Posted by Brian McCullough
The majority of the questions that come in to my Ask Brian feature continue to be along the same lines: how long should I wait to hear back; what does it mean if I don’t hear back from an employer; and how can I try to get them to respond to me without being annoying?
As you can see, the questions boil down to the issue of etiquette… how do you go after a job aggressively, without seeming too desperate. Without resorting to begging.
In short, when does eagerness become desperation.
I’ve tackled this question from different angles in the past… especially with this post.
But I thought, maybe I should go out and make sure my thoughts on this are still valid, especially given the current climate. So I touched base with four hiring managers that I’ve done business with over the years. They’re each in four different industries, and two are with major Fortune 500 companies.
Essentially, I asked them about job search etiquette. What sort of eagerness do they like to see? And when do job searchers cross the line? What makes a job seeker become annoying.
Their answers made sense to me, and it sort of summed up like this:
- Initially, eagerness for a job opportunity looks good on the job searcher. The recruiter wants to see, in fact, loves to see the prospect show excitement about the position in particular, or the company over-all.
- After you’ve submitted your resume and are looking to get interviewed, it’s ok to follow up. Again, this shows that you’re into the process. And hey, the hiring managers admitted to me, they’re not the best communicators sometimes. Gentle prodding is something they understand.
- This goes ditto for after the interview. If you’ve interviewed and just want to hear back, the hiring manager understands. A good point to keep in mind is that the person you’re communicating with, and even the person you interviewed with… they might not be the ones who can make the ultimate decision. They also might not know the ultimate timetable. Try to be understanding of this fact.
- You get annoying when they’ve given you a specific timetable and you ignore that timetable. If they tell you WHEN you’ll hear something, then don’t bug them before that point. And if they still have no info, don’t bug them every day. Give them some breathing room.
- Once you’ve heard the answer no, at any point in this process, let it go. At that point you’re really annoying if you start begging for other chances or other positions. In some cases, you were told no because you weren’t right for a specific position. You might be right for a different position, but if you were, the hiring manager would probably already have seen that and suggested it themselves. Sometimes you’re told no cause they just aren’t that into YOU.