By Leslie Walbridge

In these economic times, unemployment has become a reality for many people who used to make up “middle class America.” Individuals face bankruptcy, eviction, even homelessness, and these circumstances inject the desperation factor into job hunting. However, as Jorgen Sundberg states in The Undercover Recruiter, “when someone sees the glint of desperation in your eye, they question your motives and you lose credibility in an instant.” Sundberg goes on in his piece to explain some of the mistakes desperate job hunters make that end up doing more harm than good. Below, find some suggestions of what you should do to maintain your integrity as a candidate.

  1. Apply only to jobs that you are actually interested in. Ask yourself: “would I leave a safe job to take this job?” If you would not apply for the position under different circumstances, don’t apply for it out of desperation. The recruiter/hiring manager/potential employer will read your materials and notice that your background, interests, and career goals do not line up with their organization or the position that is available. Given that the employer has the advantage of being able to choose from ample candidates, they are unlikely to hire someone who only seems interested in a job, not this job.
  2. Be patient. In a different time, it would have been good advice to suggest calling a recruiter directly to ensure that your resume gets to the top of the pile. Now, however, recruiters are handling hundreds of resumes at a time and are not interested in taking hundreds of phone calls as well. You do not want to come across as desperate and pushy, so think twice before picking up the phone. According to Sundberg, “A hiring manager wants enthusiasm from a new employee, not desperation.”
  3. Put yourself in a position where a potential employer can find you. Put your resume in searchable databases like monster.com and indeed.com so that headhunters can find you based on your skill set. You will be in a much more advantageous position to bargain compensation and benefits if the employer is trying to bring you in without you ever having applied. Make sure that you brand yourself strategically. Think about your social media resume and do what you can to become and be seen as an expert in your field.

As hard as it is to face imminent bills and financial commitments without a steady income, it will not help your case to appear desperate to potential employers. As in dating, you want to be a “catch,” so you need to play (a little bit) hard to get.

For more advice on job searching, please visit our hr blog. We are Nonprofit HR – HR that helps. Related topics include: