The Opening – Job Search Balancing Act – Be Active, Not Aggressive

JohnOConnor Blogging, Individual Services 1 Comment


If you have ever been on the interviewing side of the table, you understand the basic differences between active candidates and passive candidates. Attitude and behavior become a balancing act.

An active job seeker is looking for a job, whether he’s out of work or ready for a change; he’s posted resumes and is seeking opportunities, even if it’s confidential. A passive candidate isn’t actively looking but would consider a good opportunity. She has a job and probably isn’t posting resumes or scanning job openings.

Active job seekers are becoming more assertive than ever in a time where unemployment is soaring over 10 percent nationwide. But too much aggressive activity can be a turnoff to hiring managers already burdened by dozens, even thousands, of resumes.

Even if you’re on an active search, it’s wise to adopt some tactics that make passive candidates appealing to employers and to make sure your activity doesn’t cross the line into aggression.

Consider the predicament of Jeremy a very active job seeker:

I answered every advertisement and called people back, Jeremy said. I stepped on a lot of toes along the way, but that’s how I’d sold my wares as a medical-software sales executive. After a recent layoff, I threw caution to the wind. I was going to let everyone and anyone know I was available.

I suppose I did everything but stand with a sandwich board in midtown Manhattan to get myself out there and exposed. As a top salesperson, I wasn’t going to be passive at all. I guess I took active job seeking a little too seriously.

The result? Bruised toes among potential employers and no real leads.

So what did he (and other super-aggressive job seekers) do to hurt their job search? Sell instead of brand.

Think about what kind of reputation you are building with those who may see you or your resume. How are you branding yourself? How are you known?

Comments 1

  1. I am well aware of the fine line that exists between being perceived as appropriately assertive (this is good) and aggressive (can be perceived as a negative). My tendency in life is to “go for it” or “grab the bull by the horns” so to speak. While I believe this is a good quality, I need always be cognizant of my approach. You have taught me to use my true personality to my advantage, “break the ice early” as you put it. I think I forgot how important it is to remember to lighten up, particularly in an interview. I certainly know better than to tell jokes or do anything that could be perceived as “out there” but at the same time a smile goes a long way in creating a positive impression. The ironic thing is I know this from my own experiences in interviewing candidates. Thank you for reminding me of how important this is John. Thank you for everything you share with me and my EIT peers. Please keep it coming!

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