After you have submitted an application for a job, you will understandably be eager to find out where you stand. However, it's important to realize that the hiring process can take some time, and you may not hear back right away—or at all.
Unfortunately, it's also possible that you may never get a response, not even a boilerplate note to let you know that you aren't hired or won't be contacted for an interview.
Often, companies receive hundreds (or even thousands) of applications, and simply do not have the time to follow-up. Others may not have a system in place for handling rejections.
Here are some of the reasons why you're not hearing back, and advice on when and how to follow up on the status of a job application.
Before You Follow Up
There are a few things to do before you follow up. First, check the job listing, as well as any emails or other contacts you’ve had with the hiring manager or employer. See if any of that correspondence includes information on when you can expect to hear back from the company. If they give you a date, be sure to wait until after that date to follow up.
Even before submitting the job application, you can plan a time to follow up on your cover letter.
For example, you might include at the end of the cover letter that you will call the company’s office in a week to follow up. However, if the job listing specifically says that applicants should not call or email, then do not include this in your cover letter, and do not follow up.
When to Check on Your Application
It is usually best to wait a week or two before making an inquiry. It's important to give the employer enough time to review job applications and to get ready to schedule interviews. If you follow up any sooner, you might come across as pushy or impatient to the employer.
The Best Ways to Follow Up
Here are options for following up with an employer, including examples of emails and advice on what to say when you call.
Follow Up Email or on LinkedIn
If you have an email address for a contact, then you might send an email to follow up message reaffirming your strong interest in the job and mentioning that you would welcome the opportunity to meet for an interview. Review an example of a follow-up letter you can tailor to fit your circumstances.
A LinkedIn message is another option for following up, especially if you do not have an email address for the employer or hiring manager, but you have their name. If you know someone employed at the company, reach out to let him or her know you applied for a role—potentially, your connection can reach out to the hiring manager and nudge your application along.
Phone Call Follow Up
If you have a phone number for the hiring manager, you can call. Mention a few key reasons why you are so interested and point out why the job is a great fit. Learn what to say when you call.
In-Person Follow Up
It is also acceptable to stop by an employer in person when you have previously dropped off an application in person:
- You can mention that you are following up on your application and wondering if they might consider granting you an interview.
- You should be ready to briefly mention the basis for your interest and why you would be qualified.
- Make sure that you give off positive energy, are dressed appropriately, and engage any employees or employers in a warm and friendly manner.
Don't reach out to a company in person if your application was submitted through an online portal, email, or sent in through snail mail.
Tips for Following Up
It's important to always be polite and professional in your communications. Whether you are communicating via email, on the phone, or in-person, make sure you speak (or write) clearly and professionally. If you are writing, be sure to thoroughly edit your message. If you are speaking to someone, be warm and friendly.
These messages and conversations are still your attempt to make a strong first impression.
Restate your interest in the position but do so briefly. Quickly and concisely restate why you think you would be a good fit for the job. This will help your application stand out even more.
If the company is not ready to make decisions or interview people, ask when they plan to begin the interview process or when they plan to make hiring decisions, so you will know when to follow up again.
Keep your message, phone conversation, or in-person visit brief. You want to make a strong impression, but you also do not want to overstay your welcome.
When to Give Up
Following up on an application in the right way can draw attention to your candidacy and make it more likely that you won't be overlooked. However, it is important not to pester an employer since you might alienate staff.
In general, don't contact an employer more than three times, and leave a couple of weeks in between messages, unless the employer has suggested otherwise.
If you do not hear back after several follow up attempts, move on, and turn your focus to other job applications.