Persistence vs. Pest – How to Persevere in job Hunt

Charlie Sheen’s stock broker character made 59 straight days of phone calls and hand-delivered a box of Cuban cigars before he got an interview with Michael Douglas’ corporate raider character in the movie Wall Street. 

While that is obsessive and most people would consider him a pest, there is one thing he definitely was demonstrating – perseverance. 

Many job-seekers follow up too little, some persist too much – and far too few people persevere just right. 

Too little persistence after a job interview can especially be harmful to a job search. Too many people don’t follow up beyond sending one email or letter. They are afraid they will be considered a nuisance when, actually, those who follow up in the right ways are exhibiting leadership and decision-making qualities. Showing how much you want to work for an employer is an indicator of the dedication and hard work you will bring to the job.


ClearRock offers this advice on how to effectively follow up after an interview: 

  1. Once is not enough. One follow up email or letter after a job interview is insufficient. It’s taking much longer for companies to make hiring decisions and they are being stretched out for weeks and even months. One email or letter will not get you noticed or remembered. Use different ways to follow up, space them out appropriately, and be brief.
  2. Use the phone. The telephone is a greatly under-utilized form of communication in our world of texts and emails. Plan ahead on not connecting with your interviewer, and leaving a voice mail message when you call. Have a short message composed in advance. However, also plan on the call being answered and prepare a concise script about why you are calling.
  3. Keep in touch in different ways. Develop different reasons to reach out to the hiring person and decision-makers and subtle ways to emphasize your value. Keep them apprised of any new courses taken, certificates received, papers published, speeches given, or anything else that will provide both an update and another contact with them. Forward a relevant article pertaining to the company/industry as a way to show you are on top of your game.
  4. Hand-write a note or letter. Handwriting is another under-utilized form of communication today. It’s rare that someone sends you a handwritten communication in a business environment, so handwritten notes and letters will be remembered better. Use good-quality stationery, print if your handwriting is illegible – and keep it short.
  5. Don’t give up. People who have not heard anything after a month or so automatically assume someone else is in the running or has been hired and just give up. Consider this a weeding-out process and discreetly remain in contact.
  6. Don’t be extreme. Some people feel that to separate themselves from everyone else, they have to do something extreme such as call or email every day or give deadlines. Following up is a chance to showcase your creativity, discretion, and how well you would fit into their corporate culture. 

In summary, remember you are selling yourself and the best salespeople know the fortune is in the follow-up.