This is the last part in our series where we have asked employers what they focus on when reading applications and interviewing candidates. As you might remember from the first two parts, 73 hiring managers answered the following questions for us: 

  1. What are the 3 primary things you are looking at when reviewing an application?
  2. What are the 3 most important characteristics in an applicant during the job interview?
  3. How do you consider applicants who follow up on their application before the application deadline has expired?

Here we are showing you the results and - based on them - give you tips to help you fine-tune your application routine.


3. How you should follow up after submitting your application


Most employers appreciate a follow up after an application


A lot of employers appreciate it if you follow up on your application - if done right, it can convey your interest in a particular company, your communication skills and it can help recruiters tackle the challenge of keeping applicants informed.   

That said, the approach is still not as completely risk-free as candidates might think. Nearly every fifth employer we asked stated they don’t appreciate follow-ups - in some cases to the degree that it will hurt your chances of getting hired. And even some of the managers who do appreciate a follow up concede that it will not necessarily affect their hiring decision.


So is there a golden rule for the follow-up?

As one of the surveyed recruiters sums up: “It depends on how the applicant follows up. If the candidates ask relevant questions, then it can increase their chances.”

But employers tend to notice when your questions come from a desire to simply draw attention to yourself rather than a genuine interest in the company and the position itself. That’s usually what lands applications in the “no”-pile.

Therefore, you may want to think about getting in touch with employers at an earlier stage - before you submit your application to them rather than after. Consider the following example that one hiring manager mentioned to us: “We had one candidate who called up our communications department and asked about the focus in our external communication over the course of the year, then wrote this into her application to a totally different department. That’s a sign of fighting spirit that we were really excited about. She ended up getting the job.”  

So, a solidly expressed interest in a job may win over simply screaming the loudest.

Tip: Approaching people you don’t know is arguably the most difficult part of job hunting. Therefore, it can be a good idea to build your network early on. In case your dream employer doesn’t have any listed job openings, there are alternative ways to get a foot in the door via an unsolicited application.