What to Do When You Don't Hear Back About Jobs

Rachel Ludwig
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We’ve all been there: you find a job that you’re excited about and qualified for, craft the perfect cover letter, polish up your resume, and send off your application. You wait and wait, but never hear back. Or perhaps you even got to the interview stage, but after what you thought was a fantastic interview, you never received a follow-up email or call. Waiting is one of the most difficult parts of the job search. As the candidate waiting to hear back, you never know if you’re still being considered or if you’ve been passed over for the role, but never received a formal rejection. This waiting is entirely normal and expected, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get tough over time. 

So, how can you handle this period of anticipation and what are the best ways to approach companies when you simply don’t hear back? Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to help you navigate the wait time between applying and hearing back:

Do be patient. Recruiters and hiring managers need time to go through many applications. As much as you’d love to hear back the next day or by the end of the week, it’s important to remember that your application might be one of several. 

Don’t keep checking your email. As tempting as it may be to continuously refresh your email while on the job hunt, give yourself time and space away from your inbox. Whether that’s spending some time with family or going for a walk, a watched inbox doesn’t necessarily yield a flood of job offers. Checking your email constantly can put you on edge, so take breaks when  you can. 

Do follow up when appropriate. It’s difficult to put a time stamp on when to follow up on an application, but there are a few different scenarios when it’s appropriate. For instance, if you had an interview with company X and they told you they’d get back to you “early in the week,” it’s appropriate to follow up at the end of that week if you haven’t heard back.

Don’t get frustrated. There’s a trend currently going around social media apps advising candidates to expose their recruiters if they don’t hear back after an interview. These videos instruct candidates to write to a recruiter’s manager saying, “I spoke with X recruiter on February 1st, but never heard back after our interview, even after I followed up. Is this normal for your company’s hiring process?”. Don’t burn this bridge! It is possible to respectfully and professionally express a lack of communication directly and privately to the recruiter who didn’t follow up with you, be sure to keep it strictly constructive. Going to a recruiter’s manager or posting a public, frustrated message on social media will likely reflect more poorly on you than on the recruiter. Even when it’s difficult, remember to always stay positive and accommodating while on the job hunt, as you never know what might affect your eligibility as a candidate down the road. 

Keep these ideas in mind as you continue the application process and encounter similar scenarios. Ultimately, as the candidate, it’s up to you to put your best foot forward, stay positive, and take mental health breaks as needed. The waiting game can be challenging but can also end up being well worth it. 


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  • Mark King
    Mark King

    Many time potential employers will tell the person that the person is perfect for the position, be glad to work with them in the future HOWEVER they have to pass the person on to HR for a" background check" that will only take a few days. In reality the person is being lied to from the start. The possible employer has no intention to hire the person & is just leading them on for whatever reason they may have. The person checks on how the "Background check" is coming a week or so later, The possible employers staff lets slip the position was filled by someone else AFTER the person checking was interviewed.

  • Chester J.
    Chester J.

    While most potential employers will feign ignorance or deny it, there is a lot of age based and other types of discrimination. It is so easy to discriminate against older, more experienced workers.

    Typically, most of the numbers do not even add up as far as the "requirements" for any given position. The group think for a lot of professional Human Resource groups is that a Masters Degree or even a PHD mean the candidate must be closer to an expert in the advertised field of study, yet this is not even remotely the case. It is so easy to state that any given candidate was not selected because the employer found a "more" suitable candidate or one which "aligned" better with their needs and the scope of the job requirements, yet in truth they counted the years of actual hands on experience and decided to go with a younger candidate.

    In the end, the more experienced person can only do as someone earlier commented, continue searching as yes, it is a numbers game. A lot of employers and hiring managers or the direct supervisors of the position being advertised do not even know what it is they are looking for in a candidate or for the position advertised, they just Googled the typical job requirements.

  • Kyle C.
    Kyle C.

    Employers receive hundreds of applications sometimes. You may think they looked you over but in reality they may not have even gotten to your application before making a decision. You may hear from them down the road because they try other for the position and it didn't work out so now it's your turn to interview. I realize that doesn't help you in the moment so the person who commented above is 100% correct. It's a numbers game as far as employers are concerned so you should treat the job hunt the same way. Have some flexibility in the job you're looking for and apply to every job that you can see yourself working at. Now your resume may be a problem too but it doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough so you can have someone look it over or even these job boards sometimes do free reviews, if you are lost when it comes to resumes. A free tip is to tailor your resume to each job you're applying for if you wanna go the extra mile. Good luck.

  • Allan B.
    Allan B.

    The way I deal with this, is to search for more jobs. If I have a half dozen jobs on the stove at the same time, it's not so bad if one or another doesn't work out. Try not to fall in love with any one job.

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