Ask an Expert: 'Why Won't Employers Call Me Back?'

Many of our readers have asked recently, "Why won't employers call me back?" Job seekers get that employers can't always respond to every single applicant ... but to never so much as e-mail or call someone back after an interview? What gives?

Some job seekers have applied to hundreds of jobs and haven't received as much as an e-mail acknowledging receipt of the resume. Others haven't heard a peep from HR or the hiring manager after having an interview (or two or three). Job seekers are left scratching their heads wondering why they can't get even a "thanks, but no thanks" from employers. There are two sides to this story.

It's them, not you.

One thing that keeps hiring managers from replying to candidates is the sheer volume of resumes. The number of applicants to jobs has risen significantly over the past few years. "Hiring managers and HR professionals are receiving 10 times the amount of resumes than they would have a year or two ago," one hiring manager told CareerBuilder. "Their time is spread thin, and it is difficult to respond to each resume or application. Don't expect to hear from every company that you've applied to. The position may have filled and the manager has moved on."

If a hiring manager indicates that she will contact you in two weeks and you haven't heard anything, you should follow up with her. It may be that the process is taking longer than she expected. Remember, the hiring manager may not only be trying to find the "perfect" candidate, she's also probably trying to keep up with day-to-day duties as well, which can circumvent or prolong the hiring process.

And finally, there are those people who just don't follow up with you even after the second, third and final interviews. Unfortunately, that's just going to happen in any hiring environment.

It's you, not them.

If you're applying to jobs and not hearing anything back, take a look at your resume. Your resume must say something remarkable and stand out from the competition. In a 2010 survey, 38 percent of hiring managers said, on average, they spend less than a minute reviewing a resume; 18 percent spend less than 30 seconds. You've got just 30-60 seconds to really grab the hiring manager's attention. If your phone's not ringing and your inbox is empty, it's time to revise your resume.

Another reason you might not be hearing back about any jobs: You have the "I'll take anything" mentality. One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is not customizing their resume and cover letters. When you blindly apply to every job out there or tell people you'll take any job that comes your way, employers may think you'll jump ship when something -- anything -- better comes along. Employers don't want to risk interviewing or hiring someone who might not stick around awhile. Make sure you're applying to jobs that fit your skill set. If you're trying to transition into a new career and your resume doesn't quite illustrate the connection, a cover letter can do that. Even if you're applying to 100 jobs a day, you need to make each hiring manager think you're the best fit for the job.

But what if you're getting called into interviews but hearing nothing after the fact? It could be how you interview. Common interview mistakes include dressing inappropriately, appearing disinterested or arrogant, chewing gum and not giving specific answers. Are you practicing before the interview? Are you anticipating questions based on the employer? Are you doing your research? How is your attitude? Stay upbeat even when you've had a negative experience with an employer; prepare and practice your questions, and keep the atmosphere professional.

If you don't hear from an employer, don't dwell on it but instead move on and realize it wasn't the right fit. Focus on the things you can control. You can't control what happens after you hit "send," but you can control what you send and how you present yourself face-to-face.

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What do you put down for the reason you left your last job of only 3 months? Only reason I left there was because I didn't have insurance to go to a Doctor for a Dr's note.

December 27 2011 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am almost at retirement age. I have been unemployed since August, 2008. I have a part time job at a supermarket because that is all I could find. Even though I have a lot of secretarial and accounting experience, it doesn't mean anything. Looks are a big factor. One company--a large cable company in NJ--flat out said I was too old! I've given up!

January 29 2011 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Go To Mexico! You will Stand Out!

January 29 2011 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nothing but BULL anymore!

January 29 2011 at 7:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Libra Insight

Modern interview and hiring practices are focused on the KARDASHIAN model.
Great looks, fantastic presence, branding, marketing, a lot of drama, personal contacts, and a lack of true acting talent. Education and real world work experience is not needed.
Human Resources needs to get out of the Middle Ages.

January 29 2011 at 7:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At the risk of public humiliation, I'll be brave and ask my question anyway. I have about 15 years experience in real estate/title insurance and find myself laid off a few times, all economy-related. Rather than go for unemployment, I've taken ANY job I can, which I feel is admirable. Not saint-worthy, but admirable. My jobs haven't always been glamorous either. I've waited tables, done temp work and that's after being laid off from a $45K a year job. I've had several interviews for positions that I might say I'm over-qualified for, but I'd still be happy to have one. To be totally honest, I'll be someone's property from 8-5 and do whatever they want, to the best of my ability, and like it. My resume is starting to look rather sad with the gaps in employment and the restaurant and temp work makes me look like a fly-by-nighter, which I am NOT. I just want to work. Any suggestions?

January 29 2011 at 5:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gina's comment

Is it apparent from your resume that you took temp jobs after layoffs? I have been asked by recruiters lately to explain my job hopping. Maybe you can have a statement on your resume to explain your situation. Also, maybe consider collecting unemployement. It opens doors to job training programs that you may not otherwise know about or be eligible for. In this economy we all have to be open to gaining new skills and career changes. Good Luck!

January 29 2011 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Libra Insight

Interviewing these days is like living in the dark middle ages. Harder than hell to get an interview with all the competition. Business ethics and common sense has been thrown out the window. Internet job websites are dysfunctional and are a fake front to 1st level, 1st time introduced jobs. The jobs are bottom feeders because they weren't filled by inside people. Feedback from employers after the interview is slim to none. Very wishy washy without really looking at what a person can truly contribute with solid real experience, education, and past success. Most jobs today are given to people whom have personal social contacts with someone in the company, hence contributing to mediocre performance temporary employees in the long run. The job interviewing situation needs to be reviewed, investigated, and set up with human standards, and regulations.

January 28 2011 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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