Should I pre-emptively contact HR at a job I applied for?
December 30, 2009 12:56 PM   Subscribe

I applied for a very competitive position and made all of the preliminary cuts. I received an email that I'm being considered for a position in really awesome unit, and will be contacted if they want to interview me. They will make their decision on monday at the latest. Should I contact them? I really, really want this job!

I applied for a job at a hospital over two months ago. It was a long application process; I heard from another applicant that over 90 people applied for 6 positions. This upcoming monday is the date I was told the final decision would be made.

I made all of the preliminary cuts and had a 20-minute phone interview last month. I received an email last monday (two days ago) that I was being considered for a position on a floor that is basically my dream unit. The email said that if I'm selected for an interview they will contact me directly, and if I have any questions I should call xxx-xxxx.

I still haven't heard anything. You can track your application status online and it's still showing my status as under consideration. My question is, would it help me to call them and ask if they need any more information? If it would blow my chances or reflect poorly on me then I definitely won't. But I really think that if I had a chance to interview then I would do really well.

What should I do? If you think I should just sit on my hands and wait, then please say so. But if you think I should give them a call, then what should I say?
posted by pintapicasso to Work & Money (17 answers total)
I can't see how contacting them will reduce the likelihood they'll hire you. They're probably just behind because of the Christmas break. But provided you're polite, and don't nag, you won't seem desperate, just engaged.

Maybe the best thing to do would be to concoct a question that you have. Ideally something that shows you've been doing your homework. Then you'll seem more involved in the process, and not merely desperate to hear the news.
posted by musofire at 12:59 PM on December 30, 2009

Absolutely just wait. If the decision is to be made on Monday, they know full well why you're calling now, even if you cloak it in a nuanced question about whether or not the unit is switching to the XYZ protocol in light of the fascinating article in your field's most prestigious journal. They know you're calling either to find out about the decision or to ingratiate yourself, and neither is going to get you anywhere. Moreover, it's essentially New Year's Eve. No one wants to talk to you right now.

Just wait until they call you. If you haven't heard by, say Wednesday, I'd consider calling.

Good luck!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:11 PM on December 30, 2009 [8 favorites]

posted by mateuslee at 1:14 PM on December 30, 2009

Yes, wait. Being a pest to them now may reflect badly on you, and may lead them to consider someone else.
posted by LN at 1:18 PM on December 30, 2009

I would email them and thank them for considering me, and say something to the effect of 'I also just wanted a chance to say how enthusiastic I am about the possibility of this opportunity' -- something that didn't indicate they were required to respond but let them know you wanted the job. If there's a hair of difference between you and someone else, that might be the tipping point.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:26 PM on December 30, 2009 [7 favorites]

I would wait until Monday, since that's when they said they'd contact you. It's the end of the year, and a lot of things are wrapping up at most companies, so this week probably isn't the best week to get answers about much of anything, anyway.
posted by xingcat at 1:30 PM on December 30, 2009

About 3 months ago I blitzed an interview (on a Friday), and wanted desperately to ring every hour on the hour just to remind them how badly I wanted the job. But I resisted the temptation. They had assured me that they'd let me know on the following Monday, they were making their decision over the weekend, so I couldn't see the point in hassling them.

No phone call on Monday. Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Lather, rinse and repeat until the following Wednesday. Long after I'd given up hope, they rang, apologising for the delay due to various dramas, asking when I'd like to start. (And the job is even more awesome than I thought, incidentally.)

So, my advice is no, don't call them. But if you don't hear on Monday, I think ringing them on Tuesday would show enthusiasm for the job without being a pest.

Upon preview, A Terrible Llama's advice is spot-on.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:35 PM on December 30, 2009

Hold off. I know you are probably dying to get in there and show them what you can do but you are better holding off until Wednesday or so. At the turn of the year, most organisations have a lot of different things going on with some people coming back from vacation, etc. Recruitment may not be the number one priority in those first couple of days back and you could in fact be considered an annoying ass when people are trying to get back into the swing of work if you call. Bide your time.

That said, good luck!
posted by ClanvidHorse at 1:41 PM on December 30, 2009

Follow A Terrible Llama's advice.
posted by semacd at 1:44 PM on December 30, 2009

Definitely send them a short email reply indicating your enthusiasm. I don't think it can hurt, and it indicates that you are still interested in the position a month after your phone interview. Companies want to hire people who are excited to work there. If you don't follow up, then for all they know you found another job or lost interest.

