Salary negotiation

8 Job Application Follow Up Emails Recruiters Love

You just finished an interview. How do you make sure you get the role?

You just finished an interview.

You think you did well and you’re excited. You nailed every question, even the whiteboard coding part of the process.

A week passes and you don’t hear back.

Doubt starts creeping in. You’ve progressed in your quest to land a tech role, but the hardest part is yet to come: the waiting game.

How Do I Handle the Waiting Game?

It may seem impolite or pushy to follow-up on a job application, but recruiters actually expect this. A 2017 study from recruiting firm Robert Half showed that 43% of hiring managers expect an application follow-up from candidates in less than two weeks.

So yes, it’s okay to follow-up. As a candidate, your job is to sell yourself, so we can examine sales best practices to learn how to do this right. In sales (and in interviews), not following-up means lost revenue. A report from a research advisory firm shows that it can take as many as 6 call attempts to convert a lead.

Six attempts! And yet many job applicants are afraid to go beyond the first follow-up.

Various reports also show that it takes 5 follow-ups and phone calls after the initial sales contact before a prospect says yes. Unfortunately, a whopping 92% of sales professionals give up only after 4 “no’s.”

Just as those sales professionals would’ve closed a sale if they persisted, you can land a job if you learn how to follow-up on a job application properly.

You just need the right strategy. This is an essential part to succeeding in the interview process.

1. Follow-up when you agreed to during the job interview

There’s a chance the hiring team won’t make up their minds on schedule. Delays happen all the time. It’s up to you to give them a gentle nudge, preferably a day after the agreed follow-up time so you don’t look desperate.

Be careful not to sound like you’re blaming them for the delay. Just say that you’re still interested in the role, then emphasize why you’re a good fit and excited about the team.

Here's an email template to check out:

2. Follow-up when you get a competing offer

The company that interviewed you first won’t always be first in line to extend a job offer.

Either you prefer one company over the other, or you just want to know all your options. Whatever it is, here’s how to follow-up on a job application if you receive a competing offer.

You don’t want them to cross you off the selection list just because of a competing offer, so tweak the script above. Career experts also recommend to follow-up with a phone call. This way, you’ll get an answer right away and you minimize chances of misunderstanding.

If you can’t reach the contact person after a few calls, use email as a last resort.

3. Follow-up with a Technical or UX Audit

The technical part of the interview gave you a better understanding of the role, so why not use it?

Follow-up on your job application by sending the hiring manager a technical or UX audit, or a pitch deck for a feature.

This strategy requires upfront work but often yields favorable results. Study their app or software— the bugs, interface, available features, and code. Your suggestions should be based on a thorough review of their technology, otherwise it will make you look sloppy.

This follow-up strategy works best for design, growth and product roles.

4. Follow-up using information from the interview

Your resume and cover letter might have all the noteworthy details of your career, but what if you discussed an old project that wasn't listed?

Use this opportunity as a tactical way to stay top of mind.

Notice that this template doesn’t mention anything about the decision timeline. The mention of your interview is already a reminder that you’re a job applicant waiting to hear back. Your effort to send them the information shows you’re eager for the job.

5. Follow-up by announcing a new certification

Applicants don’t always have all the skills listed on a job description. Your interviewer might’ve brought it up a skill during the interview that you don't possess. But you’re eager to learn about it and build it, through books, small projects, or a larger undertaking.

For example, it's possible you don’t have on-the-job experience with Ruby on Rails, but you’re taking a certification program. Don’t let this accomplishment go unnoticed by potential employers. If your new skills can help with your job, tell them.

How to follow-up on a job application by mentioning new skills:

6. Follow-Up with Company-Specific Knowledge

Do you keep up with the news about your prospective employers? You should. Google Alerts is a survival tool in startup interviews. Company announcements are a goldmine of information that you can use throughout your job application.

Here’s how to follow-up on a job application after you see some good news about the company:

Make sure you read the article thoroughly, not just the headline. You don’t want to congratulate them on something you misunderstood.

There are many ways to connect a news item to your job application. New funding means the company will have more funds for product development, so mention that. Don’t mention your hiring directly, as that might sound tacky.

7. Follow-Up if You’re Not Getting a Response

Sometimes, one follow-up isn’t enough. Here’s how to follow-up on a job application if you didn’t hear back on your last attempt.

8. Break Up Email

Things won’t always work out. Either the hiring team is too busy to update you, they went with another candidate, or they decided to postpone the hiring because of another issue.

Whatever the situation is, it’s good to know how to follow-up on a job application and close this part of your job search without burning bridges. In sales, a last nudge like this often works to remind busy people about you. A good subject line is key to capture their attention.

Other Methods of Following Up


Try this first. Be sure to add them (or check if you're 2nd level connections) before you send a message. This is the only social media you should use. Do NOT follow up via Facebook, Twitter, or any other social platform.

Work Phone

If you have other contact information, specifically their work phone number, try this next. You can call or text. Some people may prefer text because it's somewhat less intrusive, but use your best judgment.

Another Person

If you were referred, you can also follow-up through that person. Here's how to follow-up on a job application through a referral contact:

This follow-up email does two things: it updates the person about your job search and thanks them for referring you. They did you a favor, so it’s only polite to thank them first before you ask for yet another favor.

The Job Search is a Numbers Game

Sales professionals work on multiple leads simultaneously so they have a fall back in case things go south with one deal. Treat your job hunt like this.

Even if you find a job that perfectly matches your skills and desired compensation package, you shouldn’t give up on applying to other companies.

Learn how to follow-up on a job application properly, but don’t obsess over one job opportunity.

Treat your job search like a sales pipeline. Work out how many resumes you have to send to get an interview, and how many interviews lead to jobs.

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