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Inside HR: Get what you want with tact

Just because it's an awkward situation doesn't mean you have to make it weird. In her monthly column, Inside HR, Vicki Salemi shows you the ropes.

Inside HR awkward Figuring out an awkward situation can be difficult, but you don't have to be creepy about it. Credit: Colourbox

Whether you’re looking for a new job or focused on securing a stellar upgrade to your current role, there’s always a dance to maneuver — a fine line between being assertive versus over the top. Here are several pointers to stand your ground and tactfully move things forward.

When you’re interviewing for a job and haven’t heard back

You’ve interviewed, met several people and — bam! Radio silence. Assuming you’ve already sent thank-you notes, email your recruiter and hiring manager one week later. Reiterate how nice it was meeting them and reinforce your interest. It’s tricky, because you’re straddling persistence and stalker vibes. Daily emails are not recommended. Once a week or every two weeks is fine. Don’t appear desperate. Keep it succinct and, when you hit "Send," say to yourself, “They need me more than I need them.” Retain your power.

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When they owe you money

Let’s say you’re a freelance graphic designer. You created a sparkling new website for a client and anticipate getting paid in a reasonable timeframe. If your invoice indicates payment in 30 days and that time has elapsed, it’s time to follow up.

Keep in mind they’re on your side and probably want to continue working with you. There may be a delay in accounting that’s out of his or her hands. Send an email and follow up with a phone call; be persistent every two to three weeks along the lines of, “I know you’re busy and I don’t want to be a pest, but it’s been two months since I completed the site. Is there someone else I should contact to expedite payment?”

When it’s been a long time since you corresponded

If you’ve made a fantastic connection on LinkedIn and haven’t kept that relationship alive, it’s never too late to rekindle it. Reach out through the site and ask if they’re available to catch up over a phone call or a cup of coffee.

Or ping them via email or Twitter with a relevant article (it doesn’t have to be work-related.) It could be a vacation spot they mentioned, with a note: “Thinking of you — enjoy! Hope to catch up soon.”

When you’re applying for a job and haven’t heard back

If you’ve applied to a job online, don’t expect to hear back among the stack of hundreds of résumés in the system. However, if you have an internal connection and haven’t heard back, send an email: “Just wanted to stay top-of-mind. Would you be so kind to check my candidacy status?” And ask them to connect you to the recruiter. It’s not a bad idea to call, so they put a voice to your name.

Vicki Salemi is a career and human resources expert and consultant with 16-plus years of hands-on management experience. She’s a public speaker, coach, the author of "Big Career in the Big City" and on-air host of "Score That Job."

 
 
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