Prevent These Tactical Contact Mistakes in Your Job Search

You got the interview for a position you really like and you came out of your interview feeling great. Immediately after leaving you wrote out and mailed hand-written thank you notes to each one of your interviewers. Two days later you received a call to set up a second interview for next week.

So what is your specific contact plan between now and the time you are hired? Because the employment process may move more slowly than you prefer, practice patience and avoid these six job search contact mistakes. And remember – everything you do (or don’t do) becomes part of the decision to hire (or not hire) you!

a. Over contact. Contacting an employer too frequently can label you as impatient or high maintenance. Simply varying the method of contact (call, email, text, or letter) does not lessen the employer’s sense that you are stalking him or her for the job. An impatient, high-maintenance job seeker will make an impatient, high-maintenance employee. Most hiring managers will take steps to prevent this type of person from being hired.

b. Hardball: Making demands of an employer to give you an answer. This can mark you as inflexible, impatient, and lacking the skills to work effectively in a team. Regardless of the level of position being offered, and how talented a candidate you are, being pushy and inflexible equates to being unhirable.

c. Phantom offer ultimatum: stating you have a job offer from another prospective employer (and you don’t) in order to precipitate one from this employer. Few people like being placed into a “take it or leave it” position. This approach could potentially eliminate you from further consideration. And if the truth ever comes out, you could be permanently listed as unhirable by this employer.

d. Real offer ultimatum. In this case you have a bona fide job offer, but it is not perfect, and you want to see what another employer might offer you. If you simply tell the second employer of the first employer’s offer, the second employer might delete you from the list of candidates without giving you further consideration. If you don’t say anything, an offer may never materialize from the second employer in time. One thing you could say that could work to your advantage is to tell the second employer, “I’m continuing to interview and speak with employers about positions of interest, but I would really like to work for your company most of all. What is your assessment of my chances here?” This approach could give you a more accurate read on how you stand, so that you can make a more informed choice.

e. Under contact. Ceasing your contact campaign until you get a response to your emails or calls. By hanging in there and being consistent in your contact, you increase the chances of landing a position with the organization.

f. Reneging on an accepted offer. When you accept a job offer you are making a commitment to a specific employer. If it is at-will employment, there is no legal contract that requires you to work there. However, once you do accept an offer, it is extremely bad form to change your mind because you have received what you believe is a better offer. It becomes even worse form if you accept employment, start working and receive training, and then leave because the job you really wanted is now offered to you. Reneging on an accepted offer almost always results in removal from any future consideration by an employer.

It is always more effective to tailor a specific contact plan to each employment situation, based on what you have learned about the contact methods and frequency of the hiring manager and your contact at HR or the recruiter. Aim for the “goldilocks zone” – not too much, not too little, but just right for the situation.

Boyer Management Group works with employers and job seekers alike to help both become more successful. For job seekers, we offer the world’s first assessment to measure an individual’s knowledge and awareness of current and emerging career search best practices, along with the educational programs to support higher ed curriculum, career coaches and individual job seekers. For employers, we offer world-class talent acquisition and onboarding tools and programs. To find out more, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 215-942-0982.


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