Ghosted – why am I not hearing back from my application?

There are many reasons why you might not be getting interviews from your applications and they aren't mutally exclusive...

Wes Plumb
Wes  Plumb 
11 min read Reading Time
24 October 2023 Date Created

…in fact there could actually be dozens of reasons you feel that you are getting nowhere fast but let’s look at the main ones.


Probably the highest-ranked reason & the simplest. As much as you, your colleague, freinds and family agree that you are great there is always the possiblity, however remote, that someone else may know a bit more, have done a bit more or gained a bit more relevant experience which is inevitable in any market where candidates are in a higher supply than jobs so try not to be disheartened the right match is out there somewhere. If you missed out on someting you were keen on try to be philosophical about it and think the job, company, or hiring manager are not right for you and just move on BUT keep an eye on it – you’d be suprised how often a job gets readvertised and if you see that be bold and try again because you never know, expectations might have been too high, the job could have changed or the person that looked great on paper wanted way too much money and they have gone back to square one.  


Delving a bit deeper in to the experience angle, as frustrating as it can be it’s undeniable that factors like industry knowledge will make a big difference on how an application is perceived – sometimes, a hiring manager will need someone to hit the ground running. It can be frustrating to receive negative feedback regarding someone’s experience. The majority of people are bright, ambitious and hungry to learn something new yet someone has decided you won’t be able to adjust or learn! How often this happens is determined by market sentiment: when hiring managers can afford to wait for the right person to pop up they tend to do just that. It really is as simple as that and you have done nothing wrong so do not worry about it. Again, be philosophical and think it is their loss. 

Your experiences combined like ingredients that go into a cake. Too much of one thing, not enough of another, over or undercooked, or presented in the wrong way. And you do not have the right cake for the occasion. Okay, that’s not the greatest analogy, but I hope you get the gist. Your experience is your experience; be proud of it. Sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where you are the perfect cake for the occasion and you won’t even know it. Understand that rejection isn’t personal so don’t lose confidence! 


The oldest, best and cheapest form of recruitment. Your network! I have been fortunate, and those I know have also benefited from my job moves. Keeping a professional network and having a great reputation is the gold standard when it comes to job hunting. I have moved companies several times, and half of those moves have come from my network and I would like to think due to other people’s opinion of me. I work hard, always honest, and I have done a good job pretty much everywhere I would like to think. (The trait of a people pleaser. Case and point, this blog.) Similarly, people have followed me and where I have gone. Those who invest in keeping a wide network and have a quality inner circle within it are the biggest winners. It takes time and effort. But the value you can get from it makes a huge difference, especially when you get into the middle and latter stages of your career and or fall on hard times. Yes, that does mean keeping in touch with some relevant recruiters; we form part of your network; just choose carefully. You never know when they will have a golden opportunity for you, or you need advice or you need a recruiter above and beyond to lean on their network and knowledge for you. 

People in the process already 

Timing is everything and if there are one or two good people in the interview process already it is game over. Everyone is stretched these days and chances are this hire is long overdue so people want someone in ASAP. Being the first to it party does make a difference. Back when I had a team of 20 or so recruiters, 50% of the time, the first 2 or 3 candidates in the process would get the role. Even if you had someone better you wanted to add in to the mix. HR or hiring managers would not continue to take time to review more profiles. There is a sales quote, “time kills all deals” and in this situation, it is very accurate. 

You’ve been missed

While recruitment is not rocket science, it is a hard job to like or love or not get stacked based on performance. It is widely known that 80% of people will leave the industry within 2 years. Some will go internal or into HR. 70% of the time, when you deal with recruitment agencies, you will be dealing with someone with less than 2 years of experience. No offence, most of them are still learning, cutting their teeth and make most of their placements through luck or sheer determination. So many opportunities to be MISSED! 

Then, there are those internal recruiters or HR professionals that will review your experience. They are spread so thin in terms of workloads these days and or cover too many disciplines so they won’t know all the nuances of your experiences. MISS! 

Hiring managers. Oh hiring managers. I have lots count of the amount of hiring managers that are working so hard that did not see your CV in their inbox or on a portal or just didn’t get to it. All in all there is a lot to go wrong. Having a good recruiter on your side makes sure you are not missed and they follow up everything like a good chaperone does! 

Those in the middle of the process 

The average recruiter, whether they be internal or external, will have 5 to 25 roles live at any one time. Sometimes more. Now, if the roles are advertised and they receive only 10 applications per role per week you are looking at 250 people a week. It is impossible to speak fully to 250 people in a week and tell those who are not strong enough why. The reality is right now, there are 100 applications plus per role. Granted, they won’t have 25 new roles each week, every week. But still, 100 to 250 applications in a week is not manageable. This is the cold hard truth as to why you might be missed, or do not get a call, or do not get even a rejection. And I will come back to application rejections. 

Goal posts moved 

When a job description is written up, advertised, recruiters briefed, and adverts put out you would assume the requirement is settled but within weeks the job could have changed already. Sometimes the job description could have been brushed off from a few years ago and not checked (out of date with the wrong tech) and it happens far too often. This is why agency recruiters ask for a call with the hiring manager. The number of times a jobs spec asks for a “blue square”, you speak to the manager and they describe a “green triangle”. Several weeks later, having seen a dozen CV’s and completed several interviews. Then they decide what they need is an “orange circle!” On my! I can not tell you how many times this happened to me. Granted, this was more in a project lead recruitment. So, to add to the cliché “it’s not you, it’s me”. It really is them. 

The advert is incorrect 

I kind of touched on this in “goalposts moving”. Adverts are sometimes incorrect. They either have the wrong information or the correct information is not even on there. I tend to find the most straightforward adverts are the best. Then no one should be missed. I think Einstein said “if you can not describe it simply, you do not know it enough” or words to that effect! 

Too experienced 

Society sucks sometimes, and people are very quick to judge. When someone has achieved a lot or seen or lot and they want either a simpler life, or a more local role, or want to change direction, or a different sector, or one the array of reasons. Their application goes straight into a bin. 

It is brutal how sociality pigeonholes people and just assumes that the individual will be a) a threat b) hard to manage c) is all out of ambition d) 101 other reasons. Again, I am just speaking the truth and you will have done the same or do the same in your time. Or, you won’t have even seen their CV / resume as someone else already made this decision for you! 


Again, society sucks and prejudice is still as true today as it was 50 years go. That said, it is 100 times better, but we have a long way to do. “Different” always makes people worry and uncomfortable. There is now a huge fear hiring someone that if is not working; they are stuck with them and have put themselves at risk. Some people feel safer in an environment with people from the same area, background, education, and language skills etc. Having managed people for over 15 years and someone who loved hiring different people and not fall foul like other people and their bias. I have been burnt and hurt by people who are different to me. I genuinely believe in equality and diversity, so I would do it all again. But not everyone thinks the same and prefer to sit in a comfort zone. If you have been rejected for this reason, please see it as a blessing. You would not want to work for them anyway! Just make sure when it is your turn to hire you do not stoop to their level and promote equality and diversity! But by all means, if you get in, make your work place more diverse and support those that come into your organisation. 

Wow, I really could talk about these things all day. It feels good to just share how things are. 

Last thing of note! “I do not even get reject emails.” 

This is a shame and frustrating whilst also being an unfortunate sign of the times, try not to take it personally or allow it to make you disheartened. Stay positive and persistent in your job search and remember, you’re amazing, even if the process sometimes doesn’t reflect that.

For more insights and discussions on recruitment and career development, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn under “Wesley Plumb.”