Does the squeaky wheel always get the grease?

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” What does this metaphor really mean? Well, essentially it means that the most noticeable (or loudest) people are the one that are most likely going to get the attention. In the recruiting world, this can be effective; however, persistence is a fine line and can back fire it not done properly. “Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up, we are told.” You must follow-up after an interview to show interest to be remembered in sea of applicants. However, that fine line I mentioned earlier is something I see crossed many times; and that, my friends, is when it back fires. I will give you two examples of applicant follow-up and detail what works and doesn’t work:

1) Jennifer has interviewed for the Executive Assistant role to the marketing department at XYZ Company. After submitting her resume several times to the employer, she was thrilled when they called her back! Jennifer felt very confident after her interview, even though the HR associate stated that they were still interviewing others. She sent a “thank you” email and followed-up two days later with a phone message to reiterate her interest and find out where things were at. No call back. (This is where things start to “back fire.”) She subsequently proceeded to leave messages and send emails to the HR associate every couple of days to try to get a status update. With each message Jennifer proceeded to get more and more annoyed. That tone came across in those messages. In the HR person’s mind, she went from interested and eager to desperate and inpatient. She was subsequently scratched from the call-back pile.

2) Jane has interviewed for a similar position. As the interview was winding down, she asked what the next steps were and what their timeline was for hiring the person. She also asked the HR associate what type of follow-up was best as she was very interested in those next steps. The HR associate proceeded to tell her that if she didn’t hear back within a week, she should call. So, Jane sent a “thank you” letter, and followed-up a week later. The HR associate had gotten busy and was thrilled that she called. She proceeded to set her up for the next round of interviews. Here, the squeaky wheel does get the grease!

The bottom line is…BE confident, BE pleasantly persistent, BE gracious and NEVER show that you are angry if you don’t hear back.

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