Follow-up is Key for Job Applicants
Companies that have many applicants for job openings are truly glad that a lot of people want to work for them. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the manpower to offer individualized responses, no matter how great you feel your cover letter and résumé may be. That’s why, according to an article published by CareerBuilder.com, it is imperative that job seekers follow-up with prospective employers to make sure their application materials were received. In doing so, you can further demonstrate interest and help yourself stand out from the crowd.
“After submitting a job application, it is wise to follow-up with a telephone call to the appropriate contact within a week to 10 days,” said Marry Massad, vice president of talent acquisition and retention strategies for Administaff, a professional employer organization headquartered in Houston. “Some individuals might feel that following up may be perceived as being too pushy, but this actually demonstrates to the employer that you are conscientious, organized and professional.”
When following up, Massad recommended asking if the application was received and if any additional information is needed. “It is also important to restate your interest in the job, but don’t be overzealous,” she added.
Pennell Locey, senior consultant for Keystone Associates, a career management firm in Boston, suggests trying to stand out from the masses by seeing if you can find a contact at the company who can single you out to the hiring manager and speak about your strengths. “That can be beneficial to you (you may get an interview) and to the company (finding a candidate who someone is willing to vouch for).”
“Given the volume of applications an HR office receives, you should not expect a response beyond an automated ‘we received your application’ unless a company is interested in interviewing you,” Locey told Careerbuilders.com. “In the event there was no auto-response, you can send a note via snail mail to someone in HR along with your résumé to ensure that they received it.”
Job seekers who are fortunate enough to generate employer interest may think their days of waiting are over. In truth, however, an interview — or even two or three — may simply usher in a new era of frustrating silence, the article pointed out.
According to Locey, if you have interviewed with a company and not heard back within two weeks, chances are that one or more of the following is happening:
- They can’t get the interviewers together to discuss the candidates post-interview.
- You are not the first choice but are strong enough that they do not want to say “no” yet.
- Having talked to several qualified people has changed the hiring manager’s view of the job and he is working behind the scenes to upgrade or shift the role.
“The best thing you can do is try to set some expectations during the interview about what the company’s process is,” said Tracy A. Cashman, partner and general manager of the information technology division of Winter, Wyman, one of the largest staffing firms in the Northeast. “Ask when you can expect to hear if you are selected for the next round. Take that date, add a few days to it and then don’t be afraid to politely follow up.”
Sending a thank-you note immediately after the interview can help set the stage for further contact, as well. According to the article, follow-up strategies later in the game may include:
- Sending an e-mail that reiterates interest and offers to provide any additional information.
- Finding an article on a topic discussed during the interview and sending it with a note as a way to show you are thinking about the company.
- Phoning the person who interviewed you to thank her again, to ask if there is an update on the position and to share anything you might have forgotten in the initial interview.
Clearly, while employer silence is anything but golden to an eager applicant, the article noted, it’s important to stay positive by remembering that the day may soon come when the quietness will be broken by the sweet sound of a job offer.