this bad at following direction.

    For those who call you, as soon as you know they are calling for this reason, hang up and block the number, no explanation needed or deserved.

  44. Sherlock's Sister*

    OP this happens to me all the time. The company I work for is small, rarely hires, and is known as “the opportunity of a lifetime” to work for. It’s unfortunate and you’re right, it all stems from the bad advice and desperation to be hired. It’s almost as if some of the applicants turn off the rational sides of their brains! The worst experience I had was before I met my husband I had men messaging me on online dating websites, trying to get me to talk them up to my boss! Of course after a date or two, trying not to seem obvious. It won’t ever stop unfortunately. Combating it by making yourself as anonymous as possible helps somewhat, but you being a freelancer that won’t work too well. I made my Facebook undiscoverable, got rid of my twitter, and deleted my LinkedIn. Make an obvious note on your website about the purpose of your website, and tell your husband to outright just say no to the people who ask! Make your responses curt and blunt, without being mean. The hardest part I have is remembering the applicants don’t mean to be rude and obnoxious, they’re often following very bad advice.

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      I saw a line like this somewhere yesterday:

      They’re not being obnoxious on purpose, but they’re still achieving obnoxiousness. This is the ol’ “outcome matters more than intent”. Also known as “you break it you buy it”.

  45. Still Figuring Out a Good User Name*

    Maybe look into something like a Google Voice number, which has some more complex call screening options.

  46. Delta Delta*

    It strikes me that if people are doing this to LW, they are also doing it to lots of other people who work at this company. Yikes.

  47. Drama Llama*

    Can I just say as a hiring manager, this kind of “gumption” is unwelcome and will hurt your chances rather than help.

    While talking to an applicant I realised mid way through phone screening she wasn’t suitable for the job (poor communication skills, reluctant to commit to the shift hours, etc). I told her I would contact her after we make decisions on interviews. Less than a couple of hours later she tracked down my cellphone number and called me twice. When I didn’t pick up, she sent a text message saying she was waiting for me to call her about the interview. She also mentioned she was “staying at a hotel near the company for $300/night to wait for an interview.”

    I sent her a polite decline email. A couple of weeks later she emailed again saying she tried to call me repeatedly and that she was waiting for me to contact her to give her another chance.

    On a personal level I sympathise with her situation – she is obviously trying hard to look for a job – but as a prospective employer, this is really off putting. Even if she was an otherwise good candidate I would decline her. This pattern of communication signals she doesn’t understand professional norms, she’s too pushy, and doesn’t respect boundaries or other people’s timing. And ultimately, desperation is not a good selling point.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I had someone I worked with briefly at OlcToxicJob apply for a position at CurrentJob last year. I was not terribly impressed with her work at OldToxicJob and said as much to my boss at CurrentJob who decided to pass on interviewing her.

      She reached out to me on FB and basically harassed me to put in a good word for her with my boss. I told her that by acting the way she was, I was less inclined to help her, and she doubled down and got nasty. So I blocked her and marked her in our system as a “DO NOT EVER HIRE”.

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      > She also mentioned she was “staying at a hotel near the company for $300/night to wait for an interview.”

      Doubt it. I’ll bet this was a lie, and was another way to signal her incredible eagerness, thinking somehow that you’d be impressed by it.

  48. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    If your husband is willing to go the evil genius route, he could probably sell a lot of stuff without actually promising anything. “A resume for my wife’s company? Hmm. By the way, we have some amazing llama pajamas in tons of patterns, from ladybug to Darth Vader. This is our best line in organic free-trade silk.” If you have idiots willing to spend a thousand dollars on a job search, why should Facebook get all their money?

    Even better if he has employees. Simply offer them a commission on everything they sell to someone who drops off a resume for awesomecompany, but only if your husband doesn’t have to deal with them.

    Don’t actually do this. Probably.

  49. Stranger than fiction*

    I’m dying to know what kind of companies are such awesome employers they elicit this kind of behavior.

    1. Principal Debs*

      It is very common in Education. When there’s a “good” school with “good openings” it happens a lot.

      1. Charlotte*

        Aw, good! I was dying to know what perks and benefits are being offered that would cause this.

