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Job application follow up

Job application follow up?

Are you hearing from employers after you turn in your cover letter and resume? Or are you like many who never hear back from the hiring company and end up dismayed with the application system?

I only know what I hear about. My position is working within the recruiting system. The feedback I hear about leans towards what “isn’t working with HR”.

Fair enough, comes with the territory, bring it.

That being said, I do know how many times I experience a follow-up email or phone calls from candidates turning in a resume. Outside of professional sales roles and executives, I would say the number is about 99% of the time. When I say 99% of the time, I mean, 99% of the time I don’t receive a follow-up.

Lack of a job application follow up is the new black

Hell, I rarely receive a thank you for taking the time to talk with someone on the phone or in person. Maybe gone are the days of the thank you or follow up. But I digress. 

My point is that if I only hear about a follow up 1% of the time, then candidates can really stick out of a crowd when they DO follow up.

There is a reason professional salespeople follow up after they make a sales call, phone call or send an email. CRM’s have fields for follow-ups. Executives follow up. They all do it for the same reason. 

The shit works people

For those who don’t believe, I was reminded of the job application follow up move working the other night. I thought it would make a good post and give it to you, play by-play.

The real life example

I went to my local hang out. My Cheers Pub per say, where everyone knows my name. It’s not like my 9-5 where everyone thinks in their quiet voice “Oh, it’s HR, break time is over”. At this place, I do hear half a dozen shout-outs of “HRNASTYYYYyyyy” when I come through the door. Everyone welcomes me by name or at least gives me a head nod.

Follow up

I am probably Norm, but this is my Cheers

I had been helping a friend on and off with their job hunt. It has been a very informal relationship. She has a single question or two, I would try to provide some advice. We were not meeting on a regular basis and I wasn’t hearing updates on a job by job basis. When we ran into each other, she would ask a question or two and I would answer. Thankfully, all of my advice had been panning out and I still had credibility. 

Play by play

On this evening, she came by and mentioned that she had applied for a position but hadn’t heard back. It had been about a week and was genuinely excited about the opportunity. She hadn’t heard back after turning in her resume and didn’t know what to do.

I suggested she follow up with the hiring company. She wasn’t surprised but it wasn’t the answer she was expecting. She looked at me with a tilted head, narrowed eyes and an expression that said “Huh?”.

I lot of candidates ask me about why they are not hearing back from the hiring company. Well, let’s be real. They aren’t asking as much as they are bitching about the lack of process/response. I get it. It’s probably the number one complaint I hear about when it comes to the hiring process.

We sat down and we talked for just a few minutes. Here is the condensed blow-by-blow

Job application follow up, the blow-by-blow

Hottie: “Should I reapply for the position? Should I turn in my application and change-up my cover letter?”

HRN: “Have you followed up on your application?”

Hottie: “What do you mean follow-up? Call them?”

HRN: “I would start with an email and I would be very specific about it. Explain that you are:

  • Just following up on your application
  • Still very interested in the position
  • Provide some dates when you can meet”

Hottie: “What do you mean provide some dates? Isn’t that a little presumptuous?”

HRN:We could look at it as presumptuous. I like to look at it as being proactive and making it easier on the hiring manager. We are managing their process. We are providing a path to yes.”

Email them today and give them a few dates and time for next week when you are free. But not on Monday. Monday’s are busy for everyone and we want to give them availability far enough out that they will actually be free.” 

What do you have to lose at this point?

Hottie was seeing where this was going and was smelling blood in the water

HRN: “Yes, if you just email them and say I am following up, without providing available dates, the hiring manager has a number of mental calculations: 

  1. Email you BACK and respond with “Sorry, we were busy” and then provide research their calendar and email YOU with multiple dates that work.
  2. Hope you follow up. Let’s say you follow up and confirm a date.
  3. Then they send a final email date to confirm the date they proposed.”

That email exchange isn’t mentally exhausting by itself. When it comes to scheduling you and 3 other candidates OR candidates for an additional 3 positions. They can provide you with dates but they can just as easily be taken by other candidates and the process starts all over.

“Giving them a few dates and times allows them to just look at their schedule and confirm with you their availability. You are doing the scheduling for them. You are making their job easier. We cut the email back and forth from multiple back and forth’s. Much less emotional investment.”

It works after hours

Visibly getting it now she high fived me and went back to her party.

About an hour later and this was probably 8:00 PM, she came by very excited. I thought we were going to be serving cake or a vendor was coming by to hand out free cigars. She explained that she emailed them and they ALREADY got back to her. They apologized and said they were busy and confirmed the first meeting time proposed. Hottie is meeting with the CEO next week! Boom and HRN credibility remains intact!

She couldn’t believe it worked. Well, she believed it was going to work. She just wasn’t expecting it to work so quickly and after hours.

Next time you are applying for a job, set a follow-up. You have nothing to lose. 

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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