Following Up on Job Applications

Often the worst part of applying for an HR or payroll opportunity is the waiting.  Patience may be a virtue… but often it’s hard to find that virtue when applying for jobs.

After you (maybe) receive a confirmation email from a robot telling you that your resume will be reviewed… blah blah blah… then what happens? Hours turn into days and then weeks and chances are if the HR or payroll job was one you covet, you’re going to get antsy and frustrated – but should you do anything about that in the way of follow-up?

Following up with the company after you apply is often assumed to be presumptuous,  but strategically following up can conversely be seen as someone who really wants the job – a good thing.

If you have an “in” via LinkedIn, family, or friend, an email or even a call to the hiring manager can bring your resume to the top of the pile of all those HR or payroll candidates. But be careful – you don’t want to be like the lady in Fatal Attraction who seems desperate and one small step away from boiling a bunny.

Close Date

Understand if there is a close date/deadline on the application. If there is, don’t call before that date. Once it has closed, it is okay to follow up a week or so after.

No “close date?”

If there is no close date, it is okay to follow up a week after you apply. But be careful and respectful (no boiling bunnies). Just call to check on the status of the hiring process and confirm your resume was received.  If it seems like a light and friendly conversation or e-mail is welcome, slip in a few questions and try to build rapport.

Some Questions You Can Ask

Good excuses to follow-up on that open HR or payroll position include

  • “Have any decisions been made?”
  • “Is it okay to follow up in another week if you haven’t heard anything yet?”
  • “What’s the timeframe for the job-requisition process?” and
  • “What’s the timeframe for the hiring process?”

No Calls Means No Calls

If the job posting for an HR or payroll says “no calls,” listen to that.  This is when you can get creative with your LinkedIn, networking, and maybe even an email. If the posting does not say “no calls,” and you get through – make sure you ask how to follow up before doing it again.


Applying for jobs is no fun. Waiting is even less so – but ultimately the result will hopefully be worth it with your shiny new HR or payroll job.


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