I’m just going to preface this blog with the warning that I will be repeating some of my tried and true general observations and opinions about networking, job searching and career advancement. I like to keep everyone up to speed and since there is not the option to actually call me and ask, “What the heck were you talking about?” I’ll just repeat myself.
Now it is pretty much a given that in job searching and networking follow up is key and lack of follow up is killer. But what about the conditional follow up? Ah, that is the determining factor between the nice guy and that guy – don’t be that guy. I am using guy in a general sense, not being sexist.
Let me explain what I mean by conditional follow up. This can happen in dating, networking/job searching and once you have the job. Same approach just different environments; and since job searching and networking is like dating all appropriate. And once you read these I bet dollars to donuts you will be saying, “Ah” with some bright, shimmering light emitting from above your head.
Think about someone that came on hot and heavy, really laying it on, sweeping you off your feet until they get what they want; whether that be an invitation to a certain event, a romp in the hay, a referral to a business associate, a ring – whatever the case may be…. The point is they did all the right follow up until they got what they wanted then they turned into the invisible person.
Oh, we have all known them and fallen victim. There is a subset of that guy in that he will continue to do a very distant sporadic follow up after winning his prize – which is a worse case of that guy-ism. Maybe a text once a week or so just to show that he is a “nice” guy and make sure you don’t get mad; but in reality, he is just that guy.
You meet someone at a networking event or through a contact and it is somehow unearthed that you could be a very good connection for them. Maybe you can help them directly or you are the key to meeting a specific someone that can. No matter, it still plays the same. You are pursued doggedly, coffee meetings or lunches to hear more about your business, flattery, continual emails – you’ve just made a new bff. Once you make that other connection or perform the task that they need – poof – you new bff suddenly drops off.
On the Job
How about that co-worker that all of a sudden wants to do lunch, stops by to ask about your family, compliments you on your shoes – all of this happens seemingly out of nowhere. Seemingly because there is a big project coming up or the potential opening that your co-worker really wants and you seem to hold the key. Now that you two have become such good work buddies of course you would recommend them to be on the team or for that open position. Once the team is assembled or they fill the position all of a sudden you find them too busy for lunch and with amnesia of you and your family – and worse yet blindness to your new fabulous shoes!
There is really no way to predict if that new networking friend, potential beau or colleague is a nice guy or that guy, only time will tell because the true indicator is what happens after they get what they want. However, their behavior prior to this achievement might give you a clue.
In defense of truly nice guys, I will say that on rare occasions I have met a nice guy that acted like that guy unknowingly. This was the case in a job situation; once the team was assembled they fell off. I was actually shocked and so I did the uncommon and unthinkable thing and brought it to their attention.
How you handle this is up to you. If I recall correctly I think I took them aside one day and just asked, “What the hell?” Again, use your own communication style. They immediately apologized for their behavior stating a sudden slamming of work with the new team assignments. But it was not their words that convinced me that they were a nice guy rather than that guy; it was their behavior after our conversation. Lunch plans were made and kept and shoes were noticed.
Yes, when you are networking you are trying to make connections to help each other out. However, be keenly aware that once someone has taken that step to help you that you continue your follow up and communication. Think about it, do you really want to be known as that guy?
Oh, and let’s not forget karma – it will come back to bite you. It may be the next connection that they could introduce you to that holds the key to your success or you may miss out on a pretty special person.
So take a moment and reflect. If you find that you have been that guy take some time today and reach out and reconnect. That is, unless you really are that guy. In that case – you are a butt. Hey, someone had to say it!
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.