Today we are going to talk about the most aggravating part of job search, at least according to the emails I get: the “hurry up and wait” aspect of job seeking.
Everyone wants to know how to move the process along. The first thing to know is that there is no easy, one-size fits all “this is what you do in every situation” answer for this. In fact, you have several answers available, and all are correct, and wrong at the same time, depending on what is going on. “What is going on” is not something you can control.
You move the process along by following up, except when you can’t.
Let’s take a look at the usual scenario. You find a position you like on the internet, or are approached by a recruiter. You get all excited, and then wing that resume in there, and then.. crickets.. you hear nothing back from anyone at all. Paralysis can set in Do I call, or do I not call, and if I do call, what will I say that won’t wreck my chances? Is there a problem if I seem too eager? Then you check out and play on Facebook. Others blow up people’s phones and emails because you demand to be dealt with and who are they to ignore you, anyway.
For the record, those extreme answers are never correct. However, as stated above, there is no correct answer. Everything depends, and for this reason, I say this:
Follow up is more of an art than science.
The other point is that we, at the Five O’Clock club say:
The point of an interview is not to get a job – the point of the interview is to exchange enough information with the interviewer, to justify going to the next step.
In light of this philosophy, please remember – all you can do is improve your odds of going to the next step, so choose your next move based on “what will improve my odds of going to the next step in the process?”
In the early stages of you responding to a position, be aware that if you do not actually possess the required skills and experience they need, they aren’t going to call you, and any follow up calls you make will fall on deaf ears.
Also, get it out of your head that employers owe you a courtesy call if they aren’t interested. They don’t call because they don’t want to argue with you.
However, if you do have pertinent skills, and abilities, by all means, if you don’t hear anything after a week from the date of initial contact, call or email. Remind them of how you fit in their vacancy.
Asking “did you hear anything about/did you receive my resume” is not calling with value.
Calling and saying, “Hello this is so and so. I sent my resume in response to X position looking for X. I have X experience in X field and am looking forward to meeting you” will generally get an immediate callback.
The rule of thumb is that if you feel the employer should know anything about you, it is YOUR responsibility to tell them. So every communication must be you communicating your value.
The other question I get is, how soon and how often do I follow up? I advocate waiting a week from initial contact to hear back. Often, the resume screeners have forwarded you to a decision maker, and it takes time to get their feedback, because they are still running the day to day operations.
After phone interviews, I would give it 3 days if they don’t call you the next day (same with a face to face). When you do call, leave ONE voicemail message restating your value and thanking them for their interest. You can call again in a week if you don’t hear anything, but don’t leave another message. If you get voicemail, just hang up.
If it is more your style, email follow up is okay, too, just space them out weekly after you make the initial follow up.
Hiring authorities are busy people, but they will make time for pertinent candidates. Methodical and pertinent follow up will be the best way to improve your odds. Unless you aren’t pertinent, or they are in fact just collecting CV’s for some future hiring. But if that is the case, your proper follow up will move you to the head of the line.
The bottom line is stay the course, and remain calm. The right opportunity will surface for you.
Until next time, I wish you all the best
Thomas Patrick Chuna is a certified Five O’Clock Club job search coach, teaching their proven methodology to private clients in all fields and disciplines. – I will teach you to apply the methodology to YOUR specific situation. Find me at linkedin.com/in/patrickinternational
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