If you want to stand out from the crowd, you've got to be memorable, right? Well, not if you end up annoying the hiring manager. Make sure you avoid these aggressive behaviors that could get you blacklisted.
If you see a few extra tri-color flags flying around the Sound today, it’s probably because local Francophiles are celebrating Bastille Day, the anniversary of the storming of the infamous medieval Parisian prison in 1789. By destroying this symbol of the monarchy, the mob set the country on a course for revolution and democracy.
It’s an inspiring historical event, but, as with so many moments of aggression, the upheaval that the Bastille crowds inspired had more than a few unintended consequences — namely the year-long “reign of terror” that sent more than 25,000 nobles to the guillotine and, eventually, Napoleon to Waterloo.
While being aggressive in your job search will almost certainly not lead to beheadings and empire-building, it’s important to remember that coming on too strong can easily backfire on you — just ask M. Robespierre. Here are some seemingly innocuous tactics to watch out for if you want to keep your head in the game — and your name off a recruiter’s blacklist.
Storming the barricades. Some job seekers have rightly targeted ideal employers for their search. But there’s targeting, and then there’s stalking. Some candidates will try to apply for every possible job opening at their chosen company, thinking that the law of averages will be on their side. But it really just makes the job seeker look desperate and out of touch. Stick to just two or three applications, and only for the positions for which you have actual qualifications. Which leads to the next bad habit …
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Applying for jobs out of your league. Padding your resume to make your experience look more impressive might get you an interview or two, but will likely not get past a well-trained hiring manager’s probing questions about accomplishments. At best, reaching too high, too soon makes you look unprofessional; at worst, it makes you look like a liar. Neither of these reputations will ever get you hired anywhere.
Pestering them with follow-ups. In most cases, hiring managers want to come to a decision just as badly as you do, but your badgering phone calls or emails every few days, asking about the progress, is not helping. Be patient and realize that the company is likely considering dozens of candidates and will get to you eventually. Unless you’re told otherwise, wait about two weeks before you even think about calling them directly.
The in-person ambush. During the Great Recession, I would see some advice columnists say it’s sometimes worth the risk to just show up at a company unannounced and ask for an interview, because your name, face and confidence will stick in the hiring manager’s mind. In some ways that’s true, but not for any reason you would want. Odds are the hiring manager will say, “Wow, that’s a rude individual who has no respect for my time or understanding of how offices work. Circular file for that one.” Don’t do it.