I don't think I should continue calling a company to follow-up on the status of my application. I'd like your input on whether I'm making the right decision.

I applied for two positions for a company. As soon as I applied, I called the company's switchboard to get the contact information of the head recruiter. Every week for the first three weeks, I called to ask on the status of my application. Last time I called, she advised me to call back in two weeks.

That brings us to current. I just called, and she said all she could tell me was whether the position was filled; any further information on my status would be in the hands of the hiring manager. When asked, she advised against contacting that person directly, although she did say she would talk to him about it.

Thanks in advance,

ctomasi's picture

Do you have the phone or email of the hiring manager? I'd contact them regardless of what the head recruiter says. I'm all for getting an answer and getting on with life. Once a week is not too much to ask for an update.

SteveSherry's picture

Personally I'd evaluate my standing within the industry.
Is it a widespread industry?
Are there another 20 companies hiring for a similar position?
If so, move on and apply for the alternatives.
If it's a relatively small/niche industry then in my mind the only thing you're doing is damaging any future possible applications.

Although, in a complete 180, I'd never take no for an answer from anyone other than the person directly responsible for hiring.
If you can't find the person's email address, I'd ask for the person you're speaking to for their email address, and then simply change their name for the recruiters.
If you get no response, then maybe it's just time to move on. At the end of the day, no matter how many times you call or email you'll not be able to make them reverse their decision.

SteveSherry's picture

Just reread my last post, I probably come across as a little harsh, Sorry, but really don't wish to be, just trying to offer the most consise advise I can.


tcomeau's picture

I'm sorry, I can't recall exactly what M&M's advice was, but the thrust is that you're not trying to demand an answer, you're trying to make sure you're still expressing some interest.

So I'm hoping you have the hiring manager's phone number, and can call first thing in the morning and leave a voicemail. The content is basically "thanks for talking to me" and "I'd really like to get an offer, and here's why:" and your phone number.

I know this is covered in the interview series, but I'm not connected to the right systems right now.


BJ_Marshall's picture

Thanks, all, for your comments. (And, no, they weren't harsh.)

I don't know who the hiring manager is, and the head recruiter advised me not to contact that person anyway. I still [b]want[/b] to follow up with the head recruiter. It's just that I'm concerned it will be a futile effort if she can't tell me any more than whether the position is still vacant.

She's the gatekeeper, and I don't have a key.

I did mention my interest, though I didn't say "offer." I'm not there yet; I'm still trying to get an interview, so I phrased it that way.

Side note: These tactics impress people. When I called the second week, the recruiter said something like, "Oh, yes I remember you. You were the one who called to follow up last week." I remember thinking to myself, "the ONE?" 8)

I'll definitely re-listen to that Interviewing Series cast on this topic.


BJ_Marshall's picture

[quote="SteveSherry"]Personally I'd evaluate my standing within the industry.
Is it a widespread industry?
Are there another 20 companies hiring for a similar position?
If so, move on and apply for the alternatives.
If it's a relatively small/niche industry then in my mind the only thing you're doing is damaging any future possible applications.[/quote]

My two not-MT-written goals for a new job are: something in Project Management, and something close to home. From what I'm seeing on web sites, there are a good number of positions out there.

I am applying for the alternatives. I could move on, yes. But my objective is to get as many interviews as possible in order to get as many offers as possible.


ctomasi's picture

You're on the right track then, wmarsha1. If that particular company doesn't respond to your calls of desired interest, move on and cover as much ground as possible to get as many offers as possible.

If they're not showing love now (even if you do get an interview and offer), it might be an indication of the love they show their current employees. Not certain, but not a good indicator.

wendii's picture


let me tell you a bit about the head recruiter's life. Not that I'm making excuses, or that I think you shouldn't follow up, but I just want to give you some context.

I have 60 open jobs, and 30 offers out at the moment. At an average of 10 applicants for each role, that's 600 candidates, probably 50+ hiring managers & in some cases their PAs, the rest of HR, probably 10 -20 recruiting agencies, and my bosses who all want to talk to me. In addition, I have to make sure that each of my 60 jobs and 30 offers is hitting the Service Level Agreements. I only use my cell phone as I'm rarely at my desk, and some days, by 3.00pm the battery is flat, even though I charged it overnight.

We have a process for recruitment, in the same way that any factory producing product, any IT department producing code, any finance team producing a P&L sheet has a process. The process doesn't include candidates talking to hiring managers because:

1) HMs are notorious for not following the equal opportunity guidelines we have to be able to prove we've followed.
2) When HMs go out of process, they create a big mess for me to clear up and I'm busy enough already.
3) HMs are scared of giving candidates negative news. That's why they have me to do it. They cover up their scaredness by not talking to anyone.

