According to StartWire.com, a Lebanon, N.H.-based firm that provides job-seekers with updated information on their employment applications, says 50% of hires applied during the first week a job posting went up on the wire.
Furthermore, 27% got the job by responding the day an ad was posted.
“Job-seekers underestimate the importance of being at the front of the hiring line,” says Chris Forman, chief executive of StartWire. “Once a hiring manager or recruiter does an initial pre-screen of candidates and makes an interview list, they rarely look back at applications that come in later. To optimize your chances, apply as soon as you see a job. And seek out an internal contact within the company who can put in a good word for you.”
But what happens when you apply for a job or even go on an interview – and don’t hear back?
Leaving applicants in the dark is bad for business, StartWire says, since 77% of job-seekers (who double as consumers) think less of a firm that doesn’t get back to job applicants. What’s more, 58% say they would “think twice” before buying that company’s products or services.
Here are some concrete steps to take when you don’ hear back from a potential employer:
- First, review what you’ve done: Make sure you don’t have any leaks in your application. Re-read your application and target any errors or grammar issues. Make sure you have multiple contact listings, including a phone and/or cellphone, email and Twitter tag. Have a friend or family member review the copy too. If you’re error free, move on to step two. If you found an error, fix it, and make sure your next job application is error free. If you do have a glaring error or two, know that such mistakes are a big red flag to hiring managers.
- The “24-hour thank you note”: Within a day of a job interview, write back with a nice, diplomatic “thank you” note to your would-be employer. Make sure you refer to your contact by name, thank them for the learning experience and offer to be on call 24/7 to answer any questions. Above all, register your enthusiasm for the job. That – plus the fact your thank you note gets you back on the employer’s radar screen — should separate you from the pack.
- Follow up: Human resource consultants say one week is sufficient time to get back to an employer who has left you hanging, and that goes for employment applications and job interviews as well. Set that as a target date and get back to your potential employer, preferably by email. You can text if you have their phone number. If you share Twitter or Linked In accounts, a job query works, too.
- Establish a timeline: This tip is tricky, but done right, it’s highly effective. In your follow-up note, make sure to establish some time boundaries. Include in your note a line or two similar to this one: “I’d appreciate a time frame for a direct response. Please advise, and thanks for your help in advance.” Hiring managers are human, after all, and will likely provide any information they can, within reason. But if you don’t ask them, chances are they won’t offer up any timelines.
- One more tip: Don’t be afraid to “water the infield.” In baseball parlance, groundskeepers don’t go out at the end of the fourth inning and just water the area near first base – they water the entire infield. The same goes for job-seekers. By all means take all the steps listed above, but increase your odds of landing a job by sending as many applications and going to as many job , as possible.
Not only will that increase your odds; an actual job offer gives you leverage with the original company and makes you a more desirable job applicant.