The most generic piece of advice given to jobseekers is “follow up!”
“Follow up on your application!”
“Follow up on your interview!”
“Follow up on the selection process!”
It is advice that has been repeated and handed down so often, that people now almost see it as a must – without realizing that following up can absolutely go too far.
We need to remember that hiring managers are people too. People with jobs and important tasks to handle throughout their day. They aren’t just sitting around waiting to field your follow up calls, and they do have better things to do than respond to e-mails from applicants. So while following up can be a great way to reiterate your interest, it can also go too far.
Think about your job search in terms of dating – remembering that you wouldn’t want to obsessively call or e-mail someone you’ve just met. And then, tread carefully when it comes to the follow up.
Making a Call
Placing a single phone call to inquire about a job opening or to check that your application was received is acceptable, particularly if you keep that call short, pleasant and to the point. But calling more than twice absolutely places you into stalker territory, and convinces hiring managers that you are either too desperate or too high maintenance. Sometimes, job searches are just a waiting game. So trust that they have your information, and then give them time to call you if they are interested.
Sending an E-Mail
There are times when sending an e-mail can absolutely be a valuable professional courtesy to extend. Thanking a hiring manager for the opportunity to interview for a position, for instance, usually goes a long way to express your interest in the job. But remember to keep it at that. You may want to improve upon your answer to an interview question, or follow up on something that you discussed during that interview, but always aim to keep it as short and to the point as possible. And then, don’t e-mail again. No matter how much you want to check in to see if a decision has been made or to ask if they have set up a timeline for second interviews yet. This is another area where being too eager can very easily come off as desperate. And just like in dating, desperate is the last thing you want to be perceived as being when searching for a job.
Don’t do it. Under no circumstances should you ever just pop by the office and ask to see the hiring manager. You may be convinced that this is the best possible way to show how much you truly want this job, but the real message you are sending is that you don’t value the hiring manager’s time; that you assume they are just sitting around waiting for you to show up. They aren’t. In fact, they are incredibly busy, with schedules that include interviews with applicants who have waited until they were called and meetings were arranged before showing up. There is a perceived arrogance in applicants who just drop by, and it can be a surefire way to have your name removed from the list of possible hires. So instead, exercise a little patience and be willing to wait to meet with the hiring manager until you are called to do so. If that call never comes, it wasn’t meant to be. But showing up and putting your face in front of theirs unannounced never would have changed that outcome. And it could absolutely be detrimental if they were otherwise considering you.