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What a Pest!

A job search is the last place where you want to be annoying

➔ You just applied for a job. You want to hear back from the employer as soon as possible – yesterday whenever possible.

But you don’t hear back and you’re frustrated. You want to reach out to your contact three or four times a day. Everyone tells you that you must remain assertive – even aggressive – when following up.

But you know that somewhere out there, there is fine line. A line that you do not want to cross. You know that once you cross that line, you’re no longer an interested candidate – you’re a pest! And nobody likes a pest. And nobody wants to hire a pest.

Pests are impatient. Pests are annoying. Pests are disruptive (and not in a good way.) What’s more, pests are just downright rude.

No wonder no one likes them

So how do you know when you’ve crossed that line? Better yet, how do you determine where that line is before you cross it? What would Dale Carnegie say?

One of the general Dale Carnegie’s tenets is to put yourself in the other persons place.

They’re at work. They have more important things to do than to respond to you. They don’t want to be pestered by someone from outside the company – especially when there is nothing new to relate. They are not operating on your timeline. They have their own agenda, and it doesn’t necessarily jibe with yours. They don’t “owe” you a response.

If you’re going to contact them, be very specific about why you’re contacting them now, today. Of course you’re trying to find out about the job, but “just following up” isn’t compelling. Give them a good reason to respond. “I’m contacting you today because you suggested that I reach out to you before the end of the week.” That works.

But don’t issue them a deadline. “If I don’t hear back from you before…” They hold all the cards. They don’t need ultimatums from you.

Be mindful of their time. Recognize that it’s their agenda or timetable, not yours. Of course, the most basic rule of thumb in these situations is: use common sense.


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