There are several stages of the hiring process that each require a specific time to follow up. We explain when to follow up for each stage during the hiring process. This way, you will never come across as desperate, aloof, or disrespectful during your job search.
1. You just submitted an application
When: Wait between five and ten business days. However, if you applied through online applications you are very much at the mercy of the company’s discretion. They will usually send you an auto-email reading, “We have many job candidates and will reply to only those we are interested in”.
Notes: This is what makes applying for jobs as a result of networking so important. You at least have a human being to contact. If you have a person to contact keep in mind things like holidays and/or the person who referred you. It’s always good to ask the referrer the best time to follow up.
2. You just had a phone interview
When: If all things went well, follow up the same day and thank them for the call. Do not worry. A “thank you for your time today” email is respectful and is a good chance to emphasize your interest in the company. You are also showing your written and interpersonal skills. If you do not hear back anything after the phone interview, follow up with an email asking for a status update and confirming your interest after 3 business days unless otherwise stated. Check out this template for a follow up after a phone interview.
3. You just had the in-person interview
When: Congratulations if you made it this far in the hiring process! The next day, send out either an email or handwritten letter (people still appreciate this) and state your appreciation for the interview. Be sure to highlight your interest in the job and let them know you look forward to being in touch again soon. If you do not hear back after the in-person interview, follow up with an email asking for a status update and confirming your interest after 3 business days unless otherwise stated. Check out this template for a follow up after a phone interview.
4. You just received the “We will let you know” email
When: You did numbers 1, 2, and 3 above. You followed up appropriately with your emails. And now you are told, “we will let you know”. It is not always the best feeling to get this email but it is not a rejection by any means. It is now time to be patient and continue job searching. Wait 5 business days before checking in again.
Note: If you are in an active job search and receive an offer for another job during that time, it is professional and reasonable to reach back out and let the employer know. Letting them know may offer you leverage for a job offer or it may make it easier for them to remove you as a possible hire. Either way, it makes your life easier.
Never jump to conclusions, take things personally, or become impatient. The hiring process requires a combination of patience, professionalism, and respect for the time and efforts of others. The last thing you want to do is manifest your fears into your reality by destroying job opportunities because you feared they would never call you back.