after I applied for a job, the HR rep viewed my LinkedIn profile — should I follow up with her?

A reader writes:

I recently submitted my resume and supporting documents for an executive assistant position with our local government that I am incredibly excited about for a variety of reasons (career advancement, community outreach, etc.).

On Friday, I received an email from LinkedIn indicating that the HR director who is the contact point for the position had looked up my profile. I know this likely doesn’t mean much, but I was excited nonetheless. I am curious to see if you have any advice about what, if anything, I should do next. I thought about sending her a connection request reiterating my interest in the position and inviting her to reach out to me so we can discuss the opportunity in person. I’ve posed the question to a few people whose judgement I trust and they all seemed to think I should go for it… “what would it hurt?” But I’m hesitant to do anything that might alienate the HR contact. What do you think?

Too pushy. She knows you’re interested, because you applied for the job. You know she received your application and is looking at it, because you saw her look at your LinkedIn profile. The ball is in her court. If she wants to contact you to talk further, she will. And she knows how to get in touch with you.

I know it’s tempting to interpret the profile view as evidence of something, but it doesn’t really mean anything. It doesn’t mean she wants to interview you, or that she’s even ready to begin interviewing candidates. It could mean that she thought your name sounded familiar and she was trying to see if you were the person she was thinking of. It could mean that you worked with at a company she thought her neighbor worked at, and she was checking. It could mean that she was idly killing time looking up info on applicants while waiting for a conference call to start. Or yes, it could mean that she was interested in your application and decided to look up more info on you. But there’s no way to know, and the act itself doesn’t mean anything.

Taking it as a prompt to reach out to her and ask to meet is just as pushy (and ineffective) as it would be if you did it without the LinkedIn profile view. Which means that some hiring managers won’t particularly care at all, and plenty more will be annoyed or at least roll their eyes and wonder why you don’t trust them to reach out to the candidates they want to talk to on their own.  Why risk that, when a good employer who is interested is going to contact you regardless?

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