The correct protocol for how to follow up on a job application.
Submitting a job application is only the first step in the hiring process. It is perfectly normal for the hiring manager to take time to review your application. Following up on a job application is a balancing act: be timely, polite, professional, and not pushy. There are some important steps and tips to follow up on your application to impress your potential employer.
Stand out to your dream job by reaching out and following up. Be professional, confident, and positive towards the hiring manager to get their attention on your resume.
Following up is not required but is necessary for you to stand out amongst other candidates. Applying for a job can be an immense task but there are tools to let the employer know you are interested and qualified. Knowing how to effectively follow-up on your job application will set you up for success in the hiring process.
1. Review Job Posting
The very first step in following up on your job application is to thoroughly review the job posting. This is an important step and should not be skipped. The job posting may have dates or timelines that mention when the application window closes. You don’t want to follow-up before that time. This would be unprofessional and hinder your chances of getting an interview. The job posting may also state that they don’t want candidates to call or email to follow-up on their status. You should be respectful and abide by the company's wishes and not follow-up. If you do reach out when told not to, the hiring manager will assume you did not read the job posting or you don’t follow directions.
The next step is timing your follow-up perfectly. Unless the job posting has a closing date specified, it’s best to wait about one-week (5-7 days) after you submitted your resume or application before you follow-up.
The first approach should be an email. Give the hiring manager at least 24 hours to respond to you. Hiring managers' response time often depends on the business needs. With the pandemic, hiring managers are very busy and have more tasks. If you do not hear anything after that time, wait another week (5-7 days) to follow-up again.
The second approach should be a phone call. It is always good to reach out at a different time of the day, day of the week, and format.
Waiting a week or two before following-up is professional and respectful of the hiring team’s time. It gives them enough time to accept and process the applications from all candidates. At this time, they can give you proper information when you follow-up.
The worst days to follow-up are on Mondays and Fridays. Monday is a busy transition day after the weekend. Friday is the end of the workweek when hiring managers are not as interested in completing extra tasks. Also, if your email is not seen before the end of the workday, then your email will get buried under the weekend emails. Tuesday through Thursday is the best time to follow-up. This is when the hiring managers are most focused and determined on finishing work tasks.
As for the time of day, sending an email in the morning will allow for your email to be towards the top of the email list and when hiring managers usually check their emails. Avoid sending emails during lunchtime or toward the end of the workday.3. Check Connections & Social
Networking is very important during the job-seeking process. You should go through your business and personal connections to see if you know anyone working at the company. LinkedIn is a great tool to use. Search your friends to see if you have any connections with the company.
If you do you can reach out and see if they have any information on the job. Depending on your relationship you could ask for a recommendation or put in a good word for you. You could also ask for them to put you in contact with the hiring manager or have a personal introduction so your resume can be reviewed first.
4. Email First
Many hiring managers prefer an email first. It allows them to track your conversation and lets them respond to you when they have proper information and time. In this era, phone calls are usually scheduled and when an unscheduled call comes through it can catch the hiring manager off guard. They could be distracted and not give you the proper information. See how to write a follow-up email with examples here.
Send the email directly to the hiring manager. If it’s not indicated on the original posting, then you can search LinkedIn or the company website. Look for the hiring manager or comparable title under “People” or “Employees”. See if they have their email listed on their profile. You can also reach out to your connections to put you in touch with the proper person. Lastly, you can call the company and ask who to speak to.
First impressions are very important. You should keep a positive, respectful, and professional attitude in your email. Don’t be overly casual or personal. Hiring managers are supposed to be friendly but this does not mean they want to be your friend. Although it is nerve-wracking and exciting you should stay calm and confident. Use your research of the company culture to align your communication.
When composing your follow-up email it is important to be brief, clear, and concise. Keep the email at a maximum of 3 brief paragraphs. Hiring managers receive tons of emails from candidates so brevity is key.
First, you want to have a clear subject line with the position title. Start with a statement about your application for the position and express your interest in the position. Reiterate your top qualifications focusing on your noteworthy skills, certificates, or experience so you can position yourself as a strong candidate.
Lastly, you want to express gratitude by thanking them for their time and attention. You can carefully prompt them to check your references or schedule an interview. Make sure to provide your contact information to make it easy for the hiring manager to contact you.
Hiring managers want to see you personalize your email with why you are interested in the position. They don’t want you to sound robotic or use generic statements.5. Phone Call Second
If you haven’t heard back after 2 weeks, it’s time to call. Your email may have gotten lost in the hundreds of emails that hiring managers receive daily.
If they answer, take advantage of talking to them but keep it brief and professional. Have a script ready with 2-3 short specific questions or points of conversation. See how to make a follow-up phone call with examples here.
Follow their lead and ask if it’s a convenient time to talk, they will let you know if they can. If they can’t talk, make sure to ask when to call back. Ask them if they have a timeline of when they will be reaching out to the candidates, if you do not hear back after that time then you probably were not a chosen candidate.
Make sure to call during the afternoon when the workday is slower. Call towards the end of the day to make a positive and memorable impression.
If they do not answer your call, leave a voicemail. It is important to have a script to keep you focused and professional. Make sure you have practiced so you sound natural.
- 6. Extra Tips
- Get social:
- “Like” and follow the company’s social platforms. Engage with them on social media to show your interest in the company culture. Make sure your social profiles are appropriate and professional.
- Let them know you’re in demand:
- If you have other companies interested in you or offering you a job. Express you are ready to turn down that position if you’re being considered and when you are expected to respond. Don’t come off rude or egotistical but give a sense of urgency.
- Don’t get creepy/pushy:
- Don’t follow up more than twice a week or multiple times a day. Know when a company is not interested and move on. Don’t spam your connections with the company.
- Keep job seeking:
- Don’t give up on applying to other companies while waiting on a response.
- Do research: On company, values, product/services, and culture. Show you are eager and a great fit.
- Stand out: Tie together your experience with the needs of the role.
- Ask questions: What might you be able to do to move into a position like this.
Following up is an expected part of the application process.
Following up may seem pushy or impolite but it is quite the opposite. It is common to follow-up after a job interview, but it is also very important to do one after a job application. Following up may be the difference between you getting an interview or being looked over.
For more tips on searching for a job, resumes, networking, etc. check out Our First Job Search.