Follow up a job application without being a pest

How to follow up after you've submitted your job application and had an interview - without annoying the recruiter

Learning the delicate art of following up a job application is fraught with risk, especially if you’ve yet to reach the interview stage. Get it right and you can score the inside running to your dream job. Get it wrong and you risk destroying your chances before you even start.

Here’s what to do:

Read the fine print 

If – on any part of the job description – the recruiter states they don’t want to be bombarded with follow-ups, DON’T do it! Failure to follow such a simple instruction will likely see your application deleted without further consideration.

Be patient 

Ignore the temptation to follow up immediately. Too soon will make the interviewer feel pressured and too late you risk being forgotten. A happy medium is between seven and 10 days to allow the application assessment process to begin.

Develop your network

Make contacts within the company  you wish to work and utilise their insider knowledge to fine tune your approach.

Embrace technology 

One email or a phone call is usually the only acceptable way to follow up. Anything more will either annoy the recruiter or even make them think you’re a stalker.

Phone versus email 

Unfortunately the jury is still out on which is the better method. Some like the personal touch of a phone call, while others find it intrusive and an interruption to their already extremely heavy workload. Email, on the other hand, also has its pitfalls. It’s easy to ignore, to discard or to miss entirely.

Keep the follow up simple

State when you applied for the role and then confirm your application was actually received. It’s also a good idea to briefly describe why you’re a good fit for the position and how you would appreciate the chance to discuss your skills, experience and qualifications in an interview. Don’t forget to also thank the recruiter for their consideration and include your contact information. 

Make it worth your while

If choosing the phone route you run the risk of irritating the recruiter, so be sure to make it count. Prepare a few meaty job-related questions that can only be answered by someone with actual hiring power, so you don’t get palmed off. Introduce yourself politely, mention you’re applying for the role and suggest you just have a few queries about the position.

Tips for following up with a recruiter after a job interview:

  • Read the fine print
  • Never more than one email or phone call
  • Keep communications simple, concise and professional
  • If you can only make one phone call, make it count


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