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Randy Wooden: “I’ve applied online. I don’t get called for an interview. Why?”

Randy Wooden: “I’ve applied online. I don’t get called for an interview. Why?”

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First of 2 parts

Today wraps up 10 years of writing these bi-weekly job search columns for the Winston-Salem Journal. Where did the time go?

There’s not a whole lot I haven’t covered at some point over these 260 columns. While no two job hunters are identical in terms of skills, background, education, objectives, etc., I can say they all share one main concern. And that’ll be my topic for today and next time in a two-part series.

Does this sound familiar? “I took extra care to customize my resume and application for a job where I know I’d be a great fit. I even got an email saying they received my application and will be reviewing it. I never heard from them after that. Why not?”

Not hearing back, whether from your application or — worse yet — after you’ve had an interview, is the single biggest concern I hear from my Goodwill Professional Center clients.

Today I’ll explore why you may not hear back after submitting your application.

1. You may be qualified, but you may not be as highly qualified as others. As I’d mentioned earlier, no two job hunters are identical. Perhaps others have more relevant experience. Your resume may have typos or otherwise be confusing. Is your relevant work experience current? Many factors could lead the reader to look in another direction.

2. Networking. Other candidates, perhaps even those less qualified, have leveraged their personal network to encourage the hiring official to pull their application for closer review. Frankly, as long as that candidate is even close to your experience, that networked candidate will likely generate the interview due to the personal ties involved.

3. The job had been promised to someone else, very likely an internal candidate. Any interviews, if any are even conducted at all, are brief and for appearances sake only.

4. The job posting is for a job which doesn’t exist — yet. This is more so the case with recruiting/staffing firms versus employers. Staffing firms need to maintain a pipeline of available and qualified applicants. So, even if there’s no need for a certain position today, there likely will be one in the future.

What does all this mean? What, if anything, can you do about it?

For starters, don’t be afraid to follow up with a phone call a few business days after submitting your application. Second, realize the value of building a personal network so you’ll be better positioned for future openings.

I hope shedding light as to what’s possibly happening on the other side of clicking “submit” will help you better understand some of those frustrations faced by so many others like you.

Next, part two in this series will cover some reasons why you may not hear back after having had an interview.

As always, if you have topic ideas, let me know. Good luck!

Randy Wooden is a long-time Triad career consultant and director of Goodwill Industries of Northwest N.C.’s Professional Center. You may reach him at or 336-464-0516. 

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