How Should I Follow Up on a Job Application?

One of the most frequently asked job search questions on the Internet is: How should I follow up on a job application?

Lindsay (not her real name) asked me a similar question that had a twist: Shortly after her job interview the employer called one of her references, which led Lindsay to believe that she would be offered the job. But now, after two weeks, she still hasn't heard a peep from the employer.

Let's look at Lindsay's question, followed by my answer.

Should I Follow Up on a Job Application?

Exactly two weeks ago I had an interview with a great company. I left feeling very optimistic, and the company expressed interest in hiring me for the job. Within the next few days I heard from my previous boss that they had already contacted him as a reference.

I am anticipating a response as to whether I got the job or not, and would like to send them an email concerning my application status. How do you think I should approach this question through email? --Lindsay

Setting Expectations During the Interview

Lindsay, how did you leave things at the end of your interview? It would have been good to clarify the employer's hiring process and timeline so you could set realistic expectations.

If the employer had said, "We'll be making our decision in two weeks," then you might have asked, "Will you be contacting me or would it be alright for me to contact someone on your staff two weeks from now?" This sort of respectful closure to the meeting would have told you how and when to communicate appropriately with the manager.

Immediate Thank You Email After the Interview

Then, immediately after the interview, you should have written a thank you email, which could have restated your intention to call in two weeks, or expect an email from the employer in two weeks, or whatever you and the manager agreed to.

How to Follow Up Now

At this point, your best bet is to send a belated thank you email that also asks if a decision has been made.

However, before sending that email, check your spam folder to be sure the employer hasn't already sent you an email about the status of your application. Maybe a job offer (or rejection) was sent and you simply didn't get it in your in-mail box. If, there's no email from the employer, then go ahead and send that short, polite thank you email that expresses your continued interest in the job.

So that's my answer to "How Should I Follow Up on a Job Application?"

Good luck with this application, Lindsay. I hope you get the job!

2 thoughts on “How Should I Follow Up on a Job Application?

  1. How do you follow up an application when you don’t know who received it (when it’s so hard to reach a real person)? And, do companies want us to call to follow-up an application anymore?

  2. Kathy,
    You’ve hit on a very good point. If you apply for a job with no inside connection, it’s very hard to follow up. For that reason, I recommend you establish a connection BEFORE applying. Try to get the name of someone to whom you can direct your application, or a mutual contact you could reference in your cover letter. or an employee at the company who would be willing to support your job application.

    This isn’t as impossible as it may seem, especially if you have an established in-person and online network. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to find and request a connection, either with a hiring manager at the company or with a recruiter who represents the job you’re going for. Look at your second and third degree connections to see if there’s a match. Also, use LinkedIn’s company and recruiter search tools.

    I hope this helps!

    So the idea is to plan ahead for your follow up as much as possible.

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