What To Do When You Haven’t Heard Back from a Job Application

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Applying to roles and not receiving responses can be demotivating during the job search. Here’s our advice for what to do if you find yourself in this situation…

You’ve followed an application process all the way through – scouring the listing for all the key skills and qualifications needed, tailoring your CV and cover letter to the specification, before sending it off with a full list of contact information. But sadly, you’ve heard nothing back.

If you find yourself in this position, then give our advice below a read. From the reasons you might not have heard back to what you can do about it at different stages – our guide below can help turn a demotivating situation into new-found motivation for your job search.

Reasons why you might not have heard back from a job application

There can be several reasons why an employer hasn’t responded to your job application. From issues on your end to oversights on theirs – it can be good to know the reasons behind their radio silence.

Below, we’ll go through some of the most common reasons you may not have heard back.

You’re not qualified

While you might feel adequately qualified for a position, that doesn’t necessarily mean the employer will agree. Whether you lack experience, knowledge, or the key skills they’re after – they’re going to pick the best candidates to move forward with based on their own set of criteria.

Unfortunately, this won’t always be you. In this case, their silence could be because they’ve moved onto the next stage or because they’re drafting rejection emails or call scripts.

They don’t have time to respond to high volumes of applications

Some employers will receive hundreds – if not thousands – of applications for one job listing. Regardless of whether they’re hiring for one job or multiple roles at the same time – it can sometimes be impossible to respond to everyone.

Although this can be disappointing, they’ll usually provide a disclaimer on the listing saying: Due to high volumes of applications, we won’t be able to respond to every candidate. If we haven’t contacted you by [insert date], we are sorry to say that your application has been unsuccessful.


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The application was submitted incorrectly

We’re all human, and making mistakes is part of life.

So, you might’ve missed a line asking applicants to send a CV through an online portal rather than via email. This one is usually a quick fix if you’re still within the allotted application time window.

Ensure you thoroughly check back over the listing to see if you’ve missed out on any key instructions while submitting your job application.

They hired internally/went with a recommended candidate

Some companies will see you as an out-of-the-box candidate if you don’t come as a recommendation or haven’t previously worked there.

Having any type of personal or professional connection can be a huge advantage in the hiring process and can help get your CV bumped up to the top of the pile. Sometimes it’s just completely out of your control though -– like when a company promotes from within or hires from another department.

What are your options if you aren’t getting responses?

Regardless of the reason, not receiving a response after spending time crafting the perfect application can be disheartening. However, all isn’t lost.

Depending on several factors, you still have some options left to try before moving on.

Take things step by step with our advice below…

Take time to assess the situation

Your options will vary based on how long you’ve waited with no response.

If it’s only been a few days, then you should give it more time. You can also check the listing (if it’s still up) to see the closing date for applications. The review process usually won’t begin until after this date, so it’s best to seek this out before doing anything else.

Appearing keen is usually never a bad thing, although ignoring information on the original listing can make you appear careless and shows a lack of attention to detail, so be careful!


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Follow up

Remember, no news isn’t always bad news.

Just because you haven’t heard back by the time you expected to, doesn’t mean that your application isn’t still being considered.

After waiting around a week beyond the application closing date or an amount of time specified by them in any correspondence, you can write a follow-up email or call to find out more information. Ask any questions you have while maintaining professionalism and politeness – getting these two qualities across can make a huge difference.

A successful follow-up email could earn some constructive feedback to take on board at the very least. And in some cases, it could show hiring managers that you’re keen on the role, prompting them to take another look over your application.

For more information, check out our advice for crafting the perfect follow-up.

If your follow-up email is ignored, then it might be time to move on.

Ask for feedback

Grab any opportunity for feedback with both hands. Whether it’s good or bad – you can learn so much, and it shows any employer that you’re highly engaged in the job search.

Even when you receive a disappointing rejection, find out why. While it might be disheartening at the time, it can help you grow and become a better candidate in the future.


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Change it up

Gained some constructive feedback? Great – use it to your advantage on your next application.

If the employer mentioned that they didn’t move forward with your application because your qualifications didn’t meet their requirements, then conduct some research into how you can change that.

For example, if they’ve said that your CV doesn’t convey enough personality, try to incorporate some hobbies and interests into yours.

Feedback can help you improve every part of your application for next time, but it must be acted on first.

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