I probably wouldn't call though unless I had some sort of amazingly relevant new questions that couldn't wait for the real interview.
posted by monstrouspudding at 2:35 PM on December 30, 2009

My email would say "Thanks, looking forward to hearing from you," to show that I was still interested, and that their email to me hadn't fallen into a black hole. Then I would wait.
posted by bingo at 2:56 PM on December 30, 2009

Response by poster: This is a huge hospital and the email I received isn't personalized -
"Dear applicant, Your application is being considered for a new position at HospitalName. If you are selected for an interview.." etc etc etc. There is nothing referencing the department or the position. (I checked my application status online to find out exactly what department I was being considered for).
The email address itself is Replying to that email seems sort of weird.. and the person who interviewed me over the phone forwarded me to a hiring manager in the unit I may be working in. So it seems inappropriate to email her directly. Would I look dumb replying to the address?
posted by pintapicasso at 2:58 PM on December 30, 2009

Wait. I know it's hard, but wait. HR people get millions of calls like that, and it irritates the daylights out of them.

If you don't have a firm email contact (as in, the person has already corresponded with you via that email address) I wouldn't email, either.
posted by winna at 3:30 PM on December 30, 2009

I think if this were my dream job, I'd find a way to send the text of my suggestion above to somebody relevant to the hiring process, preferably the person who interviewed me. But nothing wordy and nothing requiring them to respond. Just a brief positive interaction with someone you can identify by name, whether someone you'd work with or someone in HR.

They're not making the decision Monday, in all likelihood -- that's just when they're telling people.

That's me, though -- I think I'd rather err on the side of humanizing the process than passivity, but I've never worked in a hospital.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:31 PM on December 30, 2009

Best answer: Yes, that would look dumb (although I hasten to add that it seems to be an HR email address, and they surely get dumb emails all the time). Well and truly, it is essentially December 31, as it's past the close of business in 50% of the U.S. (you don't say where you are, but unless you're in Mountain or Pacific, people are going home). If the decision is being made on January 4, the decision is, in all likelihood, already made--evaluations are already in, resumes have been reviewed etc. All of those data will be collated on Monday (if they haven't been already) and the requisite people will sit around a table and say, "Well, it looks like we're calling A, B, C, and D in for interviews, as they got the highest evaluations and their credentials are the strongest."

I am sure your enthusiasm is quite apparent without the email. Speaking as someone who has been on the hiring side for what seems like a zillion rounds of interviews, these "I'm just checkin' in to say how excited I am about interviewing with you!" emails don't mean anything at a big organization. It might be a very different story at a two-person office, but at a big hospital, company, or firm, there are hiring procedures and it really is appreciated if you just follow instructions: Call if you have a question. Otherwise, we'll let you know.

Again, though, good luck.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:33 PM on December 30, 2009

It probably won't help to call just to pester them to hurry up. It's also not likely to kill your application.

If you can send them anything helpful about yourself that wouldn't be so bad. Do you have a portfolio of your work you can send them? Or anything else beyond your resume that they might actually want? Do you have any amazing references who are always happy to make a call on your behalf? Nothing wrong with offering those up front.

It's also not bad to say "Hey, I am going to be in your area next Tuesday at 2pm. I would be happy to drop by just to say hello."

This is my experience, though, in my field, which is more informal than most. I can't say for sure what will work for every employer in every field.

But DON'T automatically listen to the "don't be a pest" advice because time and time again I've seen people get things because they just had the gumption and charm to get their foot in the door somehow, chat people up successfully, and make an impression. Sitting back and waiting for the wheels of the system to grind your way is a great way to be overlooked. You MIGHT pester them if you call, but do you really think they'll shitcan your resume because of that? Doubtful.
posted by scarabic at 4:23 PM on December 30, 2009

You MIGHT pester them if you call, but do you really think they'll shitcan your resume because of that? Doubtful.

I used to be a recruiter. I've seen it happen. It's hard to explain how very easily tiny things tilt decisions one way or the other. I once had a client refuse to hire someone because she thought the resume was printed on unattractive paper.
posted by winna at 4:45 PM on December 30, 2009

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