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Why Employer's Do Not Respond to a Resume

Updated on March 5, 2009

Many people send out resume after resume and wonder why they never hear back. There are many good reasons for this and some of them are:

Your resume is not good enough. You need to make sure you have a strong resume that clearly shows off your skills and abilities. Make sure your resume doesn’t have spelling or grammatical mistakes. A high percentage of resumes recruiters receive have those, and many recruiters and hiring managers see these minor errors as a major turnoff. Even if you are the most skilled for the job, an error will either remove you from the selection or at lower levels.

Are you qualified for the job you applied for?

The recruiters are swamped and don’t have enough time in a day to get back to everyone. Consider that one job alone can received hundreds of responses within the first few days. This includes very professional white collar positions.

Where you live is also a real factor. If you live outside what the employer or recruiter considers to be a "commuting distance", your resume, even if you are the best, may be bypassed. Why? Economics. Hiring the ideal candidate that has to commute one hour one way or more may indicate trouble as time goes on. Many employers simply can find more local candidates for the job and not have to deal with someone who maybe needs to spend a night or two in a hotel a week ease his commute. It also works against productivity. For instance, if you have an ideal job that you are qualified for but are 80 miles away one way, odds are that both the employer and recruiter may pass on you, reluctantly, even if you assure them than this commute is NOT an issue. They know from past experience problems will come. Either the person finds a job closer to home or job performance due to fatigue. For the applicant, the only way around it is to have a local address and phone so the employer thinks they are local. Commuting should NOT be an issue if the applicant states so, yet, usually it means no response.

If you send in a resume and there is no response, translate this as, they are not interested. I have found that if there is no response, that is why. I have followed up on some submissions in the past, all of them will confirm they have it and being given consideration, yet, nothing is heard again. Other submissions, the recruiter will call within an hour and actually talk about it, the pay etc. They will then say, "I am sending it in".  Not interested can anything, maybe you lack one key skill they really want, yet have all the others. Maybe it is any of the other reasons addressed here. Just move on, don't even let it bother you, there is nothing more you can do.

Recruiters are inundated with spam AND resumes. Most have an automated email system that thank you for your application and give you an application number with a promise to follow up in the future if they are interested. Many don't, though, so if you really are keen about a job give them a buzz and see what is up.

The position that you applied for may not exist. Sometimes a job is posted to test the water or to see what type of talent is out there. Sometimes they are posted in anticipation of budget money for a position to be approved. If the budget isn’t approved and the hiring doesn’t go ahead.

A company is looking to hire internally for a position but has to follow its procedures because unions. Therefore, the job is posted, the pre-selected person applies, and the company doesn’t need to look at any other applicants. Again, another frequent event especially with large companies. I have seen this time and time again. They post it for the public, never interview anyone because they have already chosen another within the same firm. Just going through the hoops and legalities.

A recruiter has a friend they want in the company and have to go through the same protocol as for all positions. In this case, the friend can apply and the recruiter may or may not look at any other applicants. Yep, it's called favoritism.

Sometimes, the job position lists skills that are unrealistic. There is usually a ‘wish’ list of skills that any hiring manager would love his new employer to have. They want senior level skills for junior level salaries. Many times these jobs go unfilled and will be reposted several times. This happens many times, all the time. The company will call a recruiter and provide a bare bones of skills and duties or excessive "dream" qualities for poor pay.

The employer provides the recruiter with mistaken task duties and requirements for a position. Happens frequently. The recruiter does not really know what the job's tasks are or requirements. They have difficulty in getting clarification from their client. The applicant only has a vague idea. During the interview, the applicant realises that what the client told the recruiter as far as what the job entails is nowhere correct and either the applicant is overqualified or not.

Age discrimination. Sure, its against the law, lots of things are, but it still happens. The company tries to estimate your age from dates on your resume. If they suspect you are too old or too young for the "job fit" , the company passes on you. Of course, they will claim it had nothing to do with age but qualifications. It is CYA (cover your ass). If they cannot discern age, the interview will. If your interviewers ar 20s-30s, and you are 45 or more, odds are it may happen because of the "image" or "fit" with a company, even when you are qualified. If you inquire, they will say, "you are are well qualified, but, it just didn't seem like a good fit". Translation: You are too old for our age. Age discrimination is almost impossible to prosecute unless there is written or verbal evidence or witnesses.


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      I agree, totally.

