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Proactive vs. Desperate Job Search Behavior: 5 Ways to Tell the Difference


Kamna | Posted on 2018-01-01

In a competitive job market, certain behaviors and qualities tend to stand out and leave a strong impression. These include social boldness, extroversion, a willingness to take risks and a willingness to show extreme enthusiasm and dedication to an employer. But unfortunately, not all of us actually possess these traits, and when candidates try to fake enthusiasm or determination they donít actually feel, the results can be awkward Ė like sending the manager a cake frosted with the words, ďPlease hire me.Ē Sometimes these gestures work beautifully, and sometimes they fall flat. If youíre tempted to go over the top or push the boundaries of normal social behavior in an attempt to gain a hiring mangerís attention, hereís a quick guide to help you recognize the difference between proactive boldness and cringe-inducing desperation. Ask yourself these questions before you proceed. 1. Put yourself in the hiring mangers position, and be honest. Would you find this behavior impressive? Or just annoying? Calling to follow up two days after an interview is a standard move that managers usually interpret as proactive. Calling three times a day every day for a week straight is an unusual move that most of your competitors will opt not to do. So will these extra calls help you stand out from the crowd, or will they drop your chances to zero? Put yourself in the managerís position. As you do so, youíll probably recognize that a barrage of annoying calls wonít make the selection process move forward any faster. 2. Does your unconventional behavior demonstrate a skill or trait that applies specifically to this job? Baking a beautiful cake decorated with your phone number might be a clever move if youíre applying for work with a baking company. But if youíre trying to get a job as an ER nurse, a dental hygienist or an electrical engineer, your baking skills wonít say much about your qualifications. Consider this before going the extra mile to stand out. 3. Is your behavior likely to make anyone feel cornered? Or, much worse, threatened? Demanding an answer, cornering a manager into saying yes or making any attempt at social or emotional blackmail is a terrible, terrible idea. Think carefully before you send a hiring manager a sad photo of your children with a reminder that youíre unemployed. And of course, if a hiring manger asks you to cease your campaign, whatever it is, stop immediately. 4. Are you being true to yourself? Or are you betraying your natural instincts and your personality? Sometimes in a zeal to come off as extroverted and bold, introverted and shy people do things that go against their nature in every way. Donít do this. Unless youíre a professional actor, hiding your true personality is more difficult than you may realize. 5. Are the potential benefits worth the risk? Do you really want this job so much that itís worth the risk you have in mind? Consider a woman at a recent job fair who chased a hiring manager across a crowded auditorium saying, ďIíll sweep floors, Iíll get coffee, Iíll do anything!Ē If you find yourself in this position and youíre hired to sweep floors and get coffee, will you be satisfied? If the answer is yes, keep chasing. But if not, stop. Be realistic and stay focused on your actual goals. Be Proactive, Determined & Smart Donít take no for an answerÖunless the answer really is no. At that point, itís time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on the market.

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