        1. McWhadden*

          LW discusses this above. They pay 100% of healthcare, unlimited PTO, encourage people to take that PTO, give travel stipends, allow work from home.

  50. Technical_Kitty*

    It’s too bad OP’s company hasn’t put a notice about harassing current employees in the ad’s. Like “don’t bug people who work here, you will be disqualified from consideration for doing so”.

  51. Principal Debs*

    I feel the OP on this one. I’m a principal at a pretty well known (for the area) high school. Lots of teachers, coaches, paras, etc want to work at my school. A lot of resumes get submitted through the district’s online system, but many people think that contacting me or contacting one of my teachers will get them “ahead of the line.”

    I’m not sure where this mentality is coming from, but it is very off-putting.

    1. Cochrane*

      I think it’s a pretty common notion that is usually has some basis in reality: highly desirable jobs are really filled by “who-you-know” cronyism/nepotism while the public collection of resumes and interviews are a smokescreen to hide that fact. While you’re spinning your wheels with the ATS surrounded by all the other pikers playing the losers game, the real winners are up in the hiring managers office making deals.

      If you so badly wanted a job at this company, which would you rather do? Send a resume with the rest of the thousands of applicants hoping for an interview jackpot or do something that you think is novel to make you stand out?

      I’m not endorsing this behavior, but I remember from my own job searches that desperation can push people to do all sorts of cringe-worthy things.

  52. Penny Lane*

    “I expect to get these messages on my LinkedIn or company email, but am I wrong in thinking that stalking me out and trying to contact me via personal contact info (or my husband) is way out of line? Is there a way to sharply tell them that this is not okay? ”

    Why are people so tentative and afraid to use their words? Of COURSE this is not okay, and of COURSE one can tell them sharply and pointedly that this is inappropriate and no, you will not take their resume!

    1. ArtK*

      Yup. Someone crossing boundaries like this deserves only the minimum in politeness — as in not getting cussed out. OP and her husband need to practice an icy glare and “I’m afraid that won’t be possible.” Then disengage. There’s no opening for discussion.

      With people like this, I strongly recommend against JADE-ing. (Justify Argue Defend Explain.) With normal people an excuse or reason will just soften the blow. For the folks with “gumption,” it’s just an opening to negotiate. “Can’t you make an exception for meeeeeee???” “I’m sure it’s ok if you pass my resume on.”

      As the lady said, just say “no.”

  53. Schnapps*

    So, let me get this straight.

    People are going in to her husband’s business and giving him their resume to forward along. The resume presumably has mailing, phone and contact information.

    I see many email list sign ups in their future.

  54. sally*

    I feel I should add in defence of the candidates (and this is dependant on their age) that some university career services actually recommend stuff like this. I have never done it myself because I recognised it was bad advice but I have been advised to buy facebook adverts, find out ways of contacting people outside the normal channels to stand out etc.

    Of course it is still out of line but I think most of these people have been badly advised rather than they personally are being creepy and stalkerish. Of course if these are not new graduates this is less applicable.

    1. sally*

      I should point out the only reason I realised this is not OK myself is from reading this website. Otherwise as a new job seeker I would probably be trusting the advice the careers centre gave me. I have seen many posts talking about how bad the advice from some careers centres is so I assume others are giving out the same bad advice. Which makes me angry because they are actively harming the chances of job seekers who take their advice.

      1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

        Same here, even though I’m not a new job seeker! Someone around my age gave me the advice to call after applying, “to make sure you stand out”. I’m so thankful for this site because I knew definitely NOT to do that. Maybe this advice worked once upon a time, but it doesn’t work today at all. It’s heartbreaking and disgraceful that young people starting out are given such poor information.

  55. Oxford Coma*

    Before I agree with everyone else about how to make this stop…does your company offer you a referral fee? Because if you aren’t going to be able to stop these idiots, at least get them to type your name in their applications. Cast a wide net. A few hundred bucks here, a few hundred bucks there…

    *don’t actually do this

  56. Lady Catherine de Bourgh*

    While this behavior is counterproductive and obnoxious, I do feel for candidates. It’s so very hard to actually get your resume read amongst thousands of resumes, and if you’re not lucky enough to have personal connections to great companies, you get shut out of a huge percentage of opportunities. It can feel hopeless for a job seeker sometimes.

