Candidate Resources

Follow Up: Where Job Applicants Go Wrong

By Michael Price

I’m an author of a self-help book for Millennial’s and an instructor for an online career development course. I receive Facebook messages, Tweets and emails all the time from people seeking career advice, in particular interview dos and don’ts. I often tell people that while the interview is important and key, focus on the follow-up is almost equally important.

Follow-up is critical because it keeps you top of mind and it lets the employer know you’re serious about the position.

Employers know that interviewing isn’t in everybody’s wheelhouse. Many people are nervous or they embellish their true accomplishments. That being said, the follow-up can really help you stand apart from those who neglect this important component of the hiring process or approach it completely wrong.

Here are 3 key areas where job applicants go wrong with post-interview follow-up:

1. No Follow-Up… At All!

After a job interview, you should follow-up 48 hours later. Failure to do so is just straight-up lazy. A lot of career coaches recommend sending handwritten thank you cards. If you want to not get the job, look like a serious suck up and be the laughing stock of the company then proceed in this direction. If not, sending a quick 2-sentence email should suffice. It could take up to a week for a handwritten thank you note to reach the desk of a hiring manager, and how are they supposed to respond to a call to action? Do you expect them to snail mail a response back? Are we in the 1900’s? Please don’t do this.

2. Overly Eager

Some people neglect to follow-up. Some people follow-up too soon. Follow-up prior to 48 hours post-interview is too quick. You have to ease up and approach this process as if you were courting a boyfriend or girlfriend. You don’t want to rush things too fast. You’ll end up looking desperate.

3. Going Nuclear

There’s an old trick that goes something like this, “Dear hiring manager, I’d love the opportunity to work at XYZ Corporation. I have three other job offers, but would like to work for your company. Could you give me a status on the position within the next 48 hours?” This is what I like to refer to as “Going Nuclear.” It’s a desperate attempt at forcing the hand of the hiring manager. This is actually quite an effective and necessary move after a certain point (generally 3 – 4 weeks). However, where many people screw up is pulling out this card on follow-up #1. Attempting to rush a hiring manager into hiring you before you go elsewhere simply isn’t effective and is a huge turn off. They’ve got plenty of things to do and you’re more than likely not on the top of their priority list.

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