Why haven’t they called? The importance of asking for feedback

Why Haven't they called? The importance of asking for feedback?

So, you feel like you’ve finally found your dream job. Perfect location, great salary, excellent promotion prospects.

You spend a few essential hours prepping your CV, carefully crafting your cover letter and then excitedly clicking the apply button, full of anticipation, quietly confident that the attraction will be mutual.

And then nothing. The next week is spent with your phone on loud, frantically checking your reception and trying to come up with a reasonable explanation. All you want to know is why.

Whether this seems reminiscent of your own experience, or you’ve actually made it through to the interview stage before everything goes quiet, it can be a disheartening moment for any jobseeker not to hear back from a recruiter.


The most frustrating thing about looking for a job… 

Let’s face it, not hearing back from recruiters definitely ranks as one of the most annoying parts of jobseeking.

We spoke to a group of university students to find out what else frustrates them about looking for a job…


Why haven’t they called?

 So, why haven’t they called? Here are a few of the reasons we’ve experienced, and our number one tip for what you should do about it:

1. They’re playing the field

However despondent you feel right now, remember: recruiters will rarely be in a position to get back to a candidate straight away, no matter how many boxes they tick.

They might really like you, but they’ll probably want to assess all the applicants before reaching out to potential interviewees. So, if it’s been a few days, or even a week or two, try and relax. It can take recruiters anywhere from a few days to over a month to respond to your applications.

2. They’re too busy to commit

It’s always important to put things into perspective.

Many hiring managers will have extremely busy schedules and could be looking to fill many positions at once, with hundreds of applicants to sort through for each vacancy. With this in mind, they might not even have reached your application yet, let alone started getting back to people.

Or, in contrast, recruitment might not be their only job, something which is especially applicable for smaller companies. If this is the case, there may be other pieces of work taking precedence over the hiring process.

So, remain patient and try not to panic.

3. They’re just not that into you

Sure, you seemed like the perfect fit for the job in your eyes, but unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out.

There are plenty more fish in the sea as they say (and by fish, we mean recruiters), and many that are already looking for exactly what you have to offer.

Take every application and interview as a learning experience and a sign that, no matter how prepared you may think you are, you can always make improvements. So, whether it’s checking the job description/requirements more closely, getting someone to proofread your CV and cover letter or just tailoring yourself more closely to the position, be sure to take something from the experience.

4. They love you, but they’re not in love with you

The recruiter may have liked your personality and generally liked your CV. Unfortunately, though, this might not always be enough. If you didn’t do enough to set yourself apart from the other applicants, then you probably won’t be offered the job, and, unfortunately, in some cases, you may not even be contacted.

However, you don’t have to suffer in silence. There’s a simple way to learn from your mistakes and move on: you just have to ask.

So, what should I do?

Whatever the reason, the worst thing you can do in this situation is nothing at all.

Finding an explanation can often be as simple as calling the organisation in question and politely enquire as to whether your application/interview has been successful. Not only will you put your own mind at rest, but you’ll also be able to take their constructive criticism on board and improve your chances of success for subsequent situations.

Although not all recruiters will be able to give you individual feedback (especially after 100+ applications), a surprising number of them will give you a little time to help.

Remember: if you don’t ask, you won’t know.

Final thoughts

Employers are under no obligation to get in touch with each candidate who makes an application. But you can demonstrate your pro-activity and desire to succeed by taking the initiative and getting in touch to find out more yourself.

You might be making a very simple mistake which can be quickly rectified.

So, rather than spending your valuable time sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring, or leaving your errors up to conjecture, take your future into your own hands. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Do you ever ask for feedback after an application or interview? Let us know below, or tell us on twitter @reedcouk

16 comments on “Why haven’t they called? The importance of asking for feedback

  1. Jackie - November 8, 2016 at 21:03

    These are great tips, although in my recent experience it’s rare that I receive any response to a follow up email. It’s still worth doing though, for peace of mind that I am being as proactive as I can be!

  2. STOP MOANING - December 18, 2016 at 17:28

    Some are just to lazy and rude to reply to let you no the outcome if you have not got the job
    standard Generic template Reply is at least some form of courtesy

    1. Scott Willders - April 14, 2017 at 18:23

      I get the “you don’t have the relevant experience and skills” copy and paste reply when I do, they just get so many applications they cannot tailor feedback for every single one. Depending on what the job is, the number of applications can number in the hundreds

  3. Cas - January 23, 2017 at 17:08

    The honest truth is 99 times out of 100, companies don’t want to be contacted. Every time I’ve been pro-active, a “no” comes back within 24 hours. I think it’s all down to “culture, fit” and point number 4 is the truth…..

  4. Katherine Ansell - March 1, 2017 at 16:20

    Alternately you could just turn up for the role, no news is good news therefore they must have given you the job.

  5. disqus_OhVoIU2mgo - March 6, 2017 at 18:43

    I have been trying for a job December 7 2016 no response from any body. it makes me die when its says we need people to start ASAP joke. its not we don’t want to work no body replies ha ha taking the piss

  6. David Craddock - March 19, 2017 at 13:49

    Whilst employers cannot overtly discriminate on grounds of age, they often do.
    ie. The older candidate may not be seen as a ”good fit” for the young energetic vibrant team that is currently in place! Forget years of experience available at a knock down salary!

    1. Scott Willders - April 14, 2017 at 18:24

      theres a famous story about that where a retired software engineer for apple was rejected for an ‘apple genius’ position in one of their stores.

  7. Stuart Irons - March 30, 2017 at 08:48

    the last time that i was looking for the perfect job employment with the firm not agency, when the group interview was finished they said no. but i think that my face didn’t fit or that i was to much over qualified. When i was there with agency, the person who was there training me wasn’t that experienced with the scanning guns and he couldn’t be bothered to train me up on the scanners, coz i didn’t speak there language

    1. Karen Hedges - February 21, 2019 at 09:47

      Too many spelling errors, maybe? too not to overqualified.. their not there language

  8. Pedro Ferreira - April 1, 2017 at 21:40

    Some employees don’t like to give actual feedback according to people like Chris Dodd…

  9. Julian Waldemar-Brown - May 19, 2017 at 10:09

    There are many different recruiting cultures out there. I totally agree, get on the phone and ask. Although I haven’t got my dream job yet, I know I’m still under consideration for one role even though the timelines are stretching every week – its now been a month since the first interview but I’m still in the game – they have numerous roles to fill and its just taking time. I applied for a role with a global online sales and distribution company and got the standard auto reply “its not our policy to provide feedback on why you were not selected…” so I replied and said I assumed it was my age (47)! I got a full response within 24 hours!!

  10. Stuart Banks - August 7, 2017 at 20:55

    Their favorite reply seems to be: “Unfortunately you did not have the work experience and qualities of other candidates which we consider are a better match for this job opportunity, however we would like to keep your C.V. on file should a more suitable job opportunity occur in the future which you feel encouraged to make an application”. Total nonsense, totally unhelpful, especially when you need to get a job.

    1. Thilan Angampala Gedara - September 28, 2020 at 20:04

      true.Most of them are not giving feedback why I not selected to the post

  11. Alice Nsami Anim - January 9, 2019 at 08:06

    I agree with Cas

  12. LondonChris - July 1, 2019 at 10:15

    The big problem I have found is that at 63 looking for a job with a wealth of experience is that they cannot tell you the real reason they do not wish to proceed is that I am too old as of course this would be illegal. Illegal or not ageism is VERY alive and well in the workplace, almost impossible to prove but out there none the less.