Is it OK to Contact a Company After Applying for a Job?

As the sickeningly sweet but endearingly cliche and beloved song put it: “waiting is the hardest part.”  This is even more applicable when you’ve hunted for, researched and found the open job listing of your dreams.  Add in a hefty dose of “did I format that correctly” and “did that confirmation email mean my application went through” and you’re likely to drive yourself up the wall playing the waiting game.  Many candidates may be inclined to contact the employer to follow up, confirm receipt or find out more information about next steps in the process.  This is generally considered an acceptable approach, but with a few words of caution.  Before you reach out and contact a company after applying for a job, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Patience, Young Job-Seeker

After you’ve hit that magical “send” button, for many candidates the impatient finger drumming process immediately kicks up a notch.  A good dose of patience will go a long ways towards calming your nerves and improving your job chances.  Open positions often have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of candidates.  Sorting through those for the best and the brightest may take the prospective employer a wee bit of time.  All else fails, give it a week to ten days before following up on the process to avoid appearing impatient or awkwardly unprofessional.

Pay Attention to Details (and the Fine Print)

Most companies have detailed instructions for submission for open positions, either on their initial job listing page, confirmation email or other easily accessible applicant submission portal.  Many of these will have valuable info on the timing of processes that can help assuage the nerves or worry-wart job seekers.  In addition, these fields can also help ward off candidates stumbling into application faux-pas.  

If you reach out to ask about details such as potential start dates, interview, and callback timing or other information, be sure that it isn’t already supplied elsewhere or run the risk of appearing inattentive.  Also be sure to check the available info for any requests not to reach out or prohibitions the company may have against contact.  Breaking a rule before you’ve even had an initial interview isn’t the best way to score a potential job offer.

Choose Your Contact Wisely

If you do choose to contact the potential employer, be sure you have the correct, targeted email address or phone number.  Sending a missive off to a general HR or hiring coordination box could cause delays in a reply or have it go unanswered altogether.  When in doubt, peruse the job listing for an individual hiring manager or call the available general hiring number and ask for the info on the relevant contact.  While emailing this person is the preferred method of contact in today’s day and age, depending on the size of company and type of position a phone call can also be acceptable.

Mind Your Manners

Sure, you may be feeling nervous, anxious or uncertain about your job prospects, but that’s no reason to start introducing rude behavior into your prospective job search.  At all stages of your job search, your interactions with the prospective employer should put your best and most professional foot forward.  Avoid harassing behaviors such as calling multiple days in a row or being anything less than civil in your replies.  This same advice goes if the worst happens and you find out the employer has decided to pass on your candidacy.  Remember that most industries aren’t nearly as big as you think they are and hiring managers communicate with peers at other companies on a regular basis, including about that weird, aggressive and off-putting candidate that just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

What to Include in Your Follow-Up Email

In addition to the when’s, where’s and why’s, it’s important to know just what to include in your follow up email to a potential employer.  As we mentioned before, most companies will have a number of applicants for any given job.  They may also have multiple job openings available at any given time.  Be sure to include your name, the position you’re hiring for and other specific identifying information so that the hiring manager or recruiter can quickly and easily locate your application.

Job-seekers should also be sure to ask specific questions and avoid general “just checking in” type of emails.  Hiring managers are most likely juggling the various tasks associated with the hiring in addition to their primary job responsibilities.  Asking if there’s any update on the timeline is a good example of a specific area of inquiry.  Finally, be sure to close out your email with your contact info and an offer to follow up with additional information if necessary.  Including this type of data and sending a timely, but not pushy, follow up will show that you’re interested, attentive, and professional and will go a long ways towards helping land that interview, call-back or job offer.

Article Updated from the Original on November 9, 2017