In order to get a job, people will rationalize red flags and fail to make a connection between an isolated event or two and the much larger picture. I saw this often as a recruiter when I asked candidates questions about their previous jobs. I see it now with my clients – or people who send me emails – when they are clearly taking something just to take something,and I counsel them against moving forward in the process and why that is.
These same red flags show up for me too. That’s because we’re all marketing ourselves in one way or another. You – the job seekers - with your resume and cover letter, and me through various means in order to reach more job seekers.
Although writing and speaking opportunities find me, I also look for them: ezines, newspapers, authors and journalists that might be interested in quoting me or carrying my articles.
One of the reasons I so actively advocate following up is because having been a straight-commission, top-producing sales person who earned my living building relationships with people, I know how important following up is and why it’s necessary. And I know the frustrations of it, too. I also know from experience that the red flag is relative to the person, and have nothing to do with me.
When I make a cold call, first I inquire. Then I follow up. By then, usually I have a dialogue started because the person to whom I’m inquiring gets back with me. If not, I follow up a third time, and a fourth. I repeat the reason for calling. I refresh their memory as to my earlier communications. I mention that I’ve left a few messages. I’m always polite. By the last time, I specifically say I’ve left several messages and would they please take a few minutes to call me back? So they have to actively and consciously decide not to do that. It’s not as if they’ve forgotten who I am.
Truthfully, by the fourth time, I’m more interested in just seeing what happens. I’m not really expecting anything and not sure that if the opportunity presents itself at that point that I even want to pursue it any longer. The lack of professionalism some people exhibit is astounding.
You have this happen all the time. You follow up on a resume. Nothing. You speak with a recruiter, and then can never get a hold of them again. They promised to call you about a great opportunity. Nothing. You schedule a meeting. The person doesn’t show up or was called away. You follow up on an interview. No return call.
Rude, rude, and rude. Them, not you.
I don’t care who they are. I’ve read about singers, movie stars, and even the President, who make a point of answering every letter they receive, although they’re generally form letters sent by people hired to do that. I’ve called CEOs of large corporations or hospitals, and although I might not speak with them immediately or ever, the admin assistant phones back.
The point is that the contact was acknowledged. Who has such a big ego, or is so busy that they can’t take a minute to even delegate that task to someone? It leaves me shaking my head in wonder.
Let’s put this statement “them, not you” into perspective. When I’m selling various newspapers around the U.S. on carrying my column, I share that I was syndicated for 2 years in over 300 major metropolitan markets until they changed their format. I mention I’ve been a Sunday columnist for the New Haven (CT) Register for four years, and that I’ve written over 50 articles for a trade magazine with which I used to be associated.
Generally, I’m received enthusiastically and so newspapers around the US are carrying my columns for free in return for my ability to reach more job seekers. (With newspapers having trouble, they often assign an editor or a reporter to do their columns, so asking for payment would be pointless).
Yet, with my local paper, a small weekly one, the editor had to talk to the board, and the board, which convenes once per month, would have to vote on it. The editor forgot to bring it up and after several conversations, it wasn’t worth it. They’ve gone through several editors since then. Gee – what surprise.
Part 2 – an incredible example of a jerk and what all this means to you. Look for it next week.