Why don’t they call?

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There’s nothing worse than waiting for a call back after an interview or sending an application and even worse when the call never comes



13 October 2009

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One of the biggest frustrations we find with job seekers is that they regularly do not receive communication from a prospective employer or employment agency to which they have applied or indeed for which they have interviewed.

People are constantly asking me ‘why don’t employers or agencies come back to me?’

There is no worse confidence killer than rejection, but not knowing how an interview went or the response to an application can be equally detrimental to your confidence. And if you’re living in hope, chances are you will die in despair. You immediately wonder if you did something wrong and that’s why you didn’t get what you wanted with regards to a response or feedback.

Rejection is not easy to take and job seeking requires an amount of belief in one’s own ability, as well as the confidence to carry an interview. When job seeking, you make a list of your best qualities (your CV), send it to employers, get dressed up to impress them in an interview, and then wait and wait some more, and the phone never rings.

Alternatively, you spend time working on a fantastic CV, send it out with a professional cover letter and again you wait and wait, but no reply. You might start to think, ‘Is it me or them?’ I can categorically say in the case of applications it is not you, it’s them!

Job seekers want to know why they can seemingly do everything right and, yet, still don’t hear back from employers. We’re not talking about getting turned down for the job, we’re talking about not even hearing a “Sorry, but the position has been filled.” There are a number of reasons.

Have to hit the ground running

As the market contracted in early 2008, agencies were flooded with CVs. Application rates went through the roof and as an industry we had to change the way we did business, moving from an employee-driven market, where you were completely focused on sourcing as many candidates for jobs as possible, to a job driven market where companies needed people to hit the ground running with the jobs available.  

Neither agencies nor employers had the capacity to deal with the volume of applications. Employers, in the main, became very specific about skill set and experience, demanding that candidates hit the ground running. In a recession, there seemed to be no time for training and particularly in FMCG and retail, a much tougher trading environment presented itself and candidates needed to be able to cope with this from day one.

For a job seeker, the application process is full of anxiety and excitement. When you’re looking for a job, each available position represents a possible new beginning. Before you’ve submitted an application, you’ve already daydreamed about your first day on the job. The problem is that to some employers, you’re just one in a dozen. Or in some cases, one in 100.

In most companies, recruiters and human resources simply didn’t have the time to reply to each CV. In our organisation 5% of the applications we receive are from candidates with the specific experience required for our roles. That is a lot of application to reject.

The ‘no reply’ policy

To many job seekers this attitude may sound cold and impersonal. After all, behind each of these applications is a person waiting for a return call. We made our advertising very specific and did our best to explain to people the experience that was required.

How about the applications that miss the mark completely? Unfortunately this is a regular occurrence. Some candidates just apply for everything and companies generally don’t have the time to reply. Our policy is not to reply.

Will this change? Yes. Companies are getting more adapt at dealing with applications professionally and job seekers are moving through the learning curve themselves, learning how best to illicit feedback both at application and interview stage.
You’re always free to call an employer to check on the status of your application or to see if the position has been filled. As long as you are courteous and don’t pester them, most companies will let you know one way or the other.



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