That said, HMs do go off on a tangent, make decisions about filling jobs, cancelling jobs, opening jobs and interviewing people without my knowledge. The good ones know better. The bad ones learn.

So, if a candidate called me and asked me about their application firstly, I have to remember the candidate and the job, then I have to remember which HM, and then I have to work out if he's a good one who will have kept me up to date with their thoughts or if he's likely to have filled his job without telling me. I also have to have an inkling of whether you're a ggood candidate and worth my time or not.

Much much easier to tell the candidate, don't call us we'll call you. Many, many good reasons for not doing so, but not surprising she went that way.

I would continue to follow up. If you can find someone else (the hiring manager, an admin in recruitment, someone you know) try and do that. You're much more likely to get a straight answer. And persistance and diligence are to be admired.

I hope that helps.


BJ_Marshall's picture


That helps a lot - thank you very much for the context. Now I have a better idea of why she advised me against contacting the HM directly! And I couldn't really appreciate how much she may have on her plate until now.

I don't know anyone in the company, so I don't have an insider's edge. I will continue to follow up, primarily to keep my interest in the position in the forefront of her mind.


tcomeau's picture

Sorry, BJ - I misunderstood your situation a bit, so I need to revise my suggestions. It boils down to "keep looking -- until you got something, you got nothing."

Let me give the flip side of Wendii's excellent comments -- from the hiring manager's perspective.

I am a hiring manager, though I'm down to one open req at the moment. (For a newbie software engineer, so if you know anybody who is great at Java and knows a little physics, please give me a yell!) For this one position, so far, I've gone through over 40 resumes, and pulled out just six of them. I've done five phone interviews, and I'm about to interview just two of them.

Until my HR recruiter (who is great, BTW) gets a definitive answer from me, she can't tell a candidate anything. So at this point she's told about 30 of them that they don't meet our needs, but only because I've been good about telling her which ones are definitely out.

Most hiring managers just wait until they pick somebody, because at that point they have the "we found somebody better qualified" blanket reason. If I reject somebody based on their resume/cover letter, I have to supply a reason. (This is so I don't rule somebody out for an illegal reason. Not all organizations do this, but we have a bad history, so our hiring gets some extra scrutiny.) In practice (and you may find this discouraging) this means that most candidates who don't get a phone interview within the first 2-3 weeks after we get their resume are in fact not going to get the job. But because the hiring manager hasn't supplied a reason, the HR recruiter can't tell most candidates anything.

I'm also just sitting on four resumes. In all four cases, the problem is that their current salaries are higher than I have in my budget. If I'm insufficiently impressed by the people I do interview, I'll go back to the Mission Office and ask for more salary money. So those four candidates are still possibly in the running, but neither I or nor the HR recruiter can tell them they're still in the running, or why.

I think I'm a pretty good hiring manager. I follow the rules, I communicate proactively, I say nice things (like "thank you!") to the recruiters, and I try to make decisions and give candidates good or bad news as soon as I've made a decision. Most of my peers don't do any of those things, and they rarely suffer for it because our recruiters are real professionals.

But, the candidates suffer because they think we still might be interested, when in fact their resume has already gone in the shredder. That's a shame, but it's a reality.

So if you were one of my candidates, and you haven't heard from us yet, it probably means there's a problem with hiring you and the odds are I'll pick somebody else. If I was really interested, you'd have at least gotten a phone call by now. If you were one of my peers' candidates, the odds are you've already been ruled out, but for some reason we don't want to say so yet.

Don't stop working your network, looking for opportunities, practicing your answers and keeping your energy up. Most probably, you need to find other opportunities, but don't forget to check in on this opportunity occasionally, just to show you're still interested.

I'm sorry I don't have better news, and I thought I should correct my mis-impression.


HMac's picture

If you're calling in because you're genuinely interested, you honestly believe you can help that hiring manager solve the problem, or because you're enthusiastic about working for the company - DO IT.


tcomeau's picture

[quote="HMac"]If you're calling in because you're genuinely interested, you honestly believe you can help that hiring manager solve the problem, or because you're enthusiastic about working for the company - DO IT.

Absolutely! You never really know what little thing you can do to get a competitive advantage, and the fact that the hiring manager remembers a name won't hurt.

And I also suggest looking for other opportunities, if only to be realistic.