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When Should You Call to Check on a Job Application?

by Grace Ferguson

The right kind of phone call to find out the status of your job application can help you land an interview and maybe even a job offer. It is easy for your application or resume to get lost in the pile of other applications, and your failure to follow up could lead to more proactive candidates passing you by. A well-placed follow-up call can keep you in the running for the job.

Best Time to Call

The Wisconsin Job Center suggests calling a week to 10 days after applying for the job. It is typically best to call early in the morning or near the end of the business day, according to Omni One, an engineering and information technology staffing company. The hiring manager is likely to be less busy during those times because she is either gearing up for work or finishing up for the day rather than handling specific projects.

Finding the Hiring Manager’s Name

You risk having to go through the company gatekeeper if you do not know the hiring manager’s name. Check the company's website for the main phone number; then look for the extension number for the hiring manager’s department. Or, you can do an online search, which might bring up the company directory that lists employee names and titles. If you have the hiring manager’s name, you might find his phone number on career sites such as LinkedIn. Monster.com advises against calling a human resources or in-house recruiter, as these individuals have no real interest in speaking with you. Aim to speak to the actual hiring manager instead.

Problems Finding the Hiring Manager

If you cannot locate the hiring manager’s name, try to make contact with another employee, preferably one who works in the same department. This employee might be able to get you through to the hiring manager, or at the very least, give you tips on her preferred communication method. This is particularly useful if the hiring manager prefers email over phone communication.

When You Do Not Have a Contact

Try to get past the gatekeeper if you cannot find the hiring manager’s name and you do not have an inside contact. When you call, ask for the name, title and phone number of the person in charge of hiring for your position. If you receive a number, hang up and call it. Otherwise, the gatekeeper might want to know what your call is about. You might say that you know the hiring manager is looking for staffing help and you believe you can help. If the gatekeeper says the hiring manager is out, ask for the best time to call. If you still cannot get the hiring manager on the phone, leave him a voice message.

Phone Conversation Tips

When you have the hiring manager on the phone, keep the conversation brief, clear and professional. State when you submitted your application, the position you applied for and how you learned about the job. Say that you are calling to verify that he received your application, and whether he has questions about your qualifications. If he says he has not read your application yet, say that you are very interested in the job, and then briefly restate your qualifications, such as your training and years of experience. Lastly, inquire about the next step in the hiring process and when he expects to fill the position.

No Response

It's fine to follow up again if a week passes without a response and you feel the position is worth the extra effort. Just don't overdo it by hounding the hiring manager with phone calls. If you can't get through a second time, leave it at that. Employers usually contact the candidates they are interested in, so as a general rule, it's best to follow up only once and then move on to other job prospects.

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