Researching or Stalking Your Next Employer: Do You Know the Difference?

I’ve heard about several job candidate stalking incidents over the last month or so. When I Google “Stalking Your Next Employer,” an article from SalesHQ, a community, topped the search results:  Stalk Your Way to Your New Job.  The article has a disclaimer:

*Disclaimer: These tips were designed to help you stalk in the most legal, non-creepy way. We do not encourage or condone harassment, obsessive behavior or any kind of physical stalking.

Good grief, I hope so.

Just for the record:  stalking a potential employer (or recruiter or hiring manager) does make you stand out from other candidates:  it confirms for hiring authorities that you don’t know how to behave appropriately during the hiring process, much less in the workplace, and that you should not be considered for hire.  Period.

Further Googling turned up this student advisory on stalking from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:


Signs of Stalking


  1. Contacting someone excessively via phone (including hang-ups), email or text messaging
  2. Showing up unexpectedly to check up on someone at work, home, or school
  3. Knowing things about someone’s life / schedule which was not shared with them
  4. Going through someone’s stuff, hacking into their computer, etc.
  5. Damaging someone’s property to create fear
  6. Sending unwanted gifts, cards, letters, etc.
  7. Following someone.


As a hiring authority with 20+ years of experience, I have experienced number 1, 2 and 6 consistently from job candidate stalkers.  And again, just for the record, I’ve never hired a job candidate who has engaged in this behavior.

What distinguishes an interested job candidate from a job candidate stalker is moderation in following up.  Emailing me 3 times a day is not only stalking behavior, it borders on trying to bully your way to a job.  A job candidate stalker believes that this behavior gives them control over the situation that they don’t really have.  Engaging in appropriate company research and  follow-up behavior, however, as illustrated in this article by The Ladders (How to Follow Up on Job Applications Without Stalking), demonstrates appropriate / professional interest:

Here are 5 rules to help ensure that your follow-up tactics are greeted with appreciation, rather than resentment:

1.  Give it a week. Follow up approximately one week after the job application deadline (if listed). This gives the recruiter enough time to review the resumes. If the job posting didn’t list an application deadline, the rule of thumb is to follow up one week after your initial application.

2.  Read the fine print. If  the description states “no phone calls,” do not call to follow up. If you do, the recruiter will think that you cannot follow simple directions or did not read the job listing carefully. If the job listing didn’t state such a condition, call once and ask how to follow up again before doing so.

3.  Ask informative questions.Whether you’re sending an email or calling the recruiter, your communication needs to sound confident – not desperate. Ask questions that will help you understand your chances of gaining traction with this job. Inquire if any decision has been made, and ask if it’s acceptable to follow up in another week if you haven’t heard back from them, as well as determine the timeframe for the hiring process.

4.  Know when to move on. Keep following up once a week, each week, until their responses become vague – such as “don’t contact us, we’ll contact you” – or non-existent. At that point, it’s safe to let this one go and set your sights on other prospects.

5.  Keep up the momentum.  Regardless if you gain traction with this role, continue applying to jobs online, pursuing opportunities through networking, and engaging with recruiters each week to maintain an active job pipeline. This will help stop you from dwelling on one job, as well as improve your chances of landing the right job.

Follow these rules to improve your response rate and gain traction in your job search. (Emphasis mine.)

No one wants to hire Norman Bates into their workplace.  Clearly, he was an employee that only a mother could hire.  And we all know what happened to Norman’s mother.


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