Proactive or Borderline Stalker: When job applicants go down the wrong road to Stalkerville

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80622856They call. They email. Sometimes they even show up, bright-eyed and bushy tailed with resume in hand. Unannounced and with no appointment. (Fill in screechy Psycho music here.)

If you’re in recruiting, you know what I am talking about: the over-eager candidate bordering on the job stalker. These are people that have more perseverance than Dorothy ever had to discover just who it is behind the curtain of an Applicant Tracking System.

Frustrated by thanks (but no thanks) style auto-responders, desperate for work after extended unemployment, or OK, just a little weird, the over-eager candidate/job stalker may be nothing new to the world of recruiting. What is new is that the curtain has been pushed aside just a bit thanks to social media and particularly thanks to LinkedIn.

So when does a person who shows some gumption turn into something less appealing? On the flip side, is there too much of a dismissive attitude coming from HR that’s fueling some of these tactics?

When it comes down to it, whether you’re debating going all-stalker on a company for a job, or you’re dealing with the overwhelming flow of resumes and a ton of people wanting an answer, the whole process is really a two-way street, isn’t it?

First to the job seeker, rule number one: Don’t go all-stalker on a company. You’ll make people uncomfortable to say the least. “But isn’t that going to help me stand out from the crowd of resumes and get some attention? I’m awesome!” Oh yea you will get some attention, just not for the right reason.

What’s reasonable is to find someone you know that works for your target company. LinkedIn really makes this so easy for candidates and recruiters alike. This is typically one of the best ways to get to the top of the pile, plus by reaching out to someone you know at the company it may even turn into an employee referral bonus for them.

What’s not so reasonable is to try to use LinkedIn to reach everyone who works for the company to sing your praises and hope that one of them accepts your invite so you can then inundate them with inquiries about the job.

Respect and professionalism should always be your guiding forces. This is where we start driving down that two way street. There’s no doubt that we as human beings crave closure. If you are a job seeker, remember that the job opening you applied to likely resulted in hundreds of applications. Feedback and updates on a submission to a job may not always be possible. However, an inquiry (note I said “an inquiry” not a dozen) deserves a response, doesn’t it?

An automated one may not fulfill the job seekers’ craving, but please consider the alternative. Many people are already convinced their resume is going into a black hole. A quick response to someone who has applied or reached out to you directly only instills goodwill – that’s positive, low cost employer brand building at its most basic level.

What have your experiences been with the more “proactive” candidates out there? When are you impressed by gumption? When does it seem that a line has been crossed into Stalkerville? Let us know!


About Annette DeHaven

Annette DeHaven, Alstin's Vice President, Operations, serves as right hand woman for an impressive roster of clients. Known for addressing problems head-on, Annette, who's led by example for more than 15 years, remembers crazy statistics, regularly spouts off mind-bending metrics, and recalls just about every field description for birds you've never heard of.