When you’re managing a job search, figuring out when you should send follow up communications can feel like a challenge. To help you navigate these tricky waters, here are some tips about the job search communications timeline.

Application Submission

Following up on a submitted application is likely the trickiest, in regards to timing, as there is no guarantee exactly when the hiring manager intends to begin reviewing the applications or how many they are sifting through.

Being too aggressive about your follow up can actually hurt your chances of landing an interview, so it is important to handle this situation carefully. If the vacancy announcement didn’t list a closing date, consider following up one week after your application was provided.

For jobs that did provide a closing date, how you follow up may depend on whether you received an automated message confirming your materials were submitted or accepted. If you did, wait to follow up until one week after the closing date.1 If you didn’t get any confirmation, wait one week after your initial submission if enough time is available. Otherwise, try to reach out two business days before it closes, so you have enough time to resubmit if your application wasn’t received.

When you follow up, you want to be unobtrusive, making email the best platform. In your message, inquire about whether your materials were received (if you didn’t get a confirmation message previously), reiterate your interest in the position, and let them know you look forward to hearing from them once interviews are being scheduled. Avoid creating a message that appears to demand a response or is presumptuous about being interviewed. The ball is squarely in the employer’s court at this stage, so patience is key.

Initial Screenings and Phone Interviews

In some cases, employers will conduct initial screenings and even phone interviews to help identify which candidates will be called for an in-person interview. How you should follow up depends on exactly what has occurred and whether you’ve been provided a timeline by the hiring manager that dictates when a response should be expected.

If the hiring manager provides a specific date for their response, you don’t need to initiate any follow-up communications unless that time passes and you haven’t received additional information. On the next

business day, feel free to send a quick email to express your continued interest in the job as well as your understanding that these processes take time. You can request an updated timeline, which is a subtle method for getting additional information.

In cases where a deadline wasn’t provided, feel free to follow up after a week. Again, confirm your interest in the position and politely request a timeline.

The only exception to the wait times above involves sending a quick “thank you” email, which should be sent within 24 hours after any formal skills testing or phone interviews. In this message, express your appreciation for their consideration, your enthusiasm for the position, and that you look forward to hearing from them regarding any next steps. Don’t press for additional information in these communications, as it could be seen as an aggressive move.

In-Person Interviews

At this point, the hiring manager is likely working to decide which candidate will get the job offer. While you should send a thank-you email within 24 hours, using the same approach as listed above, any additional follow up is again dependent on whether you received a timeline for a decision.

If the hiring manager gave you a date, then only follow up if you haven’t heard from them by that time. Wait until the next business day to send the message and make sure to confirm your continued interest. Then, you can inquire about an updated timeline or politely ask if a decision has been made.

In cases where you didn’t receive a timeline, follow up after one week has passed using the same style message as you would if the hiring manager had provided you with a date for a response.

While the hope is that the hiring manager will reply, even if you aren’t selected, that doesn’t always happen. If you don’t receive a response, resist the urge to keep pushing for an answer and focus on your job search instead. That way, you won’t come off as overly aggressive and can turn your time toward something constructive in case it doesn’t pan out.

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If you are looking for a new position, the team at Employ Partners can help. Contact us today to work with our recruiters and partner with a top staffing agency in Atlanta.

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