Taking Charge: How to be Persistent
I just returned from vacation in the Dominican Republic – great place. One of the most interesting aspects for me as a “social scientist” was watching the interaction between the sunbathers and the folks selling cigarettes, sunglasses and hair-braiding on the beech.
Every morning the same team of 5-6 people would go up and down the hotel’s 1000 yards of beach front asking people if they wanted to buy something. Newbies [those with alabaster white skin] would just wave them away automatically as they approached them – assured they couldn’t possibly want whatever they were selling. Sound like many employers when you approach them about a job or a ask for a networking event?
Unlike job-hunters who take the first “no thank you” and fade quickly into the scenery these professional understand that “no” means “not now”. They said “thank you” with a smile and moved on to the next person. BUT they would revisit the same people and inquire during the day if they had changed their mind. In fact, they where pleasantly persistent over a 3-5 day period and nearly always successful. Often, people actually expressed gratitude, because on that day what they where selling was exactly what the sunbather needed.
What’s the lesson? Most employers have a knee-jerk reaction to job-hunters, especially with some of the lame approaches they take to get in front of them. Job hunter – DO NOT take it personally. The employer isn’t rejecting you. They are rejecting your offer. It’s not about you, it’s about your offer – your product [the product just happens to be you].
For job hunters the product happens to be you. Just like the beach vendors though, success can be yours when you take a deep breath – re-package your wares [skills and experience] and re-pitch.
As a professional headhunter I never know what kind of mood I’m going to catch someone in on the say I approach them, so when they say no – which is 99% of the time – I don’t strike them off my list forever, I repackage the candidate and represent them a day later. I always swish I was more articulate so this wouldn’t happen – but I’m not – so I’ve settled on being pleasantly persistent.