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Job Seekers Want to Know: Where’s the Line Between Appropriate Candidate Follow-Up…and Annoyance?

With so many job seekers looking for work – and getting increasingly alienated from not hearing back from employers regarding where they stand – it’s become a common topic of conversation over at our job seeker-focused blog, The Work Buzz, as to exactly when and how (and how much) to properly follow-up with employers regarding candidate status…

So, finally, we decided to help our colleagues over at The Work Buzz out, and come straight to those who can speak to this question the best:

When it comes to candidates following up with you, where do you draw the line between persistence and peskiness?

Is follow up even necessary? Can it salvage a lackluster interview? Give us your deal-breakers, your golden rules, your horror stories personal experiences, etc…We want to hear from you!

(Think not only of all the job seekers you’ll be helping out – but of all those hiring managers out there just like you, who will be spared future aggravation.)

Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
6 comments
G Stewart
G Stewart

I have developed a very diverse skill set and work experience by working half of my engineering career with short-term, full time employers who contract my services to a client firm. My experience is in multiple industries as well. I have an ability to quickly adapt to a new project or office setting as well as the diverse skills obtained through job shopping.

My first employer of 11 years had me involved with multiple projects, often moving me to a project in need of a good audit prior to release of drawings and specifications. I also worked in their cost estimating, as well as engineering and design.

Unfortunately too many HR persons perceive the mutiple places I have worked as a job hopper instead of a person who can quickly adapt to changing environment. I also have the gray hair or no hair syndrome, which some will not admit they do not hire.

G Stewart
G Stewart

I have developed a very diverse skill set and work experience by working half of my engineering career with short-term, full time employers who contract my services to a client firm. My experience is in multiple industries as well. I have an ability to quickly adapt to a new project or office setting as well as the diverse skills obtained through job shopping.

My first employer of 11 years had me involved with multiple projects, often moving me to a project in need of a good audit prior to release of drawings and specifications. I also worked in their cost estimating, as well as engineering and design.

Unfortunately too many HR persons perceive the mutiple places I have worked as a job hopper instead of a person who can quickly adapt to changing environment. I also have the gray hair or no hair syndrome, which some will not admit they do not hire.

Marie
Marie

One expression of gratitude will do.

While it is nice to receive a thank
you, this practice seems now rare.

Candidates know if they impressed or flopped in an interview and typically ask when they might hear something.

We tell candiates if interested we call within X amount of time (don't call us, we'll call you). This is crucial in our
small business as there is no HR manager and we are too busy doing our jobs to sort through duplicate follow-up letters.

If they did in fact impress, a follow-up may seal the deal if someone who did equally well in their interview does not follow-up. However, more than one seems
desparate, more than two, harrassment.

Besides, we typically have our minds made up after the interview process and follow-up will not sway us one way or the other.

Unfortunately, if an interview went poorly, even one follow up, no matter how well written and thoughtful, may be pointless in actually landing the job, but is courteous none the less.

No more than one, please.

Marie
Marie

One expression of gratitude will do.

While it is nice to receive a thank
you, this practice seems now rare.

Candidates know if they impressed or flopped in an interview and typically ask when they might hear something.

We tell candiates if interested we call within X amount of time (don't call us, we'll call you). This is crucial in our
small business as there is no HR manager and we are too busy doing our jobs to sort through duplicate follow-up letters.

If they did in fact impress, a follow-up may seal the deal if someone who did equally well in their interview does not follow-up. However, more than one seems
desparate, more than two, harrassment.

Besides, we typically have our minds made up after the interview process and follow-up will not sway us one way or the other.

Unfortunately, if an interview went poorly, even one follow up, no matter how well written and thoughtful, may be pointless in actually landing the job, but is courteous none the less.

No more than one, please.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Like the article states, there really is a fine line between doing due diligence and severely annoying the recruiter. The most important part of the interview process is understanding the company's time frame for when the position should be filled. It doesn't hurt to ask at the end of the interview about the interviewing process, how many interviews it takes to secure a position, or when are they looking to have someone start. You could be interview number one, or you could be interview fifty. It is good to ask these questions to gain perspective.

In my opinion, there should be a two-email follow-up system. The first, should be a short email thanking the recruiter for their time. (It's nice to add a short sentence in the email about why you would be a good fit for the position.) If you don't hear back from the recruiter, I think it is kosher to send an email one week after the interview inquiring about the status of your application.

Truthfully,if you have a great interview, the recruiter is not going to forget about you if you don't send a follow-up email. But if a really great candidate sends a quick follow-up, it shows eagerness and determination, which we recruiters love. So essentially, a follow-up just makes good candidates shine brighter.

In my experience, a follow-up has never been a deal breaker, and I can't see that ever happening. Usually after the initial interview, the recruiter has already made their mind up about the candidate, and follow-up emails are just icing on the cake, or in some cases, Inbox fodder.

I have had several cases, where candidates constantly call asking about the status of their application. I personally do not like phone calls as a follow-up. I find it annoying and sometimes awkward when a person continuously calls. Oh, and it is 2010, and most recruiters do have caller ID. So, when you call ten times in a row, but don't leave a voice mail, we still know that it is you.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Like the article states, there really is a fine line between doing due diligence and severely annoying the recruiter. The most important part of the interview process is understanding the company's time frame for when the position should be filled. It doesn't hurt to ask at the end of the interview about the interviewing process, how many interviews it takes to secure a position, or when are they looking to have someone start. You could be interview number one, or you could be interview fifty. It is good to ask these questions to gain perspective.

In my opinion, there should be a two-email follow-up system. The first, should be a short email thanking the recruiter for their time. (It's nice to add a short sentence in the email about why you would be a good fit for the position.) If you don't hear back from the recruiter, I think it is kosher to send an email one week after the interview inquiring about the status of your application.

Truthfully,if you have a great interview, the recruiter is not going to forget about you if you don't send a follow-up email. But if a really great candidate sends a quick follow-up, it shows eagerness and determination, which we recruiters love. So essentially, a follow-up just makes good candidates shine brighter.

In my experience, a follow-up has never been a deal breaker, and I can't see that ever happening. Usually after the initial interview, the recruiter has already made their mind up about the candidate, and follow-up emails are just icing on the cake, or in some cases, Inbox fodder.

I have had several cases, where candidates constantly call asking about the status of their application. I personally do not like phone calls as a follow-up. I find it annoying and sometimes awkward when a person continuously calls. Oh, and it is 2010, and most recruiters do have caller ID. So, when you call ten times in a row, but don't leave a voice mail, we still know that it is you.

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