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Note to Jobseekers: Follow the Rules

For an open position, an organization or search firm might receive hundreds of applications. While this may suggest to candidates to do” whatever it takes” to get the attention of a hiring manager, this preliminary step is not the time to try to stand out by circumventing the application process.

There is an application process for a reason. It ensures a smooth way to control the flow of information and ensure an equitable review process. Many organizations rely upon an applicant tracking system like Taleo or JobScience for processing applications, so often times applications submitted in other ways are never even reviewed. Even more detrimental to your candidacy, sending your resume directly to a hiring manager can communicate a lack of respect for the hiring process and could result in a quick delete.

As a rule of thumb, if a job description states “no phone calls,” don’t call. If it says, “no emails to hiring manager,” don’t email. It’s that simple.

There are a few instances where making contact above and beyond the stated application process is appropriate:

If you know the hiring manager personally, feel free to send an email letting him/her know you applied. You don’t need to attach cover letter and resume, but simply acknowledge that you submitted your application and communicate your enthusiasm about the opportunity. Do not use this communication to re-iterate your cover letter or explain why you’re uniquely qualified for the job. Remember to keep your email short and sweet and do not ask for, or expect any, “special treatment” because of your existing relationship.

If you know someone else at the organization personally, as with the previous tip, drop a succinct email to whoever you know letting them know you applied. This information will be enough for your contact to choose to reach out to the hiring manager. Do not ask for your contact to endorse your candidacy, as it could put your friend or acquaintance in an awkward position of not being comfortable doing so.

If you did not receive confirmation that your application was received, look to see if there’s an email address in the job description, and then send a brief request asking for confirmation of your application. As most job descriptions state “no phone calls,” they may not be set up to handle inquiries by phone, so resist the urge to call to confirm. Organizations often send an auto-response as soon as you applied, so make sure to check your spam folder first just in case.

If you are unsure of the status of your candidacy, as with the previous point, contact the organization by the email listed in the job description. If there is not an email provided, your best bet is to sit tight and wait to be contacted by the organization. Do not call to inquire if the organization would like to set up an interview. If they are interested in pursuing your candidacy, you’ll be the first to know!

Remember, candidates who ignore the rules often end up on the bottom of the resume heap or even in the recycle bin. Candidates who demonstrate that they understand and respect the application process have a much better chance of advancing to the next level of the hiring process.

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