Do’s and Don’ts When Waiting for a Call

The worst part of a job hunt isn’t poring over your résumé to ensure there are no typos, nor is it sweating out a nerve-wracking job interview.


You know, the lag times when nothing seems to be happening. You’ve either just sent out your résumé and now you are eagerly anticipating a call from a prospective employer asking for an interview, or you’ve gone through the interview process and are hoping to hear that you are being offered a job.

This is how the wait time feels to job seekers:

Young woman with glasses who is bored

And this is what that same period time is like for HR/hiring managers:

Man multitasking with computer and reports at work

So while the time can’t go fast enough for you, the person making the hiring decision is busy working on many projects, a fraction of which have anything to do with the particular position that concerns you.

To help you through the wait times, here are some do’s and don’ts:

DO apply to more than one company. Just because you know that you would be a perfect fit for a specific opening doesn’t mean you will get the job. To set your heart on one particular position could mean that you waste a lot of time that could be better spent researching other viable options.

DON’T use the spray and pray approach to job hunting. It’s not an effective approach, yet so many job seekers go this route because it gives the illusion that you are doing something for your job hunt. Unfortunately, what you are mostly doing if you rely solely on this technique is pumping your résumé down a black hole.

DO get out and network. People give jobs to people. If you have an opportunity to talk with someone in real life, they hear your enthusiasm and see your body language. They can ask questions that allow you to more fully explain a thought or story. All of this makes you tangible and memorable.

DON’T beg people to help you find a job. Nothings smacks of desperation more than a person who is groveling. Don’t let that be your lasting impression.

DO continue to build your résumé. There are lots of things you can do:

DON’T exaggerate or outright lie on your résumé. More likely than not, this will come back to haunt you if you do this. Just ask former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson.

DO touch base with HR 1-2 weeks after submitting your résumé. You can accomplish two things by doing this: 1) you can restate your interest in the employment opportunity they have, and 2) you can politely ask what their timeline is (which will give you a better idea of what to expect).

The exception to this rule is if you applied to a posting that explicitly states, “No phone calls.” In that case, do NOT call! To do so makes you look like you can’t follow directions and can very well end your candidacy for the position.

DON’T ask, “Did you get my résumé?” Asking that question doesn’t get you information beyond “Yes, we did.” You still have unanswered questions about the timeline, plus you lost out on an opportunity to positively convey your enthusiasm for the position.

DON’T email/call every week. That is one of the quickest ways to knock yourself out of contention for a position. Why? Because it makes your application with them all about you, not them. It also uses up their valuable time, so it’s far easier to eliminate you on the spot than to have you keep calling week in and week out.

How else do you make productive use of the time when waiting for a call?

Images courtesy of Jason Scragz and Intel Free Press

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