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Follow-Up Calls: Always? Or Never?

On the Pongo Blog, we generally recommend following up on a resume submission or an interview with a phone call. Our view on this approach is that it underscores your interest in the position and the company, which could help land the job if it's brief and respectful of the employer's time.

That hit home for me last year when my teenage son filled out an application for a part-time job at a local grocery store. He didn't hear anything for a few days, so he called the hiring manager and, because he followed up, he was hired — over the phone.

But that doesn't work for everyone. In fact, depending on who's on the other end of the phone, following up may not help at all.

Two of my favorite career bloggers — Kerry Sandberg Scott and Alison Green, both hiring professionals — come down squarely on the side of "don't call us, we'll call you." That's not surprising since they have, no doubt, received far more than their share of follow-up calls during their careers.

Kerry, in fact, was emphatic in her views in this recent post:

"It's really about understanding that the key variable in getting a job is being the right person for the job. It's not about being the most attention-seeking candidate."

She adds: Even if you really are the right person for the job, but "… the person on the other end is an idiot who wouldn't know talent if it bit her in the ass, she's unlikely to appreciate the fact that you're essentially pointing that fact out to her."

Alison, who endorsed Kerry's views, took aim earlier this month at job seekers who ignore the "no calls please" phrase that accompanies some job postings:

"If I say 'no calls,' I mean no calls. I'm not just testing applicants to see who will take the initiative to call anyway. …

"But, on the other hand, many employers are unorganized, don't necessarily mean what they say, and are more likely to answer their phone … I've heard from plenty of people who called an employer to follow up on their application and had an interview scheduled on the spot. These employers are reinforcing bad behavior and ruining it for the rest of us …"

But others swear by the "go ahead and ask" approach. Author and job search advisor Kevin Donlin recently opined: "What's the worst that can happen if you call and ask an employer to meet? They say no."

If it's because there are other, better candidates, then fine. Pick up and move on. If you are qualified yet get a vague brush-off, think twice about sending them another resume again.

What about you? If you've tried to boost your chances of getting hired by following up with a phone call, were you ignored more than you were acknowledged? Or the other way around? Tell us about it.

RELATED LINKS

Two Harsh Truths about Your Job Search
The Job Search Follow-Up Guide You Can't Live Without
Job Ad Says 'No Phone Calls, Please?' Call Them Anyway

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