When you are awaiting an answer on a job application, it can be challenging to be patient. It can be even more difficult if you've already had an interview or the company has otherwise expressed interest in hiring you. However, you also don't want to come across as pushy and cause a potential employer to withdraw its interest in your services. However, there are a few professional ways in which you can inquire about a job application without jeopardising a possible job opportunity.
Send a thank-you note immediately after the interview. Not only is this very professional and helps you to stand out from the other candidates, but also it also gives the employer a reason to contact you. More often than not, they will send a thank-you letter or e-mail in response to yours and it will include something along the lines of "We are looking at all applications and plan to make a decision in XXX days," or something similar.
Call the human resources department. In your most professional voice, explain that you are calling to check on the status of an application. While it may seem tempting to call repeatedly, call just once. If a job wants to hire you, there won't be a need to call more than that. Calling once makes you look persistent; calling repeatedly makes you look pesky. Inquire about your application and then wait for the employer to call you back.
Send an e-mail asking about application status. You can send this to human resources or to the person that interviewed you. It should short, simple and very professional. Simply state that you are still very interested in the position and were inquiring as to the status of the application. Ask if there is a time frame in place on the hiring process. Then, provide your contact information and end the letter with the appropriate closing salutation. You can also send a formal letter with this same information, though e-mail is a faster way to get it to the employer and get a return response.
Cease communication if you haven't heard back after a reasonable amount of time. Companies are quick to communicate with those they want to hire, but slower to communicate with those they do not. Letters saying you didn't get the job will find you long after you already came to this conclusion. If you didn't get the position, no amount of follow up will change that, so once you've exhausted attempts at communication, it is time to move on a new job search.