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People often wonder why they never hear anything back after they hit ‘send’ on the email with a resume attached or on the on-line job application. If you’re very lucky, you might have a preliminary email exchange with a recruiter and then never hear from them again. It’s a depressing experience, and one which also casts a shadow on the hiring company’s reputation. So why does it happen? Is it you, is it them, or is it just something every candidate must prepare for in the hiring process?
There’s no question job seekers face an uphill climb. High unemployment nationally means more competition for every position; according to a January 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal,Starbucks “… attracted 7.6 million job applicants over the past 12 months for about 65,000 corporate and retail job openings…”
An oft-cited recruiter’s complaint is that as many as 50 percent of people applying for a given job simply aren’t qualified. Adding to the challenge, most large companies – and many smaller ones – use talent-management software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50 percent of applicants before a human even looks at a resume or cover letter. The deck is definitely stacked against the job seeker. So how do you break through?
Here are my top 5 reasons you’re not hearing back after applying for a job, with five suggestions for ways to avoid the Resume Black Hole.
Why You Never Hear Back:
It’s hard to game the system. Your best bet is still a personal referral, and even that may not be enough to get a call. A guy I know gave his resume to a woman who worked at a company where a good job had been posted. He received an automated email noting his resume had been received but never heard another word. After a month he asked his friend to check with the recruiter. It turned out the job description had changed, but the recruiter never bothered to let the referring employee – or the applicant – know. This isn’t unusual, unfortunately. So what can you do?
How You Can Get Noticed:
Finding a job is tough, no question. I’ve talked to other recruiters who say they only respond to 30 percent of applicants. The odds are good you’ll be in the 60+ percent who hears nothing a lot of the time. Don’t take it personally – it’s not a rejection of you, it’s a reflection of the times. If you don’t hear back, know you’re not alone.