How to Follow Up On Online Applications — A Case Study
With so many companies relying on online job applications, we wanted to know what our clients could do to increase their chances of getting an interview. We conducted a test to see what prospective job candidates could do to force a job interview. Research already shows that candidates have a better chance of landing the job if they land an interview.
A local Target retail store was aggressively looking for Part-Time cashiers. It was a seasonal position, but they had in-store advertising and even put printed flyers in customer bags.
We wanted two candidates with virtually the same chances. We found two college sophomores at a local university with similar amounts of retail experience. They were both enrolled to get a Bachelor of Arts in Business, but neither had finished any post-secondary school.
We picked two male candidates with similar enough names. We know that sometimes prejudice can stem from gender or someone’s perceived identity, so we make sure that our candidates had the most common of American names.
Both candidates went the same day to fill out their application at the store’s job application kiosk. The kiosk explicitly thanked the candidates for their application and said they’d be in touch. Also, that they shouldn’t contact the HR department.
Candidate A followed instructions and left the job application at that. Candidate B called the HR department using our line: “I’m so sorry to bother you. I just wanted to make sure you got my application. The computer glitched I wanted to make sure.”
Candidate A never hears back, not even in the form of a rejection. Candidate B gets two interviews and a job offer. The only perceivable difference was the phone call to HR.
We like this strategy because you’re not pestering HR departments, you’re following up. By making them look at your application, even just under the guise of checking that it went through, was enough.