  57. Laura H*

    If there’s ONE THING I’ve taken from this website- it’s that gumption (of this nature; that is far out of bounds in the work world) should be a four letter word… so to speak. Thank you for that, Alison!

    Now if only we could get this thru to the boneheaded people still giving this gumption advice!! (And my parents, but that’s a topic on its own that’s got no place here.)

  58. Chriama*

    The person who tracked your husband down needs to be told in no uncertain terms that it was highly inappropriate and they should leave if they don’t want the police called, plus any further attempt at contact will result in a restraining order being filed. That’s beyond the pale! And while I can sympathize with a naive grad getting terrible advice, I think the extreme reaction is a good even just to drive the point home about what a terrible idea it was. Moderating the reaction might make them think it wasn’t *that* bad, but it really was.

    1. OP#5 (how do you work at home with cats)*

      I agree 100% with Chriama. It’s way out of bounds and downright creepy. Stalking like behavior should disqualify the stalker immediately, IMO.

      About a decade ago a former co-worker “Tori” who was a bully and had serious boundary issues wanted to return to the job she had previously quit. Tori inherited money after a relative died so she quit, moved to Las Vegas and lost all the money. Then a year later, she returns and is begging for her job back.

      Anyway, Tori harassed the person “Jane” who had her old job to the point it triggered medical issues with Jane. Jane was so shaken up she needed to take some time off. It was just a week but she filed FMLA paperwork which included details as to the cause. While Jane was out, her supervisor went through proper channels to trespass Tori from the property. Jane was relieved when she returned to work and all was quiet for about a year.

      I had moved on to a new job and one day received a phone call from someone who still worked for former employer. Turns out Tori applied for multiple jobs at old employer and didn’t even get an interview. Tori got so obsessed that she stalked a hiring manager and the hiring manager’s family on a weekend. The hiring manager didn’t realize it until she used a restroom at a restaurant and when she came out of the stall, Tori and another woman had barricaded the door and wouldn’t let the hiring manager leave. Tori interrogated the hiring manager for close to thirty minutes demanding to know why no one would hire her. The hiring manager feared for her life and charges were filed. Tori is permanently blacklisted and trespassed from the business and property.

  59. Chriama*

    I think this is also something your company can address in their job postings or on their hiring site. A message like “Some candidates have directly contacted XYZ employees to inquire about open positions. We value the privacy of our employees and ask that you respect the hiring process. Any candidate found to have attempted to circumvent this process by seeking out the personal information of our employees will be permanently removed from consideration for positions at XYZ Corp.”

    It’s a little aggressive and maybe there’s a nicer way to phrase it. But if multiple people are going so far as to stalk employees and their husbands then I think it’s warranted, as long as the phrasing is focused on respecting the privacy of employees. Sometimes people are so obsessed with what they want that they forget about what their actions look like from another perspective. Hearing that their “gumption” is actually violating another person’s privacy might help them reframe that. Also, OP could link to that message on her freelance website and it might help to have the “authority” of the company behind her statement.

    1. Clever Name*

      I actually think this is an excellent idea.

      Up-thread a bit, Allison implied that a statement telling people not to contact current employees could discourage legitimate networking. I like this phrasing, because it is clear – Don’t search out current employees that you don’t already know. If I saw that, but I had a friend or former colleague who worked there, I would feel comfortable contacting the current employee who already knows me. But only if it is someone I actually know – a genuine outside of work friend or a former colleague that I worked closely with. That disclaimer would make me think twice about calling someone I met at a networking event or something.

  60. Caledonia*

    This is totally obnoxious.

    Also, I don’t think this is just an OP/LW problem, it’s a company one and if the OP has other colleagues that have been stalked they should all band together and raise it as a group.

  61. LizM*

    Would it be possible to list one phone number and email on your website, but have the phone go straight to voicemail that you only check once or twice a day?

    And have a second phone and email that you give to clients once you’ve established a relationship?

    This wouldn’t help your husband, but could at least help you avoid interruptions throughout the day, and help you screen applicants’ calls while giving your clients a way to get through.

  62. mid-twenties traveler*

    i am so curious about what company this is? like what on earth are these magical perks?

