Is it desperate to follow up after an interview?

Is it desperate to follow up after an interview?

Do You Appear Desperate by Following Up?     Jane Jackson

Jane Jackson

LinkedIn Top Voice - Careers | Career Success Coach | Online career coaching programs & corporate career development workshops | LinkedIn Branding |   Published Jul 26, 2014           + Follow

If youd rather have a rotten tooth removed without anaesthetic than follow up after submitting a job application, youre not alone. Its been two weeks. Surely you should have heard by now if they were interested? You are perfect for the role  what could possibly be holding them back from excitedly calling you in for an interview?

Of course you hate picking up the phone if you anticipate rejection. Its so hard to ask some stranger if they think your application is worth considering for the job for which you so very painstakingly took the time to apply. You spent over two hours, maybe three or four hours crafting and fine tuning your cover letter, tailoring your resume for that role that is so perfect for you. You meet all the requirements of the role  why havent they called? How could they possibly even consider rejecting your application?

So why dont you follow up? Maybe its an ego thing. Maybe its just the fear of rejection. Or maybe you just dont like picking up the phone.

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Job applications can be frustrating, especially when you apply so very perfectly and dont hear back. Many screeners may have very good intentions and try to reply to everyone who applies, however, many are inundated with applications and if your application is a very valid one (your meet the requirements of the role), then of course its perfectly fine to follow up with a call if you dont hear back within a couple of weeks.

If you make the call, at least youll find out either way and then you can decide what youll do next. Not knowing is a killer. It plays around in your head. You keep thinking the phone will ring. You look at the phone several times an hour, or several times a minute. You start to hate the phone for not ringing. Im being a bit dramatic here but weve all been there surely?

Give this a try to avoid getting the cold shoulder when following up:

1. Understand the priorities of the person youre phoning

Remember that even though your application is your top priority, to the screener your application is one of many to consider out of a number of roles he/she is trying to fill. Filling that role is one of many priorities he/she has to focus on (especially if the screener is not a recruiter and is the hiring manager.)

2. Know what you are going to say

Prepare what you are going to say so you dont waste time. Make sure you sound confident, in control and not needy. All youre doing is following up to find out whats going on. So when you get through to the right person, let them know who you are, what role you applied for, when you applied and then just say that you are following up to find out if you are in consideration for the role.

3. Smile

When on the phone, even though they cant see your smiling face, your voice will be more engaging if you relax and are friendly.

4. Stand up when speaking or at least sit up straight

This helps you to sound more confident on the phone.

5. Dont ring if there is a lot of background noise

If youre in a busy café, or at home with dogs barking and children screaming, thats not professional. Find somewhere quiet to make your call, away from interruptions or distractions so you can focus.

6. Understand they may be short on time

Be succinct; ask if theyve had a chance to review your application and if not, ask if its OK to touch base at a later time, and find out when would be appropriate.

7. If they say, No

Thank them for their time and consideration. If you can, highlight your core competencies that are relevant to the role and let them know that, should another need arise for your skills and experience, you would be happy to be considered. Now they know your name and capabilities, next time you may get further along in the process. This is all about relationship development. Its all about touch points. The more touch points, the better. It breeds familiarity. People are comfortable and are more trusting of people and things they are familiar with. If another role comes up and your name is a familiar one you may get a second chance. Worth a go, dont you think?

8. Call again if you have to

If youre told you will get a call back but you dont hear after a week or so, call again. There may be a multitude of reasons for the delay. Perhaps the job specification for the role changed, or an internal candidate ended up being the preferred candidate, or the role was withdrawn, or someone was sick or was travelling.

9. What the worst thing that could happen?

If you still feel awkward about calling, just think  the worst thing that could happen by picking up the phone is that you cant get through, or you do get through and you are told that they dont want you. If you cant get through, try again later. If they tell you its the end of the road for you for this role, you can focus your energy elsewhere.

At all times ensure that your skills and experience are relevant to the role you are targeting. Find out if youre a good fit for the company culture and understand what their pain points are by conducting thorough research, talking to your industry network to gain advice and guidance about the company, and, if possible, gain a referral in to the company from someone who is able to create a positive buzz about you.

There isnt a magic formula that will work every time Im sorry to say. What I do know, from 14 years of coaching executives through their career transitions, is that those who have a positive, flexible attitude and are willing to try a new approach and explore every angle when marketing themselves despite challenging economic factors, are the ones who are successful in a shorter period of time.

If one door closes, look for the door that is ajar. If you cant find one, ask for help! For an in depth guide to the 7 steps to thrive when going through a career change, get my ebook (Kindle version) on Amazon

Jane Jackson is a career management coach, speaker and author of Navigating Career Crossroads. Having lived and worked in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London, Singapore and Sydney and provided corporate training and coaching in industries including public relations, FMCG, travel, health & fitness, education and human resources, Jane specializes in transition coaching. To read more about Jane on LinkedIn please click on the FOLLOW button above or below or visit

Read "Navigating Career Crossroads - how to thrive when changing direction" Discover the 7 essential steps for a successful career change.

396  369 Comments   Like Comment Share

Derek Bailey                       Well stated and great help.             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      1 Like                           2y

Derek Bailey                       Jane Jackson Career Coach ICF             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      2y

Jane Jackson                       Appreciate your comments Derek - and I am grateful that my articles are helpful to job seekers especially as the information here is timeless. Career transition is challenging at any time, and even more so now due to Covid-19.              Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      2y

Julie Wong                       Thank you Jane for helping me to think there is nothing to lose to follow up. At least I know where I stand!             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      1 Like                           3y

Jane Jackson                       Following up after a #jobinterview when you havent heard back is essential - there are many factors that may be holding up the decision and by following up you gain clarity. Good luck Julie! Im here to help anytime!             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      3y

Jane Jackson                       Thanks Myles Blechner - you're right - if done right it can generate great results - plus it's basic business etiquette.  Remember the old days when we'd send thank you notes after attending a dinner party? Now that was a wonderful polite thing to do!             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      6y

Myles Blechner                       excellent Insight! the subtle art of thank you emails and follow ups has been lost on a lot of people.  if done well, you can have amazing results. if nothing else, you can quickly and easily find out where you stand. I always send thank you emails no more than 8 hours after an interview and follow ups  within 48 hours.             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      1 Like                           6y

Jane Jackson                       Thanks Hamilton Patz - I hope they help!                Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      6y

Hamilton Patz                       Dear Jaane, thanks for these tips!             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      1 Like                           6y

Jane Jackson                       That's right Jim Kennard  never assume anything - by following up you won't burn bridges and, as in your case, despite an interview that you didn't think went well, sometimes things do turn out for the better!             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      6y

Jim Kennard                       the best job I ever got was the result of following up after a disastrous interview! Always follow up!             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      1 Like                           6y

Jane Jackson                       Yes Brian McKenzie - the frustrations continue and the story is the same - candidates must follow up. I still feel for my candidates who just expect the courtesy of a call to be kept in the loop or just let off the hook.              Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      6y

Jane Jackson                       Yes Elizabeth - I often discuss with recruiters about keeping candidates in the loop whether it's a yes or no, people just like to be informed :-)             Like         Sign in to like this comment       Reply         Sign in to reply to this comment                      7y       See more comments

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