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Why haven't employers responded to my online application?

The Hiring Process


I don’t understand it. I’ve submitted 17 online applications this week, and I haven’t heard back from any of them. Employers are so rude! I’m very discouraged.


In the good old days of job search (roughly before 1990), we could walk into a business, pick up a paper application, fill it out, have an interview and be hired, all in the same day. Sadly, it doesn’t usually work that way anymore.

Nowadays, many employers are up to their eyeballs, literally, in résumés. They may receive over a hundred applications for a single job opening. They feel they don’t have time or staff to respond to that volume. So they just sweep it all into the recycling bin, except the ones they want to follow up on.

“Except the ones they want to follow up on.” That’s the key phrase. You want to be one of the ones they follow up on. But how?

The best way is to choose jobs for which you are well qualified. Look at the job description: do you have everything listed under “Qualifications” and “Requirements” and “The successful candidate will …”? If you don’t have everything, do you have most of it? Are the ones you lack very important?

Generally the employer will list the most important duties and qualifications first. The further down in the job lead you find an item, usually the less important it is.

Applying only for jobs you are well qualified for has another benefit. Employers will suddenly become more polite. You’ll start to feel better about yourself. You won’t become so discouraged, because employers will start calling you. You match the job openings they have available.

If you need some guidance in choosing jobs, you’ll be interested in FCWS’ seminar, Career Assessment. It’s online testing that evaluates your skills, your aptitudes (the things you’re naturally good at), and your interests. It can help narrow the field to find a job that will satisfy you. You can take it at the BEC; or you can ask the Resource Desk staff to email you a link to it, so you can take it whenever it’s convenient.

You may have noticed that this is a tough job market. There are lots more résumés where yours came from, sadly. You can do a mediocre job of applying for everything in sight, if you want. Or you can make better use of your time and effort by choosing jobs that match your skills, and researching companies to find the ones that will appreciate what you bring to the table.