What’s the line between networking and stalking?

Ever gone through multiple interview rounds, only to have the position pulled altogether? Talk about a waste of time and effort. It’s one thing to be beaten by someone better than you are — at least you had a chance. It’s another to have the company just jerk the position out from under everyone’s feet.

But, what if you really want this job, or a job with this company and you think you had a pretty good rapport with the hiring manager? Plus, the hiring manager said she’d really like to have you on board — but only for the “right” position. Can you continue to pursue it? I received the following email from a career coach who had a client in this situation. It’s been one month since he was turned down. She writes:


He wants to plan a trip to their office and just do a “I was in the neighborhood visit ” during his holiday break. It is actually about 3,000 miles from his current location. I have tried to discourage him from this, but he is sure it is a good idea. My concern is there is a fine line in today’s world between looking interested and being a stalker. I also know companies sometimes say things that let candidates down gently instead of just being honest. He did follow-up after the interview process was over. He called the hiring manager, too. Considering it is the 4th quarter I told him to just sit tight for now. He is not currently unemployed. What are you words of wisdom in this matter?

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6 thoughts on “What’s the line between networking and stalking?

  1. I think it has to be learned art turning people down for a position. It is a worse job than terminating someone, in my opinion. You want to be nice, but not misleading; blunt, but not rude. I have learned over time to not say “I will keep you on file in case we have someting come up that you are suited for”. For those crazy canditates who only apply for this ONE job, they will take it as a promise that they will someday work for you and then sit by the phone. I said it to one guy who called me up a few months later telling (yelling, actually) me that he had been waiting for me to call with that ‘perfect’ position for him! In talking with him, this had been the ONLY job he had applied for!!! And it was now MY fault that he could not feed his kids! So I learned my lesson on that one!

    Then another guy who I turned down, called at least 3 times a day to tell me that he REALLY wanted to work for this company doing ANYTHING! Despite being asked to keep it confidential from him that his references were really bad, I ended up being honest with him and telling him we could not hire anyone with a bad reference & he finally stopped calling!

    And another guy just would show up every day for about 3 days in a row “in case we needed him to start work – if the new guy didn’t work out” after I turned him down for the position!

    I won’t even get into the guy who freaked out in the parking lot, or the potential employee taking notes, or the one who showed up one day with a written quiz for current employees!!! (does everyone have these experiences with people who apply? – I swear, these are only .5% of them – not all!)

    So, yes… crazy is as crazy does! If you are annoying the hiring manager, or creeping out the staff, or calling HR at their home #, or calling the business manager & complaining that you didn’t get hired a year ago when you applied – you probably will never get a job at that company!

    1. That is quite the raft of colorful stories. I’m particularly intrigued by the guy who wanted current employees to take his quiz. Were they allowed to study first, or was it a pop quiz?

  2. With continued issues in workplace violence many employers are taking a zero tolerance policy on harassment. What may seem innocent enough can be interpreted differently.

  3. I’d recommend a follow up email, not an unsolicited visit. In the email he could ask for lunch or coffee with the hiring manager which would give reason for a visit, but 3,000 miles is a long way!

    I just wish I was that sure about a job to chase it that hard!

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