Here’s an interesting email / follow up I got today thanks to Employee Referrals Gone Wild, which I wrote back in April (hint – nothing on the internet ever dies). This person was searching the web for advice on how to handle being an employee referral, and came across my blog. With the job seeker’s permission I am including the text of her email and my response.
The Email –
How are you? I was recently searching around the internet to get advice on reaching out to a hiring manager that I've been referred to and saw your blog post. I was wondering if you could give me a little advice about my situation.
I recently graduated from business school and am looking to transition from biz dev to consumer goods brand management and marketing. One of my classmates that graduated with me works at a Bay Area based consumer goods company and has referred me for a marketing position. She also let me know that she spoke to the hiring manager and that he may contact me this week. Well the end of the week is closely approaching and I haven't heard from the hiring manager. Is it alright if I send him a note checking in on the status of the hiring process? Or should I not overstep my boundaries?
Thanks for your help,
My Response –
Hi Job Seeker,
Great question, and thanks for asking! I think it’s perfectly ok to reach out via email. Either directly to the hiring manager (if you have the contact info) or even to your friend who can then forward your note.
Focus on your skills / abilities and what makes you a strong fit for the role. You want to treat this communication like any other job search outreach – think about how you would draft a cover letter. A great entry could be something like this –
Dear (Hiring Manager),
I hope this email finds you well. I’m contacting you about your recent position for (title) with (company). One of my classmates (name) thought I might be a good fit for the job, and after reviewing the expectations in the job description, I am very interested in applying. (Now lay out a few things about you / your background that make you qualified).
(Friend’s name) told me s/he already reached out to you about my possible candidacy, but I wanted to let you know directly how interested I am in (position) with (company). Please let me know if I can provide any additional information about my background and experience. I can be reached directly at…. And so on.
Obviously you want to put this in your own words with whatever is relevant to the company and position. You may want to ask your friend what the usual process is for applicants. Is there an HR / Recruiter person that you’ll need to interview with also? The goal here is to streamline the process, not leapfrog over any of the steps.
Would you mind if I use your email to write a follow up blog post? I won’t use your name or contact info. I hope this was helpful, and please let me know if you get anywhere with the manager! I’ll be rooting for you!
First of all let me say GOOD FOR THE JOB SEEKER. Instead of sitting around waiting and complaining, she's taking action. She's doing her research, thinking about her options, and trying to come up with a creative yet effective way to follow up with the hiring manager. What do you think, RBC? Would you be receptive to this kind of follow up? What other advice should I have provided? Any war stories about how something like this has or hasn't worked? Our job seeking friend is anxiously awaiting your feedback - and so am I!
I'd much rather get an email like this one above from the candidate directly than one from the person that referred the candidate! It doesn't feel like a "knock knock, what the heck is taking so long" type of email and if for whatever reason their application didn't get a thorough read from me the first time, maybe the email would cause me to re-visit their resume. It also tells me that the candidate is truly interested in the role. :-)
Great blog, as always Amy!
Great Advice, Amy! Hiring Managers can become so over-welmed with their daily work that they forget to follow up with a potentially good candidate.
Thanks Tyra and Gina! Both excellent points... I know it happens to recruiters all the time where we lose track of a great candidate or just miss them entirely. I can only imagine how it is for hiring managers who have a completely separate full time job.
The job seeker is keeping an eye on these comments to please share your thoughts!
I would appreciate a follow up email from the job seeker as well, it would be a gentle reminder and would show how interested the person is - including that they'd read the job description and found how their skills match up. I don't like it when a referral only operates thru their buddy, it seems kind of lazy to me. Great advice Amy and knock em dead Job Seeker!
Excellent point Megan - I get so frustrated when a current employee repeatedly contacts me about their referral. I always tell them to have their friend contact me directly but I'm surprised at how often it NEVER HAPPENS.
Candidates who are referred should keep in mind that their employed friend's behavior can reflect on them, for better or worse.