Companies are busy environments, and although recruiting for early-stage businesses may be mission-critical, it is just one of a wide range of equally mission-critical tasks and challenges facing founders and hiring managers. As new and pressing things to do keep pushing your last communication further and further down in their inbox, it’s really easy for someone to drop the ball. That is why it’s so important to be proactive and to follow up.
But, especially if you are actively searching, it is also common to apply to a large number of positions. You’ll need to keep careful notes about when each interaction (email, call, or interview) took place to ensure you stay on top of your follow-up, so you know when enough time has passed to reach back out and see how things are going. Most of the time, unless they specify a different time frame, you’ll want to reach out if you haven’t heard from someone you’re already talking to in about a week.
The other primary advantage is that the probability of duplicating your own effort is reduced. You may come across multiple roles from the same company, or multiple times from the same role. If you’re not logging all the conversations you’ve had, you might even forget about one of them and apply again—not a good look. It makes it much easier to avoid errors by keeping a record of every application you send.
Finally, to understand the performance of your job search and for forecasting timelines, monitoring is important. For what positions do you receive the most interviews? Where are the best places to search for jobs? How long are you expecting to take a recruitment process, and how many meetings or calls are involved? You will need to answer these questions to keep your expectations realistic and prioritize your search efforts according to their greatest impact, but if you do not track the data in the first place, you can’t.
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What to Monitor in your Job Search?
You’ll probably want to monitor a few things for every application you send, to ensure that you’re organized and on top of everything.
Company: Whenever you’re about to go in or get on the phone, you’ll likely need to refresh your memory of the company’s offerings and current situation, so make sure you write down the name.
Role: It will be helpful to remember which abilities you need to employ in any given conversation if you consider multiple types of positions. Furthermore, tracking titles makes it easier to determine where your strongest appeal is. For example, if you’re a marketer, you may find that you get callbacks for product marketing roles more often than for account-based marketing jobs, even though you feel confident doing either job. Then, where they will have the greatest impact, you can focus your efforts.
Date sent: when calculating your job search timeline, an important marker.
Contacts: you’ll always want to make sure you know who your point of contact is for any position.
Last touch: to make sure you always know if it’s time to follow up, it’s important to keep the last date you made contact up-to-date. You can then either add a week to this date or note the timeline that was reported by your contact to generate a follow-up date.
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Furthermore, to derive information about your job search performance and understand your timeline, you may want to track some of these other data points.
Source: You may want to keep track of the channel that clued you into the opening of the job. If you do, you may discover that you have better success with posts on one board versus another, or that an available channel is underused.
First response: it can help keep your expectations reasonable to keep an eye on the length of time you typically wait to hear back from an application. This can be anywhere from minutes to weeks, depending on channel, application volume, and the priorities of the hiring manager.
Number of meetings: It can be helpful to know how far in the process you are by gathering a general idea of the number of meetings before an offer in your industry, location, and seniority level, in a similar spirit to tracking the length of the wait for a response.
The Outcome: keeping track of job offers, as well as the discussions that either you or the business did not pursue, can help you look back on your job search and evaluate your overall efficiency. It may also show some patterns in the kinds of positions or businesses that you were most interested in, and those that were most interested in you.
Outcome date: A final choice, offer or no offer, is the last piece of the job search timeline. To derive the length of time it takes for a conversation to close, you’ll need this data.
Keep Notes: keeping notes from every call or meeting you have is extremely advantageous, so you can pick up the conversation at the next touchpoint quickly.
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