How Long to Wait to Follow Up at Every Point in the Job Search

You have applied for a position for which you know you are a perfect fit. You meet all the requirements and the “nice-to-have,” and you’re confident that in no time you’ll hear something from that employer. Two days pass, however, and your inbox is empty. Then a week passes-nothing yet. But then you’re struck by an awareness: You don’t know when to send the email. How soon is it? How long is it? What is a reasonable time frame to request an update on this line between persistent and pesky? That’s up to you. I therefore chatted with two experts to find out how long you should wait to follow up-wherever you are in the job search process.

An essential reminder:

Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people, whether they like it or not. Yes, filling the open role you’re interested in is on their to – do lists somewhere-but so many other things are much more time-consuming. Before you get frustrated and assume bad intentions (I promise that the goal of the hiring manager is not to make you miserable!), remember that this process often takes time. “I think it is important to recognize that processes and procedures need to be followed in order to hire new companies,” explains Al Dea, Muse Career Coach, Management Consultant and Career Strategy Author.

If you submitted an application:

The short answer: Follow up five to 10 working days. This depends on whether someone in your network applied you blindly or referred you to this position. “If you applied blindly, you’re somewhat at the company’s mercy and when-and in some cases if-they choose to respond,” Dea says. If you feel you have to check in on your status, be prepared to wait a reasonable amount of time before sending the email. If someone referred you, however, your best bet is to check in directly with that person after seven to ten working days. “In your communication, emphasize your interest and you can certainly understand that things can be busy, but you also want to know if you can do anything else -even if that means continuing to wait,” Dea says.

If you had an interview in person:

The short reply: Follow up the same day or one day later. After an in-person interview, the timeline for follow-up is very similar to a phone screening. You know you should send a real “thank you” for the time of the hiring manager, and it’s best to combine it with a follow-up message. State that you appreciated and enjoyed the opportunity to interview and learn more about the company in your email. You should also be sure to re-emphasize your interest in the position and let the hiring manager know you’re looking forward to connecting soon. Groan, okay? Every hour after that, however much you want to check in, you’re better off resisting the tentation. “I think it’s important to respect the process set by the company and the recruiter, even if you have to be patient,” Dea warns.

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