How to be patiently persistent in your job search

I have said it before and I will say it again… the job search is often times like dating.  It is this crazy stupid game that you must play to get what you want.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

I could write about how you SHOULD be patiently persistent or what MIGHT work but I would rather tell you a story about someone that did an AWESOME job of being patiently persistent in their job search…

I appreciate you following up with me but…

I was over Washington State recruiting for the largest recruiter of recent college grads in the US.  One big issue was that a lot of people moved to Seattle for one rainy season and then they would leave.  It only rains 10 months a year!  So we very wary of transplants.  The positions in question were heavy in sales and customer service.  One applicant was currently living in Chicago and had never worked in sales or customer service, so I shot them down based on their resume/application without ever talking to them.  Side note… I have always done my best to respond to EVERY applicant.

The candidate emails me back a day later thanking me for letting them know that I was no longer pursuing them as a candidate.  They then laid out why they wanted to work for us and asked if I would consider them again.  The email was well thought out.  It also showed they had done their research on the position and the company.  So I set up a phone interview.

They were nice and seemed very interested in the position, career path and the company.  But still… no customer service, no sales and they were moving to Seattle.  No go.  I once again notified the candidate that we were not pursuing them further.  Once again, they followed up.  This time by phone.

They let me know that they would be in Seattle for a week, looking for a place to live.  The applicant asked if I would meet with them for a face to face interview while they were in town.  They said they understood my concern about their lack of experience but that they really did want the position and they would be successful in our environment.  I acquiesced.

At the end of the face to face the candidate asked the question I love… “Do you feel I am a good match for the position and the company?  Also, do you feel the position and the company are a good match for me?”  I was honest with them.  I told them that I did not feel they would be successful since they had never worked with customers and did not have prior sales experience.  But they persisted.  The applicant was professionally persistent.  I told them that I would send them on to the next interviews (two more) but I doubted they would be hired.

I was wrong.  We hired them and they were right, they did a great job.  Without their patient professional persistence we would have missed out on a great employee and they would have missed out on what became the beginning to a fantastic career.

It is up to you, not the recruiter.

As a recruiter it is my job to attract and screen potential candidates.  Did you notice that I used both the word applicant and candidate in the story?  An applicant is someone who applies, a candidate is being considered for the position.  Are you going to be an applicant or a candidate?


A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.
Jim Watkins

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