| June 2022 |


How do I follow up on a job application? - Empowered Decision

How do I progress my application without coming across as pushy?

WRITTEN BY: Laura Biggs

That job ad caught your attention, you did your research on the company, you tailored your resume, wrote a good cover letter, pressed send…and then nothing. This is a common scenario and we are often asked our advice on why this happens and what an applicant can do.

Many factors can be behind that silence. Having worked on both sides of the fence, as a recruiter and in-house, the hiring process can appear a lot simpler from the outside. When you are working on behalf of a company there are many factors that can slow the process of responding to applicants to a job. These can include internal movements such as resignations and internal transfers, project or workflow complications that divert the Line Manager’s attention, or even changing requirements regarding what skillset is required.

As an outsider to this, it seems logical to say, ‘well why doesn’t the company just update the candidate’. Often though the decision is not made. Often when recruiting internally you are thinking ‘as soon as I get the feedback, I will let the candidates know’ but there may be another project to consider or the appointment of one role is slowing the progression of another role. This is why a company can advertise a role and then take a few weeks to respond to applications.

So, what are the recommendations for following up when your application seems to have disappeared into a void? Firstly, go slow. While it may seem like a long delay to you, there may be factors that you are unaware of as outlined already. Therefore, I usually recommend waiting at least a week before following up.

If this time has passed, I advise checking the job portal you applied through. Often companies, at least the larger ones, have a portal that can indicate the status of a job for example currently reviewing applications. This can help if you see there is progress, even if it is slow. Or there may be a closing date before which applications may not be even viewed. Following up when the applications are being reviewed or before the closing date can often be viewed as frustrating rather than useful.

“There are often a number of factors behind the silence”


We recommend having a look to see if there is an email address on the careers section of a company website. It is often generic but can be used to ask for feedback. Our advice here is to take care not to use this too early. However, if you haven’t heard back within a couple of weeks it is a good idea to write a brief email outlining the role you applied for and the date of application as well as an expression of interest in the role.

Sometimes it can be a simple prompt such as making a strategic connection on LinkedIn to the relevant Line Manager or Talent Acquisition person from which they may look at your profile, effectively giving you a ‘second chance’ at being considered for an application. This is where, if you haven’t already done at the application stage, reaching out to a contact or a referral within the business can be really helpful. Through this, you can obtain more accurate feedback which can help you understand how the company views your skills and experience and perhaps explain the delay or give you informative feedback on how your skills and experience compared to others applying for the same role.

Our experience is that some candidates can view the silence as a reflection of their skillset more than external factors. It’s important to reflect and obtain feedback if this is happening continually.

Empowered Decision offers a free 30-minute discovery call. If you are experiencing a lack of progress or feedback in your job applications reach out to us by booking a time on our calendar.