The Fine Line Between Job Searching and Stalking: It Might Pay Off to Walk It

Posted June 3, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

Last week, Mashable profiled an awesome Chicagoan, Max Crowley, who landed his job as Uber’s Senior Community Manager through, frankly, a little bit of stalking. Here is a little big of Max’s interview with Mashable:

How did you land your position at Uber?

[ … ] I just showed up places where I knew Ryan Graves (Uber’s head of operations) would be, followed him on Twitter and shot him emails over the course of a few months — in general I just tried to convince him that I was the right fit. They were looking for that hustler, go-getter attitude and I was able to convince him that I could be a valuable part of the team.

Wait, so you just showed up places you knew he was?

Yeah, that makes it sound creepy. Uber had a recruiting event in Chicago, and when we’re in the process of launching a city we’ll have a kickoff happy hour where we invite people who are signed up already, or we’ll share it on our social media channels and one of the goals is to recruit for our local team. I was able to attend one of those happy hours that summer, and I was able to connect with Ryan.

The Fine Line Between Stalking and Job Searching

Max’s story is not unique. Many, many job seekers are finding those strategic ways to “bump into” hiring managers, CEOs, and more to enhance their networking to get a job. But are you crossing the line into stalker-territory? Follow these rules to ensure you stay legal:

  • Keep it public. Finding out where the CEO is having lunch, and saddling up to the table next to them might be a bit brash. But doing what Max did and going to a public event the company is holding where you can rub elbows with its leadership? Totally acceptable. If the company isn’t hosting any events, look for nonprofit events the company might be sponsoring. Usually, sponsors will have a table at the event where you could introduce yourself to staff members.
  • Online network casually and without screaming “HIRE ME!” If you wanted to work for a company like Uber, you already know that company is heavily social media savvy. Take the time to follow them like you would any other company, use their services regularly, and Tweet or Facebook directly to the company about how much you’re loving the service when you use it. After you’ve had some interaction without being a clear job seeker, take the time to connect 1:1 with a staff member or their CEO by saying something like Max might have – “I love your product, and have some ideas for ways I could help you do X. Could we chat or get together for coffee?”
  • Once you’ve met, remind them! If you meet the CEO of your target company at an event, follow up via email and be sure to remind that individual where you met. “Hey Ryan, it was great to chat with you for a bit at last night’s party at the Wit. As I mentioned, I have some great ideas for your company, and would love to chat more. Could we schedule coffee?” You’re asking for an opportunity to talk, but not directly asking for a job or an interview.

So go ahead, exercise that “borderline stalker” mentality. Going after a company isn’t a bad thing! Just keep it to places you might actually normally bump into that person, and follow up appropriately, and you’re totally safe.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."