Have you ever wondered when you should follow up after an interview or submitting an application?
“When should I follow up” is one of the most frequently asked questions I hear from job seekers.
I don’t want you to wonder.
I want you to feel in control and so I put together some concrete guidelines to help make this a no-brainer for you and give you back some of the power and control!
Stand Out in the Right Way
Most of us want to follow the rules yet at the same time, we want to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes these seem to be contradictory concepts. Stand out and be remembered for the right things!
- Put a System In Place
- Be Politely and Patiently Persistent
- Close the Loop
Put a System In Place
First things first. Now is the perfect time to put a system for tracking in place for when and who you should be following up with! It could be an Excel spreadsheet, a software program, or it might be a calendaring system (paper or electronic). That is up to you.
As you create your system, consider starting off by minimally capturing this data:
- Name, company name, phone and email of the person to contact.
- Name, phone and email of the person referring you.
- How and what the referring person said about a job lead or contact they are providing.
- “Take Action” date.
- Action method (phone, email, other).
- Date of last action.
You don’t want to seem like a pest but you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity either, so when do you follow-up?
The answer depends.
You can take the guesswork out of the equation by taking control. In your message or during your conversation, state when you will be following up. If the issue is urgent (such as you have an upcoming interview and you want to ask a current employee questions before the interview), let them know what your deadline is and that you will be following up within a day.
During the interview, always ask the interviewer when you should follow up. This will eliminate one of the most commonly asked questions people have – “when should I follow up after an interview?”
If you remember to ask this during the interview, you won’t be wondering later.
Be Politely and Patiently Persistent
People have good intentions, however, sometimes they just don’t do things with the same sense of urgency you might.
Set the expectation that you will be following up within a certain timeframe just in case they get sidetracked or perhaps even forget to do what they said they would do for you. This way, when you do try to follow up, you have their permission.
Don’t give up! As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If someone has given you permission to follow up, you are within your rights to systematically and politely do so.
Understand why you aren’t hearing back.
Turning Gray Into Black and White
It is difficult to give specific recommendations for follow up, but for the sake of those who want some specific guidelines, these generally work. I realize this may sound extreme to some. But it’s a guideline.
|Applied for |
|Phone||Same day||Ask what their time frame is and if they received your application/ information|
|Given the name of someone to call/contact||Phone or email||Same day||Request meeting and use the name of referral source|
|Met with someone for |
|Email or US Mail||Same day||Thank them for their time and reference specific details from the conversation. Explain next steps you plan on taking|
|Job Interview||Email or US Mail||24 hours||Sending a thank you message will show interest and can help them remember you|
|Follow up after no response||Phone/email alternately||Weekly if no response||Politely tell them you are interested and ask where they are in the process|
Close The Loop
Providing thanks or following up to remind someone of their commitment is your responsibility.
When someone gives you a referral of any kind, let them know what the outcome was, or – at the very least – let them know that you’ve done what they’ve suggested.
Providing this feedback makes them feel good and makes them much more likely to help you (and others) in the future.
Here’s more help on following up
This post originally appeared on Job-Hunt.orgTo learn the details behind these, you’ll want to read the full article I wrote on Job-Hunt.org How to Stand Out by Following Up for Job Search Success!