Have you found yourself ghosted and frustrated, wondering, “Why haven’t I heard back about that job?” Join the club. According to iHire’s 2021 State of Online Recruiting Report, nearly half (48.8%) of job seekers said “not hearing back from employers” is one of their biggest job search challenges.
If we had a career crystal ball, we could tell you exactly why you aren’t hearing back from the employer after you have applied for a job or interviewed for a role – but unfortunately, mind-reading is not our area of expertise. So instead, we caught up with iHire’s Chief People Officer and resident career expert, Lisa Shuster, and asked her to shed some light on the subject.
“The worst thing you can do when you haven’t heard back from the employer is assuming that no news is bad news,” Shuster answered. “It can be a frustrating scenario to find yourself in, but you should consider all the potential reasons why you aren’t hearing back first, and then take action to stay top of mind.”
Is it them?
Most often, a lack of communication from the employer simply means that they’re overwhelmed. “Hiring people takes time, and often more time than expected. Though completely unacceptable, radio silence is not uncommon.”
Reasons employers don’t follow up with applicants may include any of the following: Other priorities have taken precedence (projects, vacation, etc.), the company is going through changes and the position is being modified or put on hold, or they are still on the hunt for the right candidate and haven’t had the time to follow up. There’s also the possibility that the employer is overwhelmed with resumes and does not have the means to get back to everyone in a timely manner.
So, try your best to stay patient, make sure your voicemail is properly set up, and check your email inbox frequently.
Is it you?
Worst-case scenario, your resume, cover letter, or pre-screening interview raised a red flag that leads the company to believe you might not be the best fit. Lisa suggests asking yourself, “Do I match all of the qualifications?” or “Is there something on my LinkedIn profile that doesn’t quite line up with my experience?” Try to look at everything through the lens of the employer and pinpoint areas that you could improve.
Already had your interview and still not hearing back? That’s the worst waiting game of them all. “Keep in mind that before extending an offer, many employers conduct checks into your background to verify past employers, positions, salary, education, and credentials along with a full criminal background check,” Lisa offered. Don’t forget to add in the potential social media presence check, and understand that this screening process can add up to several days or even a week to the hiring timeline.
Our advice is simple: Follow up. Wait one week after applying before calling or emailing the employer, and don’t do so more than twice in one week. Utilize an email template to make a solid first impression.
If you’re reaching out to a hiring manager via phone, prepare yourself with a script. Remember that regardless of the reason why you might not be hearing back, remain calm and professional. You don’t want to burn any bridges and ruin the chances of staying in the company’s talent pipeline.
Lisa left us with this: “Don’t assume the worst if you haven’t heard back from an interview yet. Consider the scenarios above, and read up on the latest interview tips and post-interview advice to further position yourself as a strong candidate.”