Being a Pest is not Just Permissible it is Required
I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard from the unemployed, I do not want to be a pest. They may get angry with me and reject me.
If you want to get the attention of a prospective employer, you may very well have to be a pest, a nice persistent pest but a pest none the less.
You may reach out to a prospective employer by sending an email or calling them and leaving a voicemail and then you get nothing, it feels like a black hole.
Many of you will stop right there and give up. No, you need to be persistent.
Check out my post called 3 Steps to Get the Hiring Manager or Recruiter to Respond which explains that it sometimes takes 3 touches to get a response. You are being a pest!
The reality is you have no idea why some hiring managers or recruiters have not responded.
Let me give you some recent examples.
Dragging Their Feet Hiring Example
Sometimes, hiring organizations just drag out the hiring process for a whole variety of reasons:
- Budget issues
- Disagreement on what would make a good candidate
- Turf war on who this position will report to
- Changing market conditions
- Hiring manager goes on vacation
- Recruiter’s mother gets ill and has to take 2 weeks off to take care of her
- Hiring manager’s dog gets attacked by a pit bull and drops everything to take care of her dog
I can tell you all of these have happened and none of these reasons would have been evident to you.
Sam is a member of the Career Pivot Community and had multiple job opportunities that just went dormant. He had not heard anything from any of them in a couple of months.
By not being a pest and following up, he started to suffer from MSU disorder, he just made stuff up in his head.
Follow Up Email
Sam sent the following email to all of these dormant opportunities:
Dear hiring manager or recruiter,
I have not heard from you in several months. I wanted to follow up with you and see if I am still in the running because I have several other opportunities in the pipeline.
If I am no longer being considered please let me know and let me know if I can be of any help in filling the position.
This follows the process described in the post 3 Steps to Get the Hiring Manager or Recruiter to Respond where when you offer the hiring manager an out, and you are still in the running, they will respond immediately.
He sent 5 emails and received 3 emails back in less than a day stating that each opportunity was still open and he was being considered. In all 3 situations, the hiring organizations were dragging their feet in the hiring process.
Why did he not follow up sooner? He did not want to be a pest.
He is now following the poke, poke and poke some more method of follow up. Be a persistent pest, a nice pest but still a pest.
Overly Busy CEO
Charles is also a member of the Career Pivot Community and is executing a long-distance job search. He wants to find a job before he makes a move, and one of his most recent visits to the place where he wants to relocate, he met the CEO of a company that was a really good fit for Charles. The CEO was looking for a VP of operations, he was in his early 50s, Charles is around 60 years of age, and they really hit it off.
The CEO told Charles to look him up the next time he was in town. Before his next visit, Charles sent the CEO an email and got no response. He later texted him and did get a non-committal response about getting together.
Charles made the trip and could not arrange a meeting. He continued to text the CEO regularly, every 3-5 days.
CEO eventually got back to Charles and set up a meeting. What surprised Charles was that the CEO thanked him for being so persistent. The CEO told him that he was really a marketer and did not know much about operations. He knew he needed a really good operations person but kept putting it off. It was Charles being a pest that eventually got him an interview.
Charles will be waiting on the outcome of that interview in the coming weeks by still being a pest.
It is Okay to be a Pest
Just like in Charles situation, the CEO appreciated his persistence. Charles did not know that the CEO was just procrastinating about hiring a VP of Operations. How would he have known?
When we do not know something or there is a void in our knowledge about a situation, we all have the habit of wanting to fill that void or Make Stuff Up.
Instead, we can be a pest and poke and poke and poke. Remember I said to be a nice pest but be persistent so that you can fill that void in your knowledge.
You may not get a response and you will probably never know why. More often than not, being a pest will get you a response.
Have you been a pest? Has it paid off for you?Marc Miller
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Being a pest makes me think you’re desperate. I don’t want to hire someone who is desperate, because desperate people do dumb things – like take a job to keep their belly full, and then quit as soon as they can get the job they want.
I run a retained executive search firm. Clients pay me to find people who are superior, and who will stay with them for years.
An unemployed candidate got word Friday that I’m working on a job near his home town.
In 24 hours, I received an email, a Linked In Inmail and two other contacts from him. He’s unemployed. Now he doesn’t look eager, he looks desperate. I was a bit interested when I received his first contact. After contact #4, his pestiness and and an investigation of the companies for which he has worked had made me wonder how long he’ll stay with my client, and whether he’ll drive them crazy instead of leading the company. I’m wondering if he knows how to play with others.
Best is to follow up as any sales professional would. Four contacts in 24 hours is three too many. Would you buy from someone who made 4 unsolicited contacts in 24 hours?
My rule would be to either initially call or send an email. If you emailed, call no earlier than 3 days later, and better 5 to 7 days later. If you emailed, call back using the same time gap if you called at first.
Then sit tight and wait another week before additional follow up.
More than that and you’re a pest, and you have blown it with me.
From the other end, if you wait two or three weeks, I’ll have forgotten about you. You’re starting over.
One critical rule that I stick to – respond to all solicited emails within one business day. That’s simply good business practice, even if it is to say some thing as simple as, “I received your email, and will be very busy for the rest of the week. Can I get back to you on Friday?”