Top reasons why you don’t get a response from a job application

Let’s face it, we all have that one job we find that seems to be the perfect match. You’ve already seen tens and maybe hundreds of job postings and this was one like no other. You get excited and submit the resume which you are certain will catch the eyes of the recruiter. You wait. Then wait some more. You stay close to your phone for fear of missing the phone call and keep refreshing your e-mail as well as junk box.


Days turn to weeks and finally a month goes by, hope fades by the day and turns to anger.

You ask yourself, “but why!” You were perfect for the job. You matched perfectly and had direct experience with the job requirements. What went wrong?

There are many reasons why you may get the cold shoulder. Most of the time it is the, “it’s not you” explanation. In my 15 years as IT manager, below are some of the reasons which I have observed on why you don’t hear back from a company on your job applications.

As a hiring manager, before a resume gets to my dashboard, it has to go through the ATS (application tracking system), usually Taleo. Then it goes through the recruiter which varies greatly depending on their competency and / or availability. For each vacancy, the system can receive anywhere from 100-200 applications. Each recruiter can be handling 10-20 openings. I’m not justifying it but expecting individualized rejection emails or updates is virtually impossible.

From here, the hiring manager gets 10 applicants at a time. I like reviewing more resumes so I usually ask for 30. As far as I know, the applicant will receive a notice that they are no longer considered only when I change the status to rejected and a reason for rejection. I know a lot of managers simply leave them as in progress even though they moved forward with a candidate. Depending on how they set up the ATS, it may not send any notification.

Unfortunately, there will be instance where a posting is made internally and externally even though there is one or more strong internal candidates. This is frustrating as applicants may find an ideal position, put in time to tailor their resume, write a CV but hear nothing. The recruiter and hiring manager may even schedule a phone interview or schedule an in-person interview. Personally, I would never schedule an in-person interview when I have strong candidates in my pool. If there is a small chance an external candidate may beat out my internal candidates, I may schedule a phone call.

At the end of the day, you don’t know which vacancies are open for external candidates. You’ll have to treat each application the same but focus on vacancies that highly match your skills and experience.

Another, take away is don’t blast out your resume. Quality matters. Make sure you apply for positions that match your qualifications and experience. Pay attention to the questions when applying for the job and your application will be flagged as a high match for the recruiter. Do a good job matching your top skills with the job description and the recruiter will pass you onward to the hiring manager.