Job Search

14 Reasons Recruiters Don’t Respond to Applications

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Not to be confused with Ghosting, this post deals with the reasons recruiters don’t respond to initial applications.

Before we jump into the different reasons, it is important to note that there are two types of gatekeepers on every job application; a real-live person or Applicant Tracking System (ATS) bots. While the former is self-explanatory, ATS bots are a little more esoteric…

A “bot”, short for robot, is a software application that performs simple and repetitive tasks. With respect to Applicant Tracking Systems, these bots use algorithms to compare the words and phrases on job applications to the words and phrases on job listings. The greater the match of these keywords and phrases, the greater the chance that the application will be moved along in the process.

Between 75% and 80% of all applications made at an ATS never make it past the bots. The shortcomings of ATS are well noted within the job board industry.

Of the 14 reasons presented below, 7 usually are within the control of the job seeker and 7 are not.

Within the control of the job seeker:

The first 5 pertain to gatekeepers who are people and the second 2 are specific to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

  1. Follow the directions
  2. Only apply to jobs for which you are qualified
  3. Use a resume format that is current and on-trend
  4. Proofread your resume
  5. Check your social media
  6. Make sure you have the right keywords*
  7. Make sure your keywords can be parsed by the ATS software*

    *Specific to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Outside the control of the job seeker:

  1. The job was already filled / Things change
  2. Too many applications
  3. Your salary requirements were too high
  4. The recruiters were too busy
  5. They are still interviewing
  6. Recruiters afraid of stalkers (easier to ignore than to acknowledge and be stalked)
  7. Their Applicant Tracking System is terrible

With respect to your job search, it is best to focus on the items you can control like reading/understanding the job listing, following the application instructions, being honest with your skill set and having realistic expectations.

With respect to applications made at an ATS, the key is to use the right keywords. You can find blog posts on the proper use of keywords hereherehere, and here.

Chris Kidd is the owner of,,, and

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