The follow-up phone call

"Thank you for the application.  Unfortunately..."

Sound familiar? Have you heard that phrase one too many times?

Let them say that to the next person, not you!

All of your efforts of finding a job to apply for and getting the interview should not go unnoticed.  Therefore, don't sit back and wait for those words to haunt you once more. Pick up the phone  and follow up with the company that you interviewed with.

What is a follow-up phone call?

A follow-up phone call is as straight forward as it sounds.  The call has three main purposes: to thank the interviewer for his or her time, to check if there is anything else that can be done for the application process and to ask how the review of the application is coming along.

"Generally in my experience, a follow up call was an attempt to bring the  interview to the top of mind," said Brad Pierson, currently a senior oncology sales representative with Novartis Oncology.  "Especially if the interview occcurred early in the day of a full schedule of interviews."

When Pierson was conducting interviews he was the western regional business manager for Ligand Pharmaceuticals.

Thanking the interviewer for his or her time adds a personal interaction that lets him or her know that you are interested in the position and you understand that his or her time is valuable.

Asking if anything else can be done for the application lets the employer know that you are willing to take the extra step to get the job and you want to ensure that all needs have been met for the application.

Lastly, if the employer has not contacted you or mentioned anything about how the reviewing process is going, it is ok to ask.  Sometimes employers get busy and forget to call you, which is why it is important to remind them that you want the job.  Calling the employer is also important because it shows how passionate you are about the job and may get you that much ahead of the other applicants who did not call and are still waiting.

It is those applicants who did not put forth all efforts who will hear the dreaded phrase.

When should you make the call?

A follow-up call should be made within a week of your job interview.  If you are simply calling to say thank you, the call needs to be made within 24 hours of the interview.  If you are calling to inquire about the application it is ok to wait three to four days.

However, there are a few instances when making a follow-up phone call is not a good idea.

"If the interview went less than satisfactorily, I would not follow up," Pierson said.  "You would want the details of the interview to dim."

Tips for making a follow-up phone call

Be prepared

  • Have your resume infront of you so you can quickly answer any last minute questions they may have.
  • Make an outline of what you want to say so you do not forget any important points or the reasoning of your call.


  • Run through what you want to say a few times so that when you actually make the call it sounds fluid and so that you can anticipate what you are going to say.

Call in a quiet location

  • Make the call somewhere where you can think and not be easily distracted.

Other options

Calling is the best option because it is more personal and shows that you took the time to follow up on the position.  However, if calling is not an option, sending an e-mail works as well. Just make sure your spelling and grammar is correct. At the end of your e-mail you can also add your contact information to have it easily accessible to the employer in case he or she wants to immediately call or e-mail back.  If you have more time, a handwritten letter or note is acceptable as well.




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