There’s nothing worse than being left waiting for an outcome, especially if you’re job hunting! While a good hiring manager or recruiter will keep everyone in the loop as to the status of their application in a timely manner, unfortunately this isn’t always the case and many job seekers are left wondering what happened.

It’s hard to do better if you don’t have any feedback to learn from, so how do you follow up on a job application you’ve made? Let our latest top tips guide you through!

Following up if you’ve submitted an application

If you’re still waiting to hear back on a job application you’ve submitted but not interviewed for, the first thing to do is check the vacancy closing date. Most hiring managers and recruiters won’t review applications until after that date has passed to allow everyone an equal opportunity to get their CV into the mix. If you haven’t heard anything yet, it could be because the applications are still open!

If the application close date has passed, and it’s been adequate time for the hiring manager or recruiter to review applications (i.e. at least 5 working days), the appropriate steps for following up from here is to either send an email or make a quick call to check in.

It’s really crucial when you’re following up to be polite, friendly and professional. For phone calls, plan out what you want to say beforehand to avoid any awkward conversations. Make sure you have the job title and organisation name ready to go, especially if it’s a recruitment agency or large organisation that may be dealing with multiple vacancies at any one time.

Keep emails brief and professional – include your contact details and the role you’ve applied for. All you need to do in the email itself is ask whether there has been any update with your application and simply leave it at that. If you don’t get a response to your email, we definitely suggest trying to follow up with a phone call.

Did you receive a confirmation email or acknowledgement of your application originally? Before following up on a job application it pays to make sure it was actually received. If you didn’t receive any kind of acknowledgement when you first applied, don’t be afraid to get in touch to confirm your application has actually gone through to the right place.

Don’t forget to check your email junk folder too! Often application acknowledgement emails will give you an indication of the timeframes or process and the relevant contact details, so check there too in case you missed something.

Following up if you’ve interviewed for a job

So you’ve done all your prep, made it to the interview stage and answered all their questions to the best of your ability, now what?

If you’ve interviewed for a role, the expectation is that whoever interviewed you will get back in touch as soon as they have an update or news to share. Unfortunately however, there’re many horror stories out there of job seekers putting in lots of time and effort to really impress at their interview, only to be left waiting with no contact.

We always recommend asking for a timeline at your interview if one is not offered, that way you’ll have a rough idea of when you’d expect to be receiving feedback, and when you should follow up if you haven’t heard anything!

Interviews can sometimes be spread out over multiple days (sometimes even weeks depending on interviewer availability), so even though yours is already done and you’re anxiously awaiting an outcome, they may not have completed the interview process, so are not able to update you just yet.

If you get to a point where you know the interview process has been completed and you still haven’t had any updates, we definitely recommend following up. Who you should contact will depend – if you have the contact information of the person who interviewed you, give them a quick call or email. If you don’t have their details, follow up with the person you liaised with to arrange the interview – they may not be able to tell you any information, but at the very least they can either connect you with the right person or pass on a message.

Phone call or email?

It can be hard to know what the most appropriate method of contact should be for following up on a job application. Recruiters and hiring managers are busy and likely working on several vacancies at a time, so it’s understandable that you might be hesitant about how to approach them.

A phone call is quicker and easier, but that’s only going to work if you have the right phone number! Sending an email is absolutely fine too, but it may take longer to receive a response if it’s not going directly to the decision maker.

Regardless of what method you use to follow up, keep in mind that this interaction can impact your application’s chances (if a decision hasn’t been made yet), and any future ones you may make with this recruiter or organisation. Keep it brief, keep it professional and no matter the outcome, keep it respectful.

Fingers crossed that when you do get the update, it’s good news. However if it’s not the outcome you were hoping for, make sure you check out our top tips on how to deal with interview feedback.

Good luck,
Kirsty and Nikki

Job Hunting while Working
Making Smart Hiring Decisions