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No response to application: tips on what to do

Hardly anything more frustrates job seekers than not receiving an answer to their application. As if it wasn't nerve-wracking enough to formulate the cover letter, optimize the résumé and put all the time and effort into a convincing application portfolio. Response: nothing. Not even a rejection.

No question: Such behavior is grossly rude and disrespectful to applicants. The phenomenon even has a name derived from dating: ghosting. However, it is not always bad intent when employers leave applicants in the dark. We'll show what's behind it and give tips on what to do if you don't get an answer to your application. So asking is allowed - if you follow a few rules of the game ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

No feedback on the application? Cheek!

On average, companies need three to six weeks to view and select incoming application documents. Just because you did not receive an immediate answer to your application does not mean that your portfolio has already landed on the rejection pile.

Some companies take your time with the application rejection. Or do not even announce an intermediate result after a few weeks and ask for further patience. That is really rude, unprofessional to dubious. And it is a huge frustration for applicants. When we conducted a survey among our readers about what annoys or annoys them most in the application process, it came out ...

No feedback: the worst thing employers can do

What annoys applicants most (1800 career Bible readers surveyed):

  • Never hear anything again after applying (23.5%).
  • Nobody says honestly why the application failed (18.1%).
  • No feedback received after the interview (13.4%).
  • Rejection received, after which the position will be advertised again (10.1%).
  • Fake job ads that have long been filled internally (9.3%).
  • Complicated application forms and portals (6.4%).
  • Impossible requirements to be met (6.2%).
  • Getting asked stupid questions in the job interview (4.9%).
  • Rejection due to overqualification received (4.3%).
  • Stress questions in the job interview (3.6%).

In fact, applicants should think twicewhether you want to work for a company that treats its applicants in this way. That doesn't speak for the HR department alone. No answer is also an answer. Candidates should therefore understand ghosting as a warning signal and research on the Internet what other applicants or ex-employees say about the employer - on Twitter, on Facebook, in employer rating portals. It is not uncommon for a chic employer image to get a few clear scratches.

No answer to the application: what's behind it?

However, a long waiting time does not necessarily have to do with negligence or even bad will. There can also be objective reasons why you have not yet (!) Received a notification:

Why you have not received an answer to your application

  • More applicants have registered than expected.
  • The selection of candidates is taking longer than planned.
  • An important decision maker is sick or on vacation.
  • The company is changing, the position is being restructured.
  • The business situation has deteriorated. Internally, the occupation is on the brink.
  • Unfortunately, you are the second choice. But you want to wait for the decision of the first candidate.

Additionally, you should make sure that you really haven't received any notification. Sometimes such emails from unknown senders end up in the spam folder.

Are your documents correct?

You should also check whether the information you provided in the documents was correct and whether a typo or incorrectly slipped a letter or number into your e-mail or telephone number. That would be annoying, but of course not the company's mistake. On the other hand, personnel decision-makers tell us again and again about typical application errors by candidates, which can also ensure that applications become misleading:

  • Incomplete application documents
  • Application deadline not met
  • Wrong subject, thus wrong assignment
  • Totally inadequate qualifications

Don't get us wrong: From the employer's point of view, these are valid reasons and explanations. However, they are no excuse for ignoring an application. Anyone who advertises and hires jobs must expect all kinds of applications (including naughty ones) and should react appropriately to the interest shown:

  • With a short e-mail about the receipt of your application.
  • With an intermediate result.
  • With a friendly refusal.
  • Or the invitation to an interview.

No response to application: what can you do?

But what to do if the employer of your choice does not contact you at all? Quite simply: ask. There is, however, a fine line between being appropriately interested and being intrusive. Such a demand requires a sure instinct. You don't want to appear pushy or desperate. It is absolutely understandable that applicants want to know what is happening with their application. Whether they get the job or not.

On the other hand, there is often a HR manager who drowns in work and has to stick to processes that he did not come up with himself. That's why pressure is the least helpful here. All the more empathy and the right tactics win.

General tips for following up

  • Select channel
    If you ask, stay formal. Short messages via SMS or Whatsapp are a no-go. This also applies to public comments on social media. Aside from data protection, you're dragging the company into some kind of arena. Public pressure arises that doesn't exactly make you as an applicant more personable. The perfect channels are therefore: telephone or e-mail. Ideally in that order. Much can be clarified more friendly on the phone than in writing.
  • Remain polite
    When you ask for the first time, please do not fall in the house: "I just wanted to ask if my application was received ...". It is, 99 percent of the time. Hence: stupid question. The indirect way is more charming and more successful: You get in touch and confirm your interest in the position: “The past weeks and reports in the media (perhaps with an example) have once again confirmed my desire to work for this company. I know that you (as an HR manager) have a lot on your mind, but can you give an intermediate result?
  • Mention alternatives
    The more you push, the more desperate it feels. Arguing against alternatives is a dangerous game of poker. Often it is simply made up, at least that's what the HR manager will assume. To make it less of a bluff, you should neither exaggerate (“I have five other offers on the table!”), Appear arrogant or blackmailing, motto: “If you don't get in touch within two days, I'll be gone!” Another tenor works better: You would still like to work there, but you are increasingly finding yourself needing to make decisions. You don't want to exert pressure or appear obtrusive, but a brief feedback would help you make a decision ...