  63. EleonoraUK*

    For OP #5 I’d go one step further. On the freelance website, I’d redirect people to official channels and make it clear that contacting you about Company X jobs through your freelancing contact details will actively disqualify them from the hiring process, even if they also apply on the official website.

  64. Irene Adler*

    Maybe you could discourage folks if you charged them a ‘transfer fee’ to deliver their resume to HR, say $2,500 or so. Even better, your hubby, when he’s confronted with one of these folks, could ask for this up front. Hey, if they are going to make your life miserable, you should at least profit from it.

  65. Bow Ties Are Cool*

    Wow. If I were the LW or the husband and were approached through channels outside the company, I’d tell these folks flat out: “What you are doing is unprofessional and frankly creepy. If you contact me again I will forward your information to Company X HR with a request that you be added to the Do Not Hire list.” Let them know these tactics won’t work.

  66. blondie*

    OP#3 Is your dog REALLY a service animal or is this yet another case of someone registering their pet as such to get the benefits? Sorry if that sounds accusatory but it’s so common to see that kind of abuse of the system I think it’s warranted.

    I ask because if I was your office mate and suspected the dog’s presence was technically legal but not ethically legal (i.e. just a pet with some extra paperwork) I’d be furious with you and spend a great deal of my energy at work figuring out a way to put a stop to the dog being allowed at work.

    If it’s legitimate then legally you have nothing to worry about but I’d try to accommodate the office mate even if she’s not asking you to—she may feel awkward or shy about making a big deal of her fear (which is probably embarrassing for her).

  67. Specialist*

    I am late to the party again. However, I think I would actually ask a few of these people why they chose to stalk you as they have. Perhaps there is some quasi-expert out there recommending this method and your contact information is being spread around through some sort of, admittedly bad, job searching advice forum. If you can identify the source you can contact them and tell them how incredibly inappropriate this is. Perhaps you could even convey that this contact out of the official channels thing is causing these people to be black listed at your company.

  68. Freelancer*

    sounds like Buffer or some equally popular company. So sorry you have to deal with this kind of harassment.

  69. TokenArchaeologist*

    As someone who is currently job searching, and who has seen ALL the official advice about finding a job from the local university and county unemployment office, I find this letter and this whole thread so disheartening. Its horrible that the OP has to deal with job openings at her day job interfering in her personal life, and totally inappropriate. And shutting these advances down is the right/appropriate thing to do. But I also feel bad for the people who are resorting to these means to find a job, because I know first hand the advice that is being given out. If I hear the “*80% of jobs are never advertised” statistic one more time… All of the places you go to for advice are spouting it, and then emphasizing networking non stop. But almost nowhere actually gives you concrete advice on how to network, and expand your network in a genuine way that is not stalkery/smarmy. Add in that resumes and cover letters are usually only being skimmed. And people are telling you anecdotes about people organizing a meeting with a high up in such and such company to ask for a job, and it working. (I have watched in horror as someone delivered such an anecdote to a room full of interns.) Then you add in all the “gumption” and “boot straps” talk that is going around. Looking at North America in very broad strokes, we tend to we put a lot of emphasis on people’s jobs when determining their self worth. You end up with applicants who are desperate to find work and constantly being told in one way or another that they are not doing enough/enough of the right thing to be able to find a job. If you are looking for a job and turn to official and free channels for help right now its an emotional/mental beating. Desperation and fear lead to people doing some really stupid stuff. (As this all shows). So here’s a question for this group: how do we change this? Is there a way to address the underlying issues that are causing the problem that OP has brought to our attention? The way I see it the issue OP is dealing with is a symptom of a much, much bigger problem.

    1. Goya de la Mancha*

      I don’t know the “desperate for a job” thing applies in this case. I agree with you that it’s unfortunate and a problem, but I think the fact that OP is at a company that has great benefits/perks is driving everyone and anyone to try to get in. A lot of those candidates may be happily employed elsewhere, but if you had a chance (even a small one) at 100% healthcare and unlimited vacation….you’d be crazy not to apply.

  70. Marie*

    I was told from my career center at my university to call personal phone and show up in front of hiring managers houses. The worst part of this advice is that university has many forgin national students. Career center push these method by saying, “This is American way. You should do what American do to get hired!”
    Students who are new to America can’t sence this a red flag and might cause arrest…

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