Why you sometimes don't hear back from recruiters? - 04/07/2020

It’s always frustrating when you put in blood, sweat, and tears into the process of hunting for your dream job only to be faced with the harsh reality of either never hearing back from companies, or getting the dreaded rejection email template.

If you’ve applied to a lot of jobs, you might have seen different variations of the same thing, but it always goes something like this <we think you’re great but we’re not moving ahead with your job application. Please apply again.>.

To understand why you might be getting rejected after just submitting your resume and/or cover letter, it’s important to go behind the scenes and understand how companies are reviewing your job application in the first place.

How companies are reviewing your resume After you submit your resumes, it typically lands in their ATS (Applicant Tracking System), a web platform for centralizing candidates’ data.

Once your resume lands in the ATS, there is a high chance a Technical Recruiter will be the first one to look at it (it’s not the case at Gemography). The average technical recruiter is typically involved in many many job openings across sometimes many departments (engineering, marketing, sales …).

This creates few problems, one, a typical recruiter might be reviewing close to 100 resumes per day, which means they need to decide very quickly. So even though you might be a great fit for the job, if your resume doesn’t have the right keywords or the exact years of experience, it’ll be quickly disqualified.

Also given the limited time allocated to onsite interviews at most companies, recruiters are sort of pressure to lean more towards only passing through candidates that look great on paper.

All of this is further amplified by the fact that the average recruiter doesn’t necessarily have a deep understanding of the intricacies of every role, again, given they are involved in multiple job roles across multiple departments.

So what can you do? If you never heard back, do follow up, either by email or directly to the recruiter on Linkedin or Twitter, maybe someone else from the recruiting team or via the company’s social media.

If you get rejected, ask for feedback to better understand why you got rejected and iterate on your resume, although I wouldn’t advise you to do it right away, as getting rejected is always an emotionally charged experience and it’s hard to see things clearly at that moment. Instead, write back to acknowledge their email, and reach out again asking for feedback a few days later.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your future coworkers or manager before you even apply, this should help you better understand the role and its details. Sometimes they can even review your resume and give you feedback.

I know this all might sound like a fantasy, but if you ask nicely, keep it short, precise, and respectful of their time, you’d be amazed at what you can achieve.

To recap

Things I’ll cover next

🙏 Big thank you to Oussama Zaki for reading drafts of this and providing impeccable feedback.