The Vital — and Often Overlooked — Step in the Job Seeking Process: The Follow Up

So you’ve applied for a position or actually had the interview. Now what do you do? Wait and keep your fingers crossed? Make weekly calls to check up? The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

After putting in an application, unless the job posting specifically tells you not to follow up (and some do — make sure to carefully read the description), it’s acceptable to follow up within a week or so of applying. Look carefully on the description as well to find a contact person and send an email or make a phone call, making sure you’ve carefully considered what you’re going to say or write before making the connection. Using either method, keep it to-the-point, professional, and enthusiastic.

You have a few options:

  • Some suggest you write an email to a hiring manager almost as a second cover letter, expanding on your eagerness to get the position and taking the opportunity to write again how you would best benefit the company, focusing on what you can do for them and how you can help the company improve.
  • On the other hand, consider that the hiring manager has about 200+ applications per position coming his way, and taking time to read your long follow up can throw him off track, especially when he has to find your application in the pile. So instead, keep it simple: mention the position you applied for, ask if he has received the materials, reiterate your enthusiasm for the position, and add how you look forward to discussing things further when he schedules interviews. This way you’ve kept it concise, polite, and respectful of the hiring manager’s time.
  • As a real standout, you might consider following up in person to make sure they got your information. Do it at an off-peak time, dressed in interview attire, and ask to speak to the hiring manager. Have copies of your references and resume with you. It’s a risk, but if you time it well, it could definitely make you memorable.

Any of these could work; your method depends on you and what you think will work best. And far too few candidates follow up after an application; this step alone can make you more memorable to a busy hiring manager.

As for following up after an interview, consider this: Out of the 200+ applications received, you made it to the next round, which means you’re a top contender. So you need to take the follow-up seriously.

  • First of all, at the end of the interview, look all interviewers right in the eye and thank them with a handshake before you leave. Try to get business cards so you can then write a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview — less time than that if you plan to email. Once you leave, make notes of what happened so you can reference them later for the next step, the thank you note.
  • A thank you email is acceptable nowadays, although a handwritten one can show some thought and care. If you choose to email, do it as soon as possible after the interview. If you want to go the handwritten route, have stationery and stamps ready so you can write it with the interview fresh in your mind, which can help you stand out because they know you were paying attention. Use this opportunity to write anything you forgot to mention in your interview that you want them to know, emphasizing again how eager you are to work for the company and your gratitude for the interview. Proofread it and send it along.

If you want a position, you have to consider what you can do in order to make yourself stand out as a candidate. Using these points to follow up will help you accomplish this. For further help from the staffing professionals at PrideStaff, reach out to our experienced recruiters today!

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