Follow ups - do they work?

Having spent hours polishing your job application to perfection, you finally push send. And then... you wait. And chew your fingernails, wondering if you should follow up your application. What next? Well, you can follow up on your application, but before you do, read on.

How long should I wait?

Unfortunately, the recruiting process takes as long as it takes. In a busy company, especially one faced with a mountain of job applications, things do take time and sometimes lots of it.

  • Before you do anything, read the fine print in every piece of correspondence you’ve received. Sometimes job application packages or responses to your application include a further response date. Following up before this date is not a good look.

  • Wait at least a week, if not two or three. You don’t want to seem too pushy or inconsiderate of their time.

  • While you’re reading that fine print, look for a line that specifically asks applicants not to follow up. Again, doing so is not a good look.

How should I follow up?

In today’s digital world, most companies prefer an email or other digital contact which allows them to respond when their schedule allows rather than answering badly timed phone calls. However, there is no hard and fast rule and it is up to you to judge what approach would best fit a company’s culture. The options are:

  • Email - a safe bet, as long as you don’t spam them. If you’re following up on multiple applications, ensure each one is individualised. Take time to write a succinct, professional email.

  • Professional social media networking platforms - but just choose one, don’t spam the person on every account they’re on.

  • Phone - try to time it well. For instance, try to find out if they have weekly deadlines and try to avoid those – and be ready with a rehearsed idea of what you’ll say, without being too pushy or downright annoying. Always be friendly and polite, because this conversation will tell a recruiter a lot about you.

  • In person - this relies on your judgement of a company and your knowledge of the people you’re dealing with; perhaps you dropped off your application in person too. If you do visit, ensure you’re dressed appropriately, you’re friendly and warm, and you don’t stay too long. Ask for another follow-up date if appropriate. This will solve your next problem of deciding if and when to follow up again.

But does it work?

Unfortunately only a crystal ball could tell you if follow ups work. Some companies are open to the idea of candidates being motivated and proactive enough to follow up while others will never return your emails or calls again.

If you’re the right person for the job, then you’ll find out in due course and if not, then it was not for you.