Getting rejected from a job application doesn't feel good. But not hearing back after inquiring about your rejection certainly feels worse. That's what happened to one FGBer, Catherine Menick, who has reached out to the FGB Community
"I reached out to the manager on LinkedIn and sent a message saying I'd just seen the post, would love to connect, and that I knew it was due soon but appreciated a challenge," she writes. "I got a blanket rejection email at 9:42 p.m. the following Friday night. I want to ask for feedback re: my application, but every single time I have previously, the person who communicated the rejection either said no or never replied."
She asks other FGBers with hiring experience if they could help explain to her why no one is giving her feedback, so that she avoids making the people to whom she's reaching out uncomfortable. Here's what they had to say:
1. They're trained not to respond.
Sometimes, hiring managers are trained not to respond to such inquiries.
"As a hiring manager, I have strict guidelines from HR to not engage candidates on social platforms like LinkedIn," writes Mandy Kiernan. "Even if someone reaches out directly to me, I have to let HR follow through with the standard process, unless I know them personally (in which case there is a separate process for that). The rejection emails we send are standard templates but do fall into categories such as not enough experience, overqualified, skills not relevant for job description etc., so the candidate is provided with a little more information. I provide HR with that feedback and they then send the response to the candidate."
Plus, as Deborah Frincke put it: "Everyone loves to sue these days."
2. They fear harassment.
Some hiring managers don't want to face harassment.
"There are ramifications if you engage too much with people who have not reached the interview level—some people yell, cry or try to argue," Frinkle says. "That is very hard on the HR professionals who would be making those calls — often it isn't done."
3. They don't have time to respond.
Hiring managers go through countless resumes. Many just don't have the time to respond.
"HR managers and recruiters, both internal and external, receive hundreds of resumes and CVs for multiple openings," writes Leslie A Strazzullo. "I think it would be very difficult to follow up with every applicant, especially if you don’t meet the job requirements. You mentioned that you were overqualified and late to submit your application. If you didn’t provide a good reason why you should be interviewed, you fall into the pile of applicants that get a 'thanks, but no thanks' email."
She adds that, unfortunately, even if you have gotten to the interview stage, you still may not receive feedback. Others agree.
"Asking for feedback is one of those things that sounds great and reasonable on paper, but the reality is that most recruiters or hiring managers aren't going to take the time to provide applicants with feedback," says Ruth Ford. "As a recruiter, I tried very hard to respond to every applicant who reached out to me with questions. But, as a job seeker, I've seen first hand that many recruiters aren't going to bother responding to candidates who have reached out to them. My advice to you: Don't dwell on it."
Some FGBers even adamantly urged against reaching out.
"Don't even think about reaching out to hiring managers on LinkedIn when applying for a vacancy!" one writes. "Can you imagine the irritation of receiving 100s of messages? Every candidate thinks they are the one. Employers don't have time to reply to everyone."
4. It might not be up to them.
It's not always hiring managers who give out the rejections. Sometimes, these are automated.
"While feedback would be wonderful, it definitely it isn't common practice," says Jackie Ghedine. "Half the time, the resumes are rejected by software that scanned (or didn't scan) the right keywords to find you a good fit. "
Other FGBers also talked about the use of technology in the rejection process.
"This was very likely nothing more than timing and their automated resume reader not finding or finding more than it was programmed to find," an anonymous FGBer shares. "I believe it’s connections that will ultimately help you in finding your new position."
Many large companies use software, for example.
"Some companies use screening questions or software to do the initial cut and it may have been from that," one FGBer explains. "Large companies often have an entire team that reviews applications and only sends forward the ones that they feel are a match so the hiring manager may have never even seen your application."
It's possible that they may have to use automatic responses during these times of COVID-19-induced isolation anyway. And, again, the hiring manager may not even be at the office to receive the resumes.
"It's possible they were overwhelmed with applicants, did an automatic down-select to the number they could interview and sent a form letter to everyone else," Frincke writes. "They may not have anyone in the office who can reply individually to COVID, too. In these times we should cut one another some slack."
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.