Inquiries by phone: tips for applicants

It is less a question of whether you ask by email or phone, but more a question of the right timing. Even the HR managers think so themselves. According to a survey by HR consultancy Robert Half, only around six percent of HR managers said they would understand if applicants call after three days to inquire about the status of their application. The majority (around 25 percent) considered a waiting period of six to seven days to be appropriate. Only six percent said they did not want any calls from applicants at all.

So give the companies enough time for internal processes. Two weeks after sending the application should have passed. Or at least 15 working days. If there are holidays a little longer in between. After this deadline, you can ask politely on the phone and inquire about the interim status. For this, you should prepare yourself and have the most important notes at hand. This is important so that you don't get confused if you have applied for more than one position. The tips for this:

  • Look for the job advertisement again.
  • Make a note of the exact job title and - if available - the code number for the job offer.
  • Find or research the phone number and name of the contact person.
  • Find a quiet place where you can make phone calls undisturbed (no background noise!).
  • Introduce yourself by name and explain your concerns in two or three sentences.
  • Always stay friendly - even if the person you are talking to does not have time. Ask for an alternative appointment.
  • At the end, say thank you and say goodbye politely. Just mention the name of the recruiter again (seems more binding).

Formulations to follow up on the phone

  • "Hello Ms./Mr. _____, I just wanted to inquire whether you have received my application documents? Two weeks ago I applied to you for the position as _____, reference number _____. Is everything complete, are you missing something? "
  • "Hello, Ms. / Mr. _____, I am aware that you have a lot of work. So I don't want to hold you back long. Two weeks ago I applied to you for the position as _____, reference number _____. Could you briefly tell me something about the intermediate status of the application process? "

Little trick: smile during the call, even if nobody sees you. The smile has been shown to activate areas in the brain that automatically help to create a friendlier tone and make you more personable.

If you do not receive the required information over the phone or if you cannot hear anything after a call, you can contact the company again. This time, kindly by email - and remind you that you are still waiting for an answer.

As a rule of thumb, you can remember:

The smaller the company, the sooner you can get in touch. In larger companies and corporations, the number of applicants is usually significantly higher. That increases the effort, and it also takes more time. Therefore, please do not ask immediately by e-mail, as this may only make the HR manager more work.

Inquiries by email: tips for applicants

In the end, you formulate by e-mail in a similar way to the telephone, except that you should write information such as the job title and the code number in the subject line or in the text, while you can respond immediately to inquiries over the phone:

  • "Hello Ms. / Mr. _____, on DD.MM.YYYY I applied for your position as a clerk for office management, reference number _____. Since I have not yet received any feedback or confirmation of receipt, I would like to follow up briefly and make sure that you have received all the necessary documents. Please let me know if any information is missing or if I can provide any support. Thank you for your effort and I remain with best regards "
  • "Dear Ms. / dear Mr. _____, thank you very much for your kind confirmation of receipt dated DD.MM.YYYY. You have certainly received many applications for this first-class position, which have to be evaluated in a correspondingly time-consuming manner. Since I am still interested in the position as _____, I would like to take this opportunity to find out by what point in time I can expect your answer. I would be happy to receive positive feedback soon. Thank you for your effort and I remain with best regards "

However, please always avoid a reproachful undertone in your wording. Motto: "I sent you my application four weeks ago and still haven't received an answer!" Even if a lot of frustration and anger has built up in the past few weeks: Emotional reactions or inquiries are neither effective nor do they improve your own application chances .

No response to application: 2 final options

However, it does happen that companies do not respond or do not give a response to the application even after renewed inquiries. In that case, however, you should never give the impression of desperation. That only makes you small. And that never looks attractive to potential employers. So please no formulations like: “But you wanted to let us know by _____? If the position is already filled, do you have something similar? How high do you rate my chances? ”Instead, you have two final options:

  1. Check off
    Anyone who absolutely does not report has disqualified himself. OK then! So you don't have to find out what makes the employer really tick during the probationary period. Check off the job and the company. There are more than 6 million companies in Germany. There are enough alternatives below.
  2. Apply further
    Regardless of whether and when you receive feedback: Please never stop applying. To bet everything on one card would be foolish. Even after a (from your point of view) good interview, you should go ahead and accept invitations to job interviews. First, because that way you keep the initiative. Second, because you increase your chances of getting a job.
[Photo credit: Karrierebibel.de]

Further sources and advice
Application tips
➠ Application templates
➠ 11 application forms
➠ ABC of application tips
➠ Application folder
➠ Application photo
➠ cover sheet
➠ Brief profile

Tips on the résumé
➠ CV in tabular form
➠ Resume templates
➠ Internships on the résumé
➠ hobbies on the resume
➠ Unemployment on the résumé
➠ gaps in the résumé

Tips for covering letters
➠ Cover letter
➠ Introductory sentence in the cover letter
➠ Final sentence in the cover letter
➠ Interests in the cover letter
➠ Strengths in the cover letter
➠ Attachment directory

Tips on the job reference
➠ Assess job reference
➠ Secret codes in the certificate
➠ Interim report
➠ Job description
➠ References & samples

Special applications
➠ Unsolicited application
➠ Internal application
➠ Discreet application
➠ Email application
➠ Online application
➠ Application as a temporary worker
➠ Application for mini jobs
➠ Application after termination