    • profile image

      Kevin33 Johnson 

      6 years ago

      Writing a CV is an initial step to kick-start journey as a job-seeker. You can either write a copy of same after referring to the templates of resumes or request samples of CV. Besides, these two methods, there are few others too those prove to be functional for job-search. There are number of website that provides free resume samples -

    • Redmadness17 profile image


      6 years ago from Eugene OR

      Perrya, we speak the same language. To job seekers: there is a huge difference between corporate recruiters and fee based headhunters. I have been both. Many of the comments I read indicate a lack of knowledge about employment laws. "headhunters" can make a lot of money. I now make about half what I did in 2000, but the stress of losing a 50K fee on some managerial whim was too much for me.

      Manners should be followed on both sides, but it has always been extremely difficult to get feedback on submitted resumes. I once contacted someone to see if I could submit him for a job with my current company, and he told he he had been on staff for four months! Did anyone think to tell the recruiter what was happening?

      The absolute best way to get a job is to use personal contacts, and only apply to jobs for which you have all the qualifications. And have a great resume.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      I agree to a point.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I think the VAST majority of online job postings are just fishing expeditions or companies pretending they're hiring to get tax breaks. Kinda obvious when my resume looks great and I'm perfectly qualified for a job (skills, not a minority, not too old, etc etc)...and yet I won't ever hear anything back beyond the automated "we received your application" email.

      I really feel bad for the people who are handicapped in some way. Good luck to 50+ year olds.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I agree totally with the comments,rudeness,lack of manners,others perhaps intimidated by you,and afraid you make take their position,nepotism,clicks,McDonalds clowns,it all applies. Just heard people are moving to China to get work...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The important thing is don't take rejection personally, and never lose your temper when the going gets tough. Tough situations require outside the box solutions, and are simply a litmus test for people to see what you are really made of.

      Also keep in mind, some jobs are not worth taking seriously. Some "managerial" human resource people would be more suited to working as a clown for McDonalds. I call them certified clowns, they dress up pretentiously, are full of big words but don't really deliver much to the company bottom line.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've applied for over 100 job postings and have only had a handful of interview and calls. I have over 15 years of experience and it is really frustrating to get rejected over and over. Can a resume be to over-done?

    • profile image

      Joe Brandonson 

      7 years ago

      Recruiters are being downsized by corporations. Most work for HR is coming back at huge savings to the company. I work for a large national organization and just last month, the C suite eliminated all recruiting firms. Found that most, not all, missed truly talented individuals and cost more in time and money. People seeking a new position should not go through recruiter if possible.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Resume is nothing but a mirror of employee's qualification and work experience. But this thing to be presented in such a eye-catching way that employers must have a look.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I agree with Johnson!

      Is it unreasonable to ask that potential employers, especially agencies exercise common courtesy to potential candidates?

      Most recruiters are in it for the money!

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I agree, sometimes one feels like sending a resume out is sending it into the Outer Limits or Twilight Zone.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You can also add the plain fact that some employers are

      simply ignorant,lack any shred of common courtesy and

      manners are a thing unheard of these days.A simple automated

      response that a resume was received and being reviewed would

      be appreciated.For example,I applied for an advertised

      position in Nov.09,which I am fully qualified for,with certs.and the same position has been readvertised 5 times since that time.After emailing this company,to ask if they

      were on a fishing expedition or actually did read resumes,

      I received a reply that mine was never received.But they

      also had the same position available in Pittsburgh,if I was

      interested.That's great,I live in Philadelphia.Apparently,

      geography is also not one of their strong points.Very

      pathetic,is this what they learned in college,may want to

      ask for a refund.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The resume means nothing. You are being "evaluated" mostly by some generation x-er gum chewer who twirls hair. The only way you get job in usa is by nepotism, cronyism, and having the right last name. All the grammatically correct "resumes" with "super" accomplishments does NOT mean jack. It is all who you know. Period. Stop wasting your time appyling to imbecilic corporations that do not even bother to say no thanks. They terry nickel and dime you anyway. Those work addicted baby boomers have the job thing all sewn up.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      well, yes the resume thing is the 1st hurdle, but once it is done, many other reasons come into play that are not related to the applicant.

    • Abhishek87 profile image


      10 years ago from India

      I have worked at a recruiting firm and agree that sometimes the resume outlook may really be a big turnoff.

      People with experience think that the skill set alone should be enough but you HAVE to make your resume presentable atleast. It is a big turnoff when people with 8-10 years of experience cannot get the most basic thing, the resume ,right.

      Good article ... 


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