After having applied for new employment, I always find it interesting to see the behaviour of people because it varies so much. Some job seekers sit back and wait for the phone to ring, some follow-up with phone calls or emails, and the odd one or two visit the employer. And with the growing trend of employers to use Temporary Services to do their screening for them, it may be harder for job seekers to do much follow-up at all.
The most-often used reason for not contacting an employer to check on the status of an application is that people don’t want to appear aggressive. And so, these folks sit at home by the phone hoping, wishing and of course waiting. Know that if you use this strategy, because you sit and wait passively for the employer to make the next move, you are relinquishing control over your immediate future. Without a cell phone for example, you may not even feel good about dashing down to the corner store to pick up some milk because the employer might call and not leave a message. That stress is no way to thrive.
As unemployment results in such a loss of control and purpose for many, why add to this unenviable situation by giving away more autonomy and control? Of course I do some job seekers who use the wait-and-see approach who in truth are just not comfortable with talking on the phone or even some who are just plain lazy. Please don’t take offence, I’ve had this later confirmed by job-seekers who have confessed to being lazy only after getting a job, and it’s their words not my assessment of them.
Some employers make it very clear that they do not wish to be contacted. From their perspective, they don’t really want their phone lines tied up with many phone calls checking in and taking people away from their jobs including the Receptionist, the Hiring Manager, HR etc. One of my own strategies once granted an interview, is to arrive early enough to meet and greet the Receptionist, or failing that, to linger just long enough after an interview to introduce myself and chat with him or her for a few brief minutes. Why? That’s the Gatekeeper that will in a few short days, either bar me from getting through for follow-up, or pass me through. I’ve even had an experience where the Receptionist discreetly shared information with me on the status of things, and helped me improve my odds with some inside information.
Did you know that some employers actually like it when applicants follow through on following up? If after all, the position you are applying for is competitive, and especially if the work you will be doing requires some tenacity, hustle, or assertiveness by nature, then wouldn’t it be in keeping with the job responsibilities to demonstrate your own self-motivation and hustle NOW?
One of the things I recommend is making contact with the employer after an interview. One preferred method is to pen a personal note of thanks immediately after the interview, while your mind is fresh and full of information shared. If the interviewer shared something about the company’s future, thank them for the interview, cite what they said that stuck with you about their future, and tell them how enthusiastic you are about working there. I myself have done this note writing sitting in my car in the parking lot of the company. Then I’ve walked back in 15 minutes later and handed this to the Receptionist for the interviewer.
When you apply for a job and are just hoping to get the interview, there’s more you can do too. Pick up the phone, and follow-up with a company a few days later. What to say? A few options are at your disposal. Remember your objective of landing an interview; once you have achieved this goal, back off. So start by contacting the company, see if you can determine first and foremost when interviews will be conducted after the close of the competition. Express your strong desire to be granted an interview in a polite and assertive voice. Aggressive, demanding people generally do not get far in this process, but of course there are exceptions. “Yes, my name is _________. I’ve recently applied for the position of _________ and I’m following up on my application. May I please set up an interview date and time for an interview as I’m extremely interested in this position.”
If you are not able to determine the name of the company itself, (this is a growing trend in some Sector’s where companies use hiring groups to pre-screen candidates), then follow-up with whomever you can identify. Expressing your determination, your passion, your strong desire to work and your tenacity may work favourably. Now on the other hand, it’s important to not overdo it and just be an annoying gnat.
My advice today is to follow-up professionally with an employer, show some honest enthusiasm and excitement in gaining an interview, and never miss an opportunity to hold on to some control in the employment process. Being out of work is stressful, frustrating and can lower your self-esteem. Applying for work can be uplifting, provide hope and a huge step to regaining control and self-dignity. So take initiative and follow through.