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Stalking the Hiring Manager is Not a Good Career Strategy

A job candidate hadn’t heard from the hiring manager within a week as promised. So the candidate called every half hour. He ended up calling 18 times.

“The interviewer considered it harassing behavior and didn't move forward with the candidate,” Lynne Sarikas, MBA career services director tells eFinancialCareers.

Stalking is just one of many types of behavior detested by hiring managers and recruiters. Here’s a selected list of pet peeves of hiring managers and recruiters to avoid if you’re seeking work:

Errors, Grammatical or Otherwise

“Don't write about your attention to detail and then send a resume and or cover letter with typos or grammatical errors,” says Sarikas. “Employers expect you to put your best foot forward. Most hiring managers will automatically discard candidates with errors on their resumes and cover letters.”

Adds Eric Pratum, head of marketing and part-owner of “I love to be familiar with people and learn about them as a person outside of work as much as the next person, but when I post a job description, I often get hundreds of responses, and I don't need to try to dig through an applicant’s poor writing, lack of spelling skills or discussions of things unrelated to the job posting. It's best if they just get to the point so that I can have a favorable impression of them and make a decision more quickly.”

Speaking in Generalities, Not Specifics

"Candidates should have thought through several specific examples for each strength they want to highlight and each thing the job description addresses,” says Pennell Locey, vice president for Keystone Associates, a career management firm. “Don't tell me, 'I am a strong project manager.' Tell me, ‘I am proud to have often received feedback that I am particularly good getting project teams aligned and energized, which has meant I have often been selected for project startups and rescues.’”

Missing the Basics

“They have a poorly written resume without tangible accomplishments, they don't research the company they are interviewing with, they show up to an interview without questions, they don't send a follow up note and they lack enthusiasm overall about the opportunity,” says Lauren Holzer, a recruiting manager for Vocus, a software company. “It's so important for job seekers to stay engaged throughout the entire interviewing process in order to make a lasting impression.”

Resorting to Unprofessional Tactics

“Those who resort to ‘cute’ over the top measures often find that those approaches backfire,” says Sarikas. “Don't send the hiring manager flowers, a cookie bouquet or any other gift. Do not do anything outside the realm of [being a] business professional or you will be making the wrong impression.
 While it is important in the job search process to be remembered, candidates want to be remembered positively. Over the top measures do not lead to positive impressions. If you annoy the HR staff or the hiring manager, you will not advance in the process. Also, remember a simple thank you goes a long way and can be a positive differentiator.”

Failing to Customize Your Application Package

“The first thing that job seekers do to turn me off is sending a clearly non-custom e-mail, cover letter, resume, or other piece of communication or material,” says Pratum. “I have a job opening for Position X with Y, Z, and F requirements, and my name is even on the posting. Yet, 90 percent of respondents send 'Dear Hiring Manager' or a similar salutation, don't reference the job specifically and talk about their great skills that probably don't match up with the requirements.”

AUTHORLekan Oguntoyinbo Insider Comment

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