Following up on job applications

Hi guys,

I have recently started actively applying for positions in Taiwan, and have also started distributing my CV to a few recruitment agencies based in Taiwan. I am looking for Business Analyst/Project Management type roles.

I haven’t had many responses, and am just wondering what would be deemed as a reasonable time to wait before following up with an employer/recruiter in Taiwan? In Australia, where I live currently, I would normally wait between 5-10 working days.

Also, I am applying from overseas (as I said, I currently live in Australia). Would you suggest following up again via email, or should I make the extra effort to call?

Finally, how would you rate my chances of getting a look in when applying from Australia? Do I have any chance, or should I really just get over to Taiwan, live off my savings for a little while & hope to land a position once I’m there?


I’ve come to the conclusion that if they don’t get back to you, they probably aren’t interested. That’s how it’s been for me applying for jobs in Taiwan and Japan. I really wish that they’d a least have the courtesy to tell me that they aren’t hiring me so I could get on with planning other things instead of waiting for a response.

If you are White (particularly with blonde hair and blue eyes), you could probably find an English-teaching position to live off of if you just make the jump and go over there.

I would go along with that. My experience of both direct application and recruitment agents in both the UK and over here is that when people are interested they get back to you (and quickly too!) and when they’re not, they don’t. This is just a simple fact of life. Yes, it would be lovely if they wrote you an email thanking you for your interest and explaing why you didn’t get the position but that takes time, and given the enormous volume of applications most jobs now get (thanks to the internet) that is often not possible even if they want to take the time. Just don’t take it pesonally when people don’t get back to you.

Never hurts to fire off a polite chase email after a week or two just to refresh their memory though.

Agree to that. I had the pleasure recently to put an ad online and we got hundreds of applications. I tried to be polite and thanked most of them and I even think I replied to at 60% of them if they weren’t considered at all but there were way too many and some, I simply forgot or thought I answered them.

oh, and one more thing. I think that if you think you are REALLY qualified for a position (and be honest now) then ALWAYS pick up the phone and call to make sure they got your CV. This puts you firmly in the frame and gives you a chance to explain why you are perfect for the job rather than hoping your CV/covering letter is illuminating enough. Agents in particular want to find the candidate(s) with the best obvious match for the job as quickly as possible as it means they are more likely to be placed (and the agent then gets paid) plus it makes them look good. Agents often may not understand the smaller/subtler differences between various technical/managerial discipllines in IT and if you make it easy for them (rather than expecting them to work out for themselves) then you’re ahead of the competition.

Good luck.

Thanks for the tips everyone!! I’ll keep trying, have had a couple of people get in touch with me lately, which has been nice.

Thanks again!


On average, I’d say my job ads would get about 150~200 applicants. There is simply no time to respond to them. And I may spend as little as 5~10 seconds on each applicant, mainly scanning for keywords and unusual skills. It’s so easy to apply for a job these days. With 104, you simply push a button to send your pre-made resume (whatever happened to coverletters?) to a bunch of potential positions. So when an applicant bothers to make contact a second time, it tells me right away that this person wants the job more than those 100 that didn’t. So I will probably spend up to a minute reading their resume that second time.

Same goes for those that are interviewed and never bother to follow up after the interview with a thank you note and an encouragement to get in touch. If you really want a job, you have to make it obvious.

Interesting post and made me think again about my attitude/approach to job applications Elburro.

I do generally follow up after most applications and certainly after interview but one of the challenges these days is that as so many companies use either agents or sites like 104 to manage the process it’s now often very hard to know how to contact the right people anyway. Agents drop you like a stone the minute they sense the client isn’t interested and sites like 104 put a massive impersonal barrier between recruiter and jobseeker. Even when agents are returning your calls they are usually playing their own games, playing both sides against each other to get the best commission.

I once said to someone who interviewed me to contact me if they had any further questions and they looked horrified and told me to go through the agent. I still got the job. Guess I should have heeded the warning signs as they ended up being an awful boss!

Anyway I’m rambling again.

I also appreciate the post, Elburro. I always write cover letters, and make it a point to send follow up thank you notes after interviews (if the interviewers don’t beat me to it). I try not to send too many notes asking about the application process afterwards, because in my mind it would be like an annoying kid asking “Are we there yet?”. Perhaps I was wrong and should be more proactive?

I always appreciate a proactive applicant, and a friend of mine who works in sales once said to me that how proactive an applicant is, may actually mean more to him than what the person’s resume says. They’ve demonstrated that they don’t give up, so they’re less likely to give up on chasing sales leads, and they really want the job. So they’ll put in an effort if they manage to get the job.

Finding people that bothers to put in an effort is getting harder and harder.

It goes both ways but I think it’s always best to look over eager than disinterested.

Understood, thank you for the tips. it is hard to find people that put forth effort, I suppose, but it’s also disheartening when you put forth effort and don’t get results, so people might wonder why it even pays to bother.

What’s the view of saying thanks, and asking the question “why” if one gets knocked back by an employer/recruiter? (Obviously phrasing it a little more tactfully)

Don’t bother asking why, just put your energy into something else. Mostly these things go to second interviews, at that stage you could do some of these things.