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Application Follow-Up 101

by Melissa Small
Girl Phone Call
 

There is no magical formula to follow when it comes to application follow-ups. Questions like “how long should I wait before following up?”, “should I email or call?”, “how many times can I follow up before appearing rude or desperate?” and “should my follow up be after the application or after the interview?” don’t have definitive answers that work for every employer.

However, here are some standardized tips and guidelines you can follow as a starting point, remembering that each situation is unique and may require you to feel out what you deem to be appropriate.

Thank You Email - Generally, if you’ve attended an interview it’s professional etiquette to send in a thank you letter within about 24-28 hours after the completion of the interview. This gives you enough time to unwind from the stress that you may have experienced in the interview, so that you can provide a more meaningful reflection to your conversations. Get someone to proofread it before you send it out.

Get a Timeline/Contact Method - Try to leave interviews with a sense of when the employer is expecting to have an answer by. Find out when the employer will contact you by and how you’ll be contacted. Or, ask for a business card for follow-up questions, and offer ideas for how you can stay in touch. This may help you identify the preferred way for the employer to be contacted and give you the method that you’ll use.

Don’t Call More than Once in 24-48 Hours - Give them time, they may be in a meeting or out of the office. After 48 hours you could try sending an email or calling reception to enquire if the hiring manager is in.

Put the Onus on You - Rather than asking why you haven’t gotten a response, state that you’ve been eagerly awaiting a reply after your conversation and are still very excited for the opportunity. Even if they haven’t come to a decision, you would really appreciate an update. Continue to show enthusiasm but be respectful that they may have a heavy workload on their plate.

And While You’re Waiting for a Reply...

-Check your junk mail. The person who interviewed you may have passed your email on to HR to set up an orientation. Depending on the security settings of your email, you may have missed their attempt to connect.
-Contact anyone you know who works for the company or who interviewed for the job to see if they’ve heard anything. Check in with your references to see if they’ve been contacted by the hiring manager.
-If you’re growing frustrated with the time the decision process is taking, take a moment to think about what that tells you about the company’s culture. You may be left on your own or without answers frequently. Is this a place you really want to work? Trust your gut.
-If you’ve applied online, look at the company website or check social media profiles to see if the job posting still active.