You’ve seen your dream job advertised. You start preparing for your job application.


You’ve spent days working on your resume, checking it once, checking it again, reading it out loud and you asked a friend to read it too.

Same goes for your cover letter. You’ve laboured over it. You’ve answered every single criteria in the job advertisement with clarity and given concise examples. You’re confident your application is the best it can possibly be.

Then, with equal measures of anxiety and satisfaction, you hit SUBMIT and send your carefully crafted application off into cyberspace, hanging on the hope that you’ll be the one who gets the golden ticket … that you’ll be selected to come in for an interview, and they’ll tell you they just knew you were the perfect candidate for the job when they first read your resume.

And then … nothing. Nada. Zip. Nothing. The recruiter did not call back.

Just when did it become OK for employers and recruiters NOT to respond with any sort of acknowledgement of a job application?

“Too many applicants” just doesn’t wash with me. Applicant tracking software is now used by around 80% of organisations in Australia and they can be set up to deliver automated responses. SEEK even has a built-in email response mechanism so that an email can be sent to every single applicant for a role. When someone applies for a job, no matter how much effort they put into it, at the very least, every application should be acknowledged, even if only to say “Thanks, we got it.  If you don’t hear back from us, it’s because we’re not progressing with your application.”

Is it asking too much? Or have we got it completely wrong?

Maybe job applicants HAVE got it wrong … Did you contact the recruiter to find out more about the job before you sent your application in? Did you ask the right questions? Did you find out the name of the person you should address your application to, and then use it in your cover letter? Did you ask what the next steps were? Did you ask when you should expect to hear from the recruiter?

Recruitment is a two-way street – and both sides need to make an effort.

What’s your experience with recruiters who don’t call back? What steps did you take to make sure they did?


(updated 2021)

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