How to be Assertive in the Job Hunt & Not Cross the Line (As in Stalker)

There’s a fine line.

You apply to a job and interview and then hear crickets. You follow up two weeks after the first interview. Still no word. You follow up again and then start getting anxious, you call the recruiter as well.

According to Hannah Morgan in her U.S. News & World Report blog post, even if you think your behavior is one thing, it’s all about how it’s being received by the person on the other end.

She writes, “The reality is, what one person may consider pushy, another person may consider demonstrating your interest. Your message is being interpreted by the receiver, and each receiver has personal preferences. Your goals are to try to meet the unique preferences and needs of the person who will be listening to your voicemail or receiving your email.”

It’s also about the messaging. Be polite when following up with recruiters and show empathy for their workload. If you’re calling them, you may be among 100 other candidates calling as well.

Her advice? “If you do not get a response to your message, following up one week later for an update on the status of their screening process is also not out of line, as long as your wording is courteous. Giving up is a choice you may be faced with.”

As for stalking, it could happen during the process so please don’t be that guy or gal. The unwanted or obsessive attention may culminate even after you get a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” message. At that point it would be prudent to stop following up.

If you haven’t gotten a response though you can find alternative ways to show your interest rather than tweeting the recruiter at his or her personal account, emailing, calling, InMailing on LinkedIn, the works. For starters, you can tweet the company’s page instead of an individual’s.

Another way to be assertive by not overly aggressive occurs after the interview. During your interview you should ask about next steps in the process and when it’s appropriate to follow up. Three days can turn into three weeks, people take vacations or don’t get to sync up their calendars for group consensus and jobs may take a longer time to fill.

The delay may have absolutely nothing to do with your candidacy but be patient. Be persistent and know that you’ve done all you can to take ownership of your part in the process.