Desperation is Not a Marketable Soft Skill

No-one-ever-hires-a-stalkerYou’re looking for a job. Or maybe more accurately: you really need a job… now.

You’ve tried everything, and it seems no one recognizes your potential; that you’d be a great employee… at any company, for any work! All you need is for someone to see you for what you are. Right?

Trouble is, they may already have seen the “real” you. If you’ve done any of the following, they may already have classified you, no matter how well you might be able to do the job on paper, as desperate:

  • Applied for the same job more than once
  • Called or emailed more than once in any 72 hour period to “check on your application”
  • Visited Human Resources in person just to make sure they received your resume
  • Within one week of the in-person interview, called or emailed more than twice to check on your status as a candidate
  • Left message after message after message for the recruiter… even though you’ve received no correspondence from the person that interviewed you

Yes, you want to be perceived as eager, and passionate. However, you don’t want to cross the line and go from being perceived as a high-quality, professional candidate – to being placed in the desperate bucket.

Desperate shows. On your face, in your body language, in your voice and the words you choose in emails. Recruiters spot it a mile away. And they don’t hire the desperate.

Follow these guidelines, and you’ll stay top of mind with the recruiter… without raising red flags:

While submitting your application and pursuing an interview:

  • Apply once online for only those jobs that meet your qualifications; do not apply repeatedly – trust us, the recruiter received your application
  • Follow-up by phone 72 hours after your application; express your interest and ask to speak directly with the hiring manager or recruiter
  • One week after the application was sent, follow up via snail-mail with a cover letter and high-quality resume
  • If you still don’t hear anything in return… accept the fact they are not interested – move on

After the interview:

  • Within 48 hours of the interview, send a digital thank you (email or DM tweet) expressing your interest
  • Within one business week, make one follow-up phone call to the recruiter
  • If you do not speak directly to the recruiter during that call, and do not hear from them within the next 48 hours after your initial call, send a snail-mail thank you card and succinctly state how you are a great fit for the company’s culture, and are the best candidate
  • If you were told that a decision would be made or you would hear back by a certain date, follow Steven Levy’s “Promised Plus 1” rule
  • If you still do not hear anything in return… accept the fact they are not interested and move on to the next company on your target list (you do have a list of employers you want to target, right?)

Be eager. Exhibit your passion. However, desperation is not a “soft skill” sought after by employers – so also show patience and professionalism. You’ll avoid the desperate label – and get that second interview, and a job!





Mark Babbitt AuthorAbout the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable and Forbes regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Switch and Shift, and Under30CEO.

Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors,” HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and CareerBliss’ “Top 10 Gen Y Career Experts.” Mark is currently working on two new books: “A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive (AMACOM, August 2014) with Ted Coine and “The Ultimate Guide to Internships (And Making Your College Years Matter Again)” (Allworth, September 2014). Questions? Contact Mark on Twitter.



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