College graduates who are new to the hiring process often ask about how long they should wait to follow up during the hiring process. After all, there is a fine line between making a friendly inquiry while demonstrating continued interest in the job and running the risk of being perceived as overly aggressive.
While each organization and recruiter might have a different perspective on the timing and frequency of candidate follow-up , here are some examples for when you should follow up:
After applying for a job
For candidates, the hiring process can seem long. After researching some great companies and applying for those “perfect” jobs, it’s natural to be excited and want immediate feedback on your application/resume. You may wonder what happens after you hit that “apply” button, hoping that your profile doesn’t get sucked into this black hole of job seekers, never to have your resume again see the light of day.
So, if you have not been contacted after a week or two, you may consider sending a note via e-mail, making a phone call or connecting with a recruiter via LinkedIn. Your contact should be brief, but polite. Here is a sample message you might send:
Hi! My name is ______ and I applied for job [insert job number if you know it or the job title]. I would like to know if you can tell me what the next steps are in the hiring process. Also, will all candidates be contacted? I am excited to learn more about this opportunity and look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you!
If you have plans to visit the company or, if relocating and plan to visit the city where the company is located, add that information to your note so that you can facilitate the scheduling of interviews during your trip.
After a phone screen or interview
One of your first steps after an interview should be to send a thank you note to the recruiter/hiring manager with whom you met. Showing your enthusiasm for the job and your appreciation for their time to discuss the job with you goes a long way.
Phone screens are often done to learn more about a candidate and determine if the candidate is a possible fit for the job. During this call, ask the recruiter about the next steps in the hiring process and the anticipated timing. If you do not hear back from the recruiter by the specified date, you may want to follow up.
During an interview, much like a phone screen, it’s important to ask the hiring manager about his/her anticipated timeframe for alerting candidates about their progress. If you do not hear back from the company by the anticipated date, you may want to follow up with the person who interviewed you.
Here is a sample e-mail you might send after either interview:
Hi! I enjoyed speaking with you on [insert date of phone screen/interview] about the [insert job title] position. Learning more about the organization/role has made me very excited about the opportunity. I just wanted to touch base to see if there is an update on the status of the position. I look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you!
If you get the job–congratulations! You’ll receive specific instructions for following up with a number of people, likely including the hiring manager and representatives from the Human Resources department. If you didn’t get the job, don’t despair. Perhaps you were not the best qualified candidate for that specific job. But you still might have a future with that company. So, be sure to send a thank you note to the recruiter and express your interest in other opportunities. For example:
Dear [Recruiter]: I enjoyed meeting with you and learning more about [insert company name] during the hiring process for [insert job number or job title]. [Insert company name] seems like a really great place to work. While this particular job didn’t work out, please keep me in mind for other opportunities that might be a better fit. Thanks again for your time!
Following up with people involved in the hiring process can help show your enthusiasm and interest in a particular job. It can also give you peace of mind when schedules get delayed. It’s okay to send notes, make phone calls and even connect on the company’s Facebook page or LinkedIn group . One aspect of the hiring process is to build a relationship between you and the company. Just remember to stay positive in your communications and be patient. Your future is out there and worth every bit of patience and hard work you put into your job search.
Michele is a Senior Recruiter for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a former assistant director at the University of Maryland University College’s Career and Cooperative Education Center, she’s no stranger to students trying to plan their careers. During that time, she worked with non-traditional college students to gain school credit for on the job work experience. Michele also taught seminars on job searching, resume writing and interview techniques, and partnered with local employers to help students gain employment. At Sodexo, she has continued her interest in shaping student careers by serving as a mentor to an intern in the company’s Future Leaders Program. Michele began her recruitment career in 1999, joining Sodexo in 2008 where she recruits for a range of food, facilities and environmental services positions. Michele holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park (go Terps), is a charter member of a Baltimore area Toastmasters chapter, and a Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) and Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR). When not giggling with her two girls, Michele enjoys writing … and watching the Yankees win, much to the dismay of her husband. Join her on LinkedIn or just Network with Us at Sodexo.