You click “submit” on your job application, and you wait. You interview for your dream job, and you wait. Much of the application/interview process is out of your hands, but there is something job seekers can do instead of constantly watching your phone and email – follow up with the hiring manager. Following up with hiring managers can be a very intimidating but essential part of the job search. You walk a thin line between showing your interest and becoming annoying. Here is advice on when and how to follow up during different stages of the interview process.

After You Send In Your Application

The first thing you always need to remember is that hiring managers are typically swamped with applications, so you need to be respectful of the little time they have. Usually hiring managers prefer follow up emails during this stage, but regardless if you call or email, make sure you keep the message short. You can ask what the next steps in the process are, the timeline for everything, or if the hiring manager needs additional information about you.

As for timing, if you did not receive an auto-response from the organization after you submitted your application online, this is an opportunity to show initiative and sincere interest by reaching out to the hiring manager right away to ask if your application was received. Technology isn’t perfect, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on a job opportunity simply because a system glitch prevented your application from getting to the hiring manager. If you did receive an auto-response message or you sent you application directly to the hiring manager via email, hold off for at least a week.

During this stage, don’t reach out to the hiring manager more than twice, unless he/she requests more follow up. If the job description asks for no follow up, be sure to respect that request.

After Your Interview 

Post-interview, there are two types of follow up you can use. Immediately after interview, the first thing you need to do is send a thank you note to your interviewer. If you decide to send a note by email, send it that day. If you choose to hand-write a note, mail it the same day as your interview. Thank you notes are an important part of the interview process, as they can help you stand out either in a good way if it’s well-written, or a bad way if you fail to send one.

If it’s been a couple weeks after your interview, and you still have not heard back from the hiring manager, you should follow up again. Ask the interviewer if there is a next stage in the interview process or what the timeline looks like for a decision to be made. Again, this is an opportunity to convey your interest in the opportunity, but you still don’t want to cross the line and become annoying to the hiring manager.

Following up is not difficult; it just takes common sense. Listening to our advice will help you get started, but remember that every application process is different, so you need to feel out the situation to determine the most efficient way to reach the hiring manager.