9 Career Experts Weigh-In On Follow-Up Mistakes Job Seekers Make by Mark Anthony Dyson
Follow-up is one of the vital parts of your job search you control. It is the life support of all of your efforts. During unpredictable job market activity, you’ll need to drive results. My focus on a follow-up series is motivated by the opportunities I hear job seekers miss when a follow-up call or email would impress an employer or tell them they hired someone else, along with many other reasons.
The first article in the series focuses on follow-up after the interview, and it’s essential to be thoughtful and strategic. Your approach matters; remember, no action dismantles the hard work you spent years building. People fear rejection and don’t want to be told no. I mention many other reasons and scenarios other than interview follow-up is essential.
The second article offers ten mistakes job seekers must avoid for successful follow-up. While getting hired is the ultimate goal, there are many pieces along the way that helps you traction. While the worst mistake is no follow-up, the lack of thoughtfulness will thwart your efforts.
I recently shared some thoughts on LinkedIn and asked if I missed any common mistakes. Below are responses I received from career experts, and I thought they were so good that I wanted to share them here. I also link to the person’s LinkedIn account so you can follow them, their content, and other helpful information they provide job seekers:
Here is quality advice on why and how you should follow up during the job interview process:
Jim Black, Certified Career and Life Coach
“I tell people to show real enthusiasm before, during, and after the interview. It gets you far! So if you like the job, show that you are enthusiastic about it, verbally and in writing. If you aren’t enthusiastic, don’t go for the job.”
Dr. Scott Dell, Career Educator, LinkedIn Advocate
“Two other questions that I suggest candidates asking DURING the interview (besides the intelligent ones you are asked if you have any further questions). The first is obvious, but the second is more controversial. One, is what are the timeframe for the decision making process, next steps and when would be a good time to follow up – and then make sure to follow up! The second is about the competition, as in “If I may ask, how many other candidates are in the pipeline” and “what are the strongest things you think I bring to the table (and watch for what is NOT said.” This will bring up some of the strengths to emphasize and reinforce with your next communication to help them remember you.”
Norma Davila, Resume Writing & Career Management Expert
“Another follow-up mistake which may be even worse than no follow-up at all: coming across as desperate for the position by sending too many emails or making too many calls and not giving hiring managers or recruiters time to respond.”
Bill Holland, Ph.D., Principal Founder, College to Career Catalyst, LLC, and Author
“One reason why employers have short memories has to do with the relativeness of what is important to them versus what is important to you. Your job search and candidacy are likely among the highest of your priorities. Your priorities and that of the employer as closer together if, and only if, you happen to be their top candidate or among the top few.”
If you are a top candidate, the value of follow up is easier to understand. If you are not, follow up feels more like busy work. When you allow that feeling to dictate how you respond it leads you to at least one of the nine mistakes listed above. Do not let that happen to you. Toward the end of the interview tell them you would like to follow up but do not want to be a pest. Ask, ” when should I follow up?”
Virginia Franco, Executive Storyteller, Certified Resume + LinkedIn Writer
“There’s literally no downside to writing a thank you note, especially one that expresses genuine interest.”
“One of the top skills employers are looking for is communication skills. Why not start demonstrating your skills right after the interview?”
Loren Grieff, Career Coach, Founder of Portfolio Rocket Careers
“…for goodness sakes, please create a Non-Generic subject line!!”
Meg Applegate, Award-Winning Resume Writer & Certified Personal Branding Strategist
“A generic follow-up is a mistake. Be specific. Reference something from your conversation and better yet, add even more value around that topic.”
Farnoosh Brock, Empowering STEM Professionals & Students with Essential Leadership Skills
It is simple and easy when you know enough to know if you’re enthusiastic about the job, and yet, I find many just don’t know so much about (1) what they want (2) what excites them (3) what drains them (4) what criteria matters to their job success (5) what their core values are and how the environment fits/misfits it and so on.”