Nobody means to brand themselves as a job stalker – yet job seekers accidentally do this every day.

What you view as innocently being proactive and following-up can easily cross the razors edge into crazy stalker, without you realizing what you’ve done.

Being proactive is appreciated, if you’re the top candidate – it confirms to the hiring manager that he/she has made the right choice.

But what if you’re not the top candidate? If you’re not the top candidate, being proactive is often ignored, because you aren’t a priority of the hiring manager.

You might have even been told to follow up in a couple weeks, but if your follow up doesn’t get a response, continued follow up is unlikely to improve your chances. Worse, it usually makes you look like a job stalker.

Here are 5 things that seem like follow up … but brand you as a job stalker:

  1. Leaving a voice mail every day (or even every other) until you reach someone: Just because the hiring manager told you they would contact you in 2 weeks, doesn’t mean they will. Things change, priorities change, and if you’re not the top candidate, you’re not the hiring priority … like it or not. Calling constantly won’t change this, but here’s what it will do – if you were still being consider or “on the bubble”, you’ve killed your chances by continuously calling. Because you sound like a stalker and maybe a little crazy.
  2. Calling without leaving a voice mail repeatedly: News Flash – Businesses have caller ID too.
  3. Calling “just to follow up” more than once: When you call just to follow up don’t expect a return call – because just following up adds no value to the hiring manager (nor HR). When you call just to follow up more than once, now you’re wasting the hiring manager’s (or HR’s) time. When you keep calling just to follow up, you’ve crossed the line into stalker city.
  4. Sounding annoyed (or upset) on Voice Mail because you haven’t been called back: When you’re searching for a job, you’d better develop a thick skin – if you seem the least bit annoyed, you’ve blown any chance you might have had with the hiring manger. Sure you’re upset that you weren’t called back when HR or the hiring manager promised. Simple rule – don’t call if you’re pissed.
  5. Emailing to follow up repeatedly: Emailing repeatedly to follow up is even worse, because you leave a paper trail for an employer to remember how much of their time you’ve wasted. As an added bonus, that paper trail reminds HR that you’ve acted like a job stalker.

Many candidates ignore the lessons they should have learned by dating in high school – that no response is an answer. It is closure … you’re just not listening.

That’s not to say that follow up is a bad idea – it’s not. But for God’s sake, add some value when you call if you don’t want to be ignored. Calling “just to follow up” adds zero value to hiring managers or HR, but instead wastes their time.

And following up, even when you provide value eventually turns into job stalking. Here’s a hint … empty follow up quickly turns you into a stalker.

But the more value you provide, the less likely your contacts will be ignored. So the less likely you’ll seem like a job stalker.