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Maintaining Contact: How to Follow Up Without Being a Pest

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We’ve all been told that fearless communication is vital to the job search process. Everybody’s busy, everybody’s attention is divided, and the best way to get people to reach out to us is by reaching out to them. Right? Right. But following up on a job interview or application can be a delicate process. So how can you make contact without ruffling feathers? Here are a few considerations.

How the Follow -Up Works: Best and Worst Case Scenarios

Under the best of circumstances, you’ve submitted your application, you’ve waited a week, and you haven’t heard a word. The hiring manager has been harassed by multiple responsibilities and she’s been avoiding the pile of resumes building up on her desk. When you call and state your name, this happens:

You: I haven’t heard from you, but I just wanted to reiterated that my skills are perfectly suited to the….

Her: What did you say your name was? I’m looking for your paperwork now. Oh, here it is. Great. Come in Tuesday and we’ll talk about the job. See you then.

In the worst case, the position was staffed before you even applied, and if you call and begin a rant about your qualifications, the hiring manager will remember nothing about you but your impertinence. You’ll have wasted your time, wasted hers, and embarrassed yourself. She’ll be so annoyed that she’ll curse your name and blacklist you throughout the industry.

But the truth is, the second scenario doesn’t really happen. So just in case, it’s a good idea to drop your inhibitions and pick up the phone.

Following Up: What Not to Do

After submitting an application, wait for one to two weeks. After a job interview, wait for one week. Don’t jump the gun and call too soon. The reason: general courtesy allows for one follow-up call. Don’t waste your call before the hiring manager has had a chance to process your information and review it with her team.

When you make your follow-up call, don’t babble, wheedle, or bore. Keep your call short and confident. Know what you plan to say beforehand and be ready to deliver a brief reminder of your key qualifications. Start and end the conversation smoothly. Smile as you speak, even if your listener can’t see you.

If you gather your courage and pick up the phone with your speech at the ready and you get sent to voicemail, don’t panic. Hang up, decide what you’d like to say in the message, and then call back. This does not count as your one permissible follow-up; you’re also allowed one voice message. The same applies to messages left with receptionists or assistants.

If you follow up and don’t hear back for another two weeks, all bets are off. From this point forward you can feel free to call as many times as you like. But before you begin a relentless barrage, ask yourself: Do you really want this job? Think carefully before you rush into a working relationship with a company that disrespects you or undervalues your time. It might wise to take this silence as a sign and move on.

For additional help and guidance with the job search process, contact the staffing experts at Career Staffing Services.

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