Proper follow-up is an integral piece of your job search, and how you execute can make, or break, your chances at snagging an interview, or even an offer.
And while we live in the digital age where immediate information at our fingertips is the norm, it’s not quite the way the hiring process works.
As such, your efforts in following up after sending an application, or after a interview, require a delicate balance of assertiveness and respect for your contact’s time.
An application, an invitation to interview and even an offer letter can get held up in the HR system for any number of reasons, and it’s important to remember that you may often find yourself waiting for an “immediate response” on day three (or four, or sometimes 14 or 40).
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when following up with employers:
1. Ask for (Don’t Demand) the Opportunity to Interview
Sent an application but haven’t heard back about an interview? In one week, follow up with “I welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications and the needs of the position in more depth.” This sounds much more tactful than “Please call me at your earliest convenience to setup an interview.” Be professional and respectful; most important, be kind.
2. Two Weeks and Still No Interview
Recruiters receive sometimes hundreds of submissions for each job posting, and simply don’t have the capacity to respond to each candidate individually. If they’re interested, they will get back to you. But if you do follow up, be professional, concise, and tactful. Remind them which position you applied to, and reinforce your interest in the role and why you’re a good fit.
3. Follow Up Within 24 Hours of an Interview
You got the interview… great! While ideally you would follow up before the end of that same business day, but it is okay to respond within 24 hours. Any longer than that, and the employer may assume this job isn’t a high priority for you.
4. “No Phone Calls, Please”
If the application or job posting says “Please, No Phone Calls”, then respect the recruiter by not calling them. HR folks are busy, and application instructions such as this are highlighted for a reason.
5. Allow 2 to 3 Days to “Get Right Back to You”
If after an interview the recruiter or hiring manager informs you they will be in touch with you regarding next steps, give them two to three days before following up (even if they tell you “tomorrow”). This does not apply to your thank you note, which you should send within 24 hours.
6. The 7-Day Rule for Follow Up Number Two
No response to your first followup? Several days later, it’s okay to follow up again. Do not mention that they didn’t answer you the first time. Instead use it as an opportunity to reaffirm your interest in the position and the company. Of course, bring the conversation back around to why you’re a good fit for the role.
7. Ask for Feedback
If for any reason you discover you weren’t extended an offer to proceed to the next round of job interviews, ask them for feedback on your interview skills. What did you do well? What could you do better? What would it take to get to the next round next time? Then, be a good listener… because what you’re about to hear is gold plated advice.
8. Sometimes It’s Just Not Meant to Be
No matter how hard you try, and no matter how much you want the job, rejection letters come with the territory. Never respond to a rejection letter in a negative manner. In today’s market, reputation is everything, as people move around from company to company. And while hiring managers won’t always remember the candidates they come in contact with, they most certainly will remember those who rub them the wrong way.
Communication and reputation are just as much a part of your personal brand as your resume, your social media presence, and your LinkedIn profile. Each of these defines your value and integrity as a job seeker, so bring your best game… but also be willing to play by the rules of job interview follow-up.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio.
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!