By Rachel Dhaliwal
Contributor, Career Services
Although searching for a new job is never fun, it is necessary for most of us at one point or another in our lives. One of the best things you can do during this time is to manage your expectations. This is particularly important during the follow-up process of your job hunt.
If you have applied for a position but have not heard from your potential employer, you might wonder when a follow-up is displaying professionalism and showing interest, and when it is annoying and/or desperate. The following recommendations can help put your mind at ease and, with luck, increase your chances of getting a response.
1. If the job vacancy has not reached the “close” date, don’t follow up yet. Wait one week and then send a short, polite email asking about the company’s hiring timeline, briefly reiterating your interest in the position. This type of email encourages your potential employer to provide you with a specific date or range when you can expect to hear something.
2. If the job posting has closed, wait one week (five business days). Then, send an email to ask if there is any news about that position.
If you don’t hear anything within two weeks of sending your follow-up email, send one more email. Politely ask again about the timeline and reiterate your interest. You can also ask if you might receive feedback on how to improve your chances next time.
3. If you don’t hear anything after the second email, accept that you didn’t get the job and move on. But don’t write off that company about applying for other positions there in the future. People, positions, departments and even whole companies change all the time. The next open opportunity could be yours.
4. It is crucial that you abide by all timelines given by that employer. If you know by which day you might expect to hear something, do not contact the company before then.
To contact an employer ahead of time is far more likely to be perceived negatively than positively. If the hiring manager says, “Next Monday,” wait until Tuesday. If she says, “Next week,” give her until mid-morning of that Friday.
Contacting her before the date you were given can be aggravating to the hiring manager and might suggest to her that you can’t or won’t follow directions. Would you want to hire a person like that?
5. Remember: there is no way of knowing what is going on inside a company. There are many reasons why companies do not provide what applicants would consider a “timely response.”
For example, there could be a temporary hiring freeze while the company completes a merger or acquisition, a key decision-maker could be unavailable or the company is simply not in a rush to fill the vacancy. You have to be patient, stay positive and remain active in your job search.
6. While you’re waiting to hear from an employer, continue to apply for other positions of interest and keep developing your network. If you haven’t already, consider reaching out to a career coach. Our career coaches will provide you with job-related assistance, such as polishing your resume, devising an effective career search strategy and conducting mock interviews.