No Response to Your Job Application? Five Potential Reasons Why…

January 13, 2014

Job Search

job applicantJob seeking clients often ask me why they have not heard back from various employers after they have submitted their applications.  Although there is no “one size fits all” answer, in talking with hiring managers and human resource professionals, I have discovered some reasons.

1.     Staff reductions in human resource departments

Along with other industries, human resource departments have suffered staff reductions.  Many companies have not yet hired back staff to the levels that existed pre-recession.  This has led to a steady decline in the number of employers who respond to applications.

2.     Large response to job postings

The number of applicants for every position posted is still higher than what it likely was pre-recession.  Although the economy is steadily improving, it will take time to return to pre-recession figures.  It is not realistic to expect a generic, potentially auto-generated reply.

3.     Not yet reviewed

It is quite possible your application has not yet been reviewed.  For a variety of reasons, some positions take longer than others to fill.  Hearing back from one employer vs. another or from one position vs. another, even if you applied around the same time, should not cause concern.  Positions advertised may be placed on hold.  For instance, the interviewer may be out of the office for an extended period of time, or the department may be waiting for final approval to fund the opening.  Unfortunately there is no way of knowing what may be taking place.  Employers will seldom explain the issue.

4.     Your application did not make the cut

Are you underqualified or overqualified?  Do you meet the minimum requirements posted?  Did you tailor it to a specific position posted?  Does your application contain errors?  Were all directions followed?  Blank fields?  Spelling and/or grammatical errors?  Any significant gaps in employment not explained for?  Proofread the entire application  two times before submission.  Ask someone you trust to read the requirements and application procedure and then look over what you are planning to submit to make sure nothing was overlooked.

5.     Poor use of keywords

At most companies, applicant tracking system (ATS) software uses keywords to filter applications and/or resumes before they’re ever reviewed by human eyes.  In fact, approximately 100% of large companies scan for keywords, 80% of mid-size companies, and approximately 10% of small companies.  See my blog on keywords here for important tips on utilizing the right keywords.

As a job applicant in an economy that is still recovering from the recession, be mindful of the limited amount of time reviewers have.  Talk to other job seekers and learn about their experiences.  Likely you will be able to relate.  Continue your job search instead of waiting to hear back from an employer(s).  “Forget” about what you applied for.  Simply put it behind you.  If the job description does not state “no phone calls/emails”, you may consider contacting the hiring department no earlier than three weeks after submission to find out the status of your application. In conclusion, do your best not to take it personally if you haven’t heard back from an employer.


Andrea KillionAndrea Killion, MS, NCC, MCC
Careerful Counseling Services
Andrea specializes in assisting clients achieve rewarding employment. She works with adult clients from all industries and stages who are either unemployed or employed (or somewhere in between). Whether you are looking for work, trying to figure out what career to pursue, or unsure whether to stay in your current position, Andrea can assist you with these issues and more.

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One Comment on “No Response to Your Job Application? Five Potential Reasons Why…”

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