When Is It Appropriate to Follow Up On a Job Application?

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There is no hard and fast rule about when it is appropriate to follow up on a job application. You want to stay informed on the hiring process, but you do not want to appear desperate or begin to annoy the hiring manager or human resources staff. Every situation is different, but a good rule of thumb is to wait a few weeks between status inquiries. Any sooner and you’ll be a pest.

The Hiring Process Takes a While

The government hiring process takes a long time. Sometimes positions remain vacant for months while hiring managers complete the necessary steps and sub-processes needed to advertise a job opening, screen applications, interview candidates, select a candidate and offer the job. You could check on your application’s status after a few weeks and find it hasn’t progressed at all in the process, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of the running for the job. Even in private companies, hiring is often a bureaucratic process.

Online Application Systems Make Follow Up Easier

Fortunately, many online application systems have features that allow applicants to check on the statuses of their applications without needing to contact someone at the hiring organization. Applicants log into the system and can see the status of any application they have submitted. This benefits the organization by reducing application status inquiries, and it helps applicants by keeping them informed. Unfortunately, some organizations and hiring managers neglect these features leaving applicants wondering about their applications as if there were no online notifications at all.

If an organization wants you, it will get in touch with you. The application and other required materials tell the organization what it wants to know about each candidate. Once you have sent in your application, the onus is on the organization to make the next contact.