The hiring process can often be slow and painful. You are often left wondering where you stand, what the next steps are, and if and when should you follow-up. Because each company has a different hiring process, it is critical that you ask certain questions to help keep your job search moving along.

What is the next step in your hiring process?

Why is this question important? As each company is different, their next steps are too. This could be an email, a phone call, another several rounds of interviews, testing, and more. By understanding this process, you will be able to navigate the process much better.

When can I expect to hear about this position?

Why is this question important? While this answer might not always be 100% correct (as there a lot of factors that can derail this timeline) it allows you an opportunity to follow up without being inappropriate or to aggressive with the recruiter/hiring manager.  Just be sure to wait a day or two AFTER the date they start to follow up.

Who should I stay in touch with and how should I contact them?

Why is this question important? During the hiring process, you could easily meet 5-10 people. Between the recruiter, HR Managers, your potential boss, coworkers, and leadership, it can get a little murky about who in the process is your official contact. Typically, there is one person who will be the “point person” for the position and you should be sure to get their business card or contact information and preferred method of contact.

Without knowing the answers to these questions, you can make the fatal mistake of following up too often or too aggressively. While a company should respect your time and effort in the job search, just remember that there is a lot going on that you might not be aware of. If you have followed up with the company after the expected date and got no solid answers, move on. Being too aggressive or following up too much can create the perception that you are difficult to work with.