The Best Rule EVER for Following Up: “Promised Plus 1”

Torpedo kittyA recent Forbes article offered the same worn-out “rules” on what to do if you haven’t heard from the company after an interview.

I have a different rule that applies; one that actually works: “Promised Plus 1”.

Specifically, “Promised Plus 1” means you, without fail, follow-up the day after the recruiter promised you an answer, or at least further communication. When applied with confidence, gusto, and a wee little bit of verve, this rule should warrant at least a cursory response from the company as opposed to other techniques that result in… crickets.

A positive response? A job offer? No, not always… but at least an answer, or update.

To know why Promised Plus 1 works, you must know why recruiters typically miss their target dates for letting people know about their status:

  • The person was really bad and the recruiter thinks that contacting them would cause some kind of incident
  • The person wasn’t really that bad and the recruiter thinks that by not contacting them the person will stay interested
  • The recruiter is simply really bad at keeping promises
  • The recruiter is simply really bad
  • The recruiter is waiting for word from a hiring manager who is either really busy or really wishy-washy and this same recruiter doesn’t have enough stroke to make the hiring manager reassess their hiring priorities

If you’re thinking that all status update delays are ultimately due to the recruiter – you’re right. But you’re probably not thinking about the level of stress piled on top of busy recruiters day after day (even us grizzled veterans get a little antsy from time to time – but we’ve learned some coping mechanisms and grown thick, anti-complaining skin).

So damn this status update delay of yours; let’s get an answer…

Remember that business card you asked for during the interview? The thing with the phone number on it? Once the “Promised Plus 1” day comes around, pick up the phone and CALL!

“Steve, while I’m certain you’re the busiest person at XYZ Company, I’m very much interested in becoming the second busiest person there – if not the first. So I’m calling now to follow-up. For me to become the second (if not the first) busiest person at XYZ, I need to hear from you. I can be reached at…”

Short and sweet.

Notice the tone of the message?

Fun but direct. No whining. All positive.

Anything but a phone call keeps the power in the hands of the recruiter and delays action. Anything but a phone call tells me the person who wants the job won’t be confident enough to confront challenging situations if hired.

“Promised Plus 1” works.

Make the call…





Steve_Levy_AuthorAbout the Author: Steve Levy is focused on recruiting, career counseling, social media, and organizational development consulting – and has been referred to as “the recruiting industry’s answer to Tom Peters”. Steve is an incurable blogger ( and among many others) and social media participant who is passionate about veteran issues. Steve has been a COI with Armed Forces recruiting for many years, a Navy volunteer “fitness consultant”; his family has a storied history of service to our country.

Steve is a Tau Beta Pi engineer from the University of Vermont (there is no such thing as a former Engineer, Marine or Jesuit) with his graduate degree in Industrial / Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University. Follow Steve on Twitter!


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