Follow Up On a Job Application With These 5 Steps


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Landing a job is an art, and the winner is usually the first one who brushes some well-targeted paint on the canvas.

According to, a Lebanon, N.H.-based firm that provides job-seekers with updated information on their employment applications, says 50% of hires applied during the first week a job posting went up on the wire.

Furthermore, 27% got the job by responding the day an ad was posted.

“Job-seekers underestimate the importance of being at the front of the hiring line,” says Chris Forman, chief executive of StartWire. “Once a hiring manager or recruiter does an initial pre-screen of candidates and makes an interview list, they rarely look back at applications that come in later. To optimize your chances, apply as soon as you see a job. And seek out an internal contact within the company who can put in a good word for you.”

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But what happens when you apply for a job or even go on an interview – and don’t hear back?

Leaving applicants in the dark is bad for business, StartWire says, since 77% of job-seekers (who double as consumers) think less of a firm that doesn’t get back to job applicants. What’s more, 58% say they would “think twice” before buying that company’s products or services.

That’s the employer’s problem. For job-seekers who remain in the dark after shipping off an application or completing a job interview, the best defense, as the saying goes, is a good offense.

Here are some concrete steps to take when you don’ hear back from a potential employer:

  • First, review what you’ve done: Make sure you don’t have any leaks in your application. Re-read your application and target any errors or grammar issues. Make sure you have multiple contact listings, including a phone and/or cellphone, email and Twitter tag. Have a friend or family member review the copy too. If you’re error free, move on to step two. If you found an error, fix it, and make sure your next job application is error free. If you do have a glaring error or two, know that such mistakes are a big red flag to hiring managers.
  • The “24-hour thank you note”: Within a day of a job interview, write back with a nice, diplomatic “thank you” note to your would-be employer. Make sure you refer to your contact by name, thank them for the learning experience and offer to be on call 24/7 to answer any questions. Above all, register your enthusiasm for the job. That – plus the fact your thank you note gets you back on the employer’s radar screen — should separate you from the pack.
  • Follow up: Human resource consultants say one week is sufficient time to get back to an employer who has left you hanging, and that goes for employment applications and job interviews as well. Set that as a target date and get back to your potential employer, preferably by email. You can text if you have their phone number. If you share Twitter or Linked In accounts, a job query works, too.
  • Establish a timeline: This tip is tricky, but done right, it’s highly effective. In your follow-up note, make sure to establish some time boundaries. Include in your note a line or two similar to this one: “I’d appreciate a time frame for a direct response. Please advise, and thanks for your help in advance.” Hiring managers are human, after all, and will likely provide any information they can, within reason. But if you don’t ask them, chances are they won’t offer up any timelines.
  • One more tip: Don’t be afraid to “water the infield.” In baseball parlance, groundskeepers don’t go out at the end of the fourth inning and just water the area near first base – they water the entire infield. The same goes for job-seekers. By all means take all the steps listed above, but increase your odds of landing a job by sending as many applications and going to as many job , as possible.

Not only will that increase your odds; an actual job offer gives you leverage with the original company and makes you a more desirable job applicant.

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  • Muse_73

    This is a bunch of effen BS. If company employers can fault job applicants on misspelled errors on resumes then what about the misspells they create on their own job ads? Take a second look and read their ad sometimes and please be very aware of false job advertising also unless you want to get stiffed by these companies!

    • froglady

      I worked in Job Service for the State of MI and this follows all the things we said to anyone applying for a job.  It takes work to get a JOB!!  Many of the things listed came from emplyers as they told us what they looked for.  One person did not get hired as the employer was considering 2 aplicants and the other one sent a thank-you note and she got hired..

  • DavidHunterMoore

    I disagree with the “Timeline” approach.  It’s never a good idea to put the hiring manager on the defense.  They are the ones driving the process, not the interviewer.  They know how to contact you if they want to talk to you further.  You’re better off sending your thank you note and continuing on with your job search.  Don’t get yourself stuck in a rut — it’s not worth it.

    David Hunter Moore
    JobSpire –

  • Kristen Zabrowski

    I have a question about something I’ve come across a lot lately that I’ve never seen much before. On many of the job postings I’ve been finding, there will be a comment such as “No phone calls about this position,” or “Please do not inquire about this opening in person.” I feel like I keep hitting dead ends because I’ll either apply online and wait for a response, only to feel stuck behind the “do not inquire in person” remark, or I’ll turn in an application and resume in person, then never hear back but feel as though I shouldn’t contact them again because the posting said “no calls or emails.” Is there a tactful way to address this or if it says ‘no’ directly is it best to just let it go?