There’s a fine line between showing enthusiasm and interest and just being a straight-up pest. This is true in life in general, but especially when it comes to following up with someone during the job application process. Let’s consider a few situations you might encounter in your job search—and how to cope in the most graceful way possible.
Outcome 1: You apply for a job… and never hear back
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common complaints among job-seekers. In the 2013 AfterCollege Job-Seeker Survey, 50.9% of participants said that not hearing back from an employer after applying is the biggest annoyance in the job search process.
So what gives? There are a lot of reasons why employers never get back to you, and many of them have nothing to do with you. Seriously—it’s not you; it’s them!
For starters, the position may have been filled internally, there might have been changes to the organization or management, or the company may actually be in the process of downsizing and just hasn’t bothered to inform HR yet (it happens).
For a more detailed look at this mysterious process, check out The Right Candidate’s “You find a job you’re perfect for–and are never contacted. What happened?”
Outcome 2: You go for a job interview… and never hear back
You made it past the first hurdle and got invited in for an interview. You wowed the team with your sparkling wit, winning smile, and outstanding qualifications.
So why haven’t they called you? “No news doesn’t necessarily mean bad news,” says Alison Green on the Ask A Manager blog. A lack of communication after a job interview could be because decision makers are out of town, the team is trying to schedule a final interview, or some other company bureaucracy issue.
Wondering whether you should make a move or not? Read Alison’s suggestions for when to follow up after an interview.
Outcome 3: You send a follow-up email… and never hear back
You’re 99.99% sure you rocked your interview. Okay… maybe it’s more like 85%. But after a week or two passed, you emailed your interviewer, you still haven’t heard back, and now your confidence is really starting to falter. What should you do?
Take a deep breath and look at “How to Follow Up After an Interview” from CareerBliss. This infographic breaks down each possible moment when a communication breakdown might occur and what you can do in each stage without losing any self-respect.
If you’re still feeling lost, Jacquelyn Smith’s article on Forbes, “What To Do When You Don’t Hear Back After an Interview,” offers a detailed game plan including ten things you could do to cope and ten things you shouldn’t do—unless you’d like to ruin your chances with the company in question.
Homework time! Next time you go in for a job interview, try as hard as you can to get a business card from each person you talk to. At the very least, make sure you bring a pad and paper and write down each person’s name. This’ll make it much easier for you to contact people afterwards.
P.S. Still need a little encouragement? We like the Daily Muse’s “How Following Up Can Help You Land the Job,” which includes a few scenarios and the exact scripts you can use in your follow-up emails.