February 8, 2008

"Yes, I'm calling to inquire as to the status of my application" - The art of the follow-up phone call or e-mail

Recently, I was walking in downtown Toronto and I overheard a group of girls talking about their job search. One of them was almost in tears as she told the group how she handed in a resume and application form and had two interviews with the store managers, but that she hadn't heard anything from them since last week.

Now, I wasn't purposely eavesdropping, but they were quite loud and were walking the same way I was, so I couldn't help myself. Plus, as the "Job Jumper", I knew I could offer some advice, which I did, and surprisingly, she did. In fact, she just e-mailed me yesterday and told me she was offered the job - how cool is that?

Anyways, I think what she described is a problem that a number of job seekers often face. And that is, what do I do after the interview?

Easy, it's called a follow-up. I tell people that a follow-up is a "phone call or e-mail that you make a few days after your interview that reminds the hiring manager that you are still interested in the job, and provides that person with an opportunity to obtain additional information from you or provide you with an update as to the hiring process."

Usually, you hear of follow-up calls and thank you notes being sent by people seeking full-time, more career-oriented jobs. But follow-ups are a great job searching tool that everyone should know about and do.

Here are some reasons why you may want to do the follow-up:

- A simple phone call or e-mail could jog the hiring manager's memory. Sometimes, managers do a number of interviews, but then something comes up, and hiring is pushed to the back-burner. A call or e-mail will most likely make that person go "AHA! I remember you!"

- Sometimes, hiring managers need additional information before making a decision. A follow-up is a great chance to see if s/he needs anything else.

- Occasionally, while doing your follow-up call, you discover that one of your references hasn't come through. Without the call or e-mail, you would never know.

Trust me, while these may sound like far-fetched scenarios, they are a lot more common than you might think. For example, years ago, I had a really great interview at a major clothing chain, but was a little disappointed I hadn't heard anything. I gave the manager a quick phone call, and discovered that one of my references didn't call him back. Right away, I called that person, and within 30 minutes, I had a job offer!

But before you pick up the phone to make a call (or open your e-mail to send a quick message), there are some things to keep in mind.

1) Make sure you are calling or e-mailing the correct person. Before leaving the interview, ask the hiring manager if they have a business card. If not, get their direct phone number and e-mail.

2) Do the follow-up within a few days. Do not let a week go by - that's too long. You want the hiring manager to know that you are interested in the job and that working at this particular store/restaurant/business isn't just a back-up - it's your first choice!

3) Regardless of the way you are following-up, make sure you thank the employer for taking the time to meet with you. Let's face it, managers are busy people and when they take time out of their day to sit down and speak with you, they obviously see a potential employee in you, and you should thank them for it.

4) If following-up via telephone, make sure you call during a time that you know the person will be at work, but that is also quiet enough that they will be able to talk to you. The last thing you want to do is a call the manager of a clothing store during their notoriously busy Friday nights, or the manager of your local fast-food joint during the lunch break. Try and pick a time that is off-peak, and when you make the call, do it somewhere quiet and have a pen and paper ready. Here's one way you can start a conversation with a hiring manager.

"Hello [name of manager]. My name is [your name] and we met on [day you had an interview]. I just wanted to know what the status of my application is, and if you need any additional information or references."

5) If following-up via e-mail, make sure you have the right e-mail address and that your message has a subject heading that is relevant - otherwise it might end up in the junk mail folder. Try and keep the e-mail short and to the point. Do not send it on high-priority because that can only irritate managers. If you are sending an e-mail, give the person a day to get back to you - if they don't, I would advise that you call them. Here's a sample e-mail you work with if you're unsure about the e-mail you want to send.

Subject Line: Follow-up to my interview for [name of position] with [name of company]

Dear [name of hiring manager]:

My name is [your name] and we met for an interview on [day] for the position of [name of position] with [name of store/business].

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for meeting with me. As well, I wanted to know if you needed any further information or additional references, as I am extremely excited about the prospect of joining your team at [name of store/business].

Once again, thank you for meeting with me, and should you need to contact me, I can be reached via telephone at [your phone number] or via e-mail at [your e-mail address].


[Your name]

In the end, doing a follow-up is a quick and easy way to get back in touch with the hiring manager and reiterate to them how much you want to work at their store/business.

Even though it may feel weird, the pay-off can be huge - and really, what's better than landing that job you've always wanted?

P.S ... I'll be in LA next week, so I won't be updating my blog, but I will be checking my e-mail so keep the questions coming. My next post will probably be sometime between Feb. 15th and the 17th.


Anonymous said...

Great Post man, thx!

Anonymous said...

Good information; however, what would one do that hasn't gotten to the interview stage. Is it norm to inquire the status 1 week after submitting application?

Andrew Hercules said...

Definitely follow up within a week. If anything, it will remind the hiring manager of your application and it may spark their interest. I suggest calling or sending an email asking about the status of the recruiting for the job and see what they say. Alternatively, if it's a job in a store, you can always drop by during a slower period - Tuesday or Wednesday mornings work best.

Kumara Guru said...

thanx buddy

Abc said...

Great Information for Job Hunt

Eclectic Prune said...

Great advice even for someone over 40 years of age like myself. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, good advice. I just made a follow up call and it did feel weird and I'm not entirely convinced that they want me but they didn't say no either. I get really nervous when calling about jobs so I find it useful to have a rough script infront of me outlining what I want to say.

Anonymous said...

Great Adviceee :)
Im Going To Use It Now...