Why Companies Don’t Respond After an Interview

You thought the interview went well, but never heard back. Why?

Going through an interview is stressful enough, but it’s waiting for a response afterwards that can really get an applicant’s head spinning. Did they like me? Was I good enough? What could I have done better?

To make sure you stay in the loop, ask for a “next steps” timeline during your interview. That way you’ll at least have some idea of when they’re deciding on a candidate. After that, the only option is to send a polite email asking if they’ve made a decision yet. Then you play the waiting game.

But waiting can get unbearable. Especially when the company never gets back to you.

Isn’t this rude? Why would a company skip out on the goodwill a well-meaning rejection email can generate? Although we personally feel companies should always send out courtesy rejection emails, here are a few reasons why they might not:

They’re Busy

This may not seem like much of an excuse, but many companies, especially smaller companies, simply don’t feel they have the time to let every candidate know why they were rejected. Perhaps they interviewed 100 or so applicants, but only have one person dedicated to Human Resources. That one person has to devote most of their time to the new hire. When they finally do find time, it’s too late to send out rejection emails.

Busy companies might also send mass rejection letters via traditional mail. That could mean weeks before you get a response.

They Don’t Want to Start a Conversation

When companies send out a rejection email, it gives applicants an opportunity to ask why they were rejected. Companies don’t, or rather can’t, answer this question. Any type of rejection could be taken offensively, and offended interviewees might resort to legal action.

In some cases, candidates may not take rejection well, and respond by sending angry emails. Many companies just don’t think it’s worth it to respond, given their unique experience with sending out rejection emails in the past.

They’re Still Considering Applicants

In some cases, companies have one applicant they place above all others. Their first pick. But that first pick doesn’t always go through. Maybe they can’t agree on salaries or vacation time. When something like that happens, the company goes to their backups, their second, or even third choice. So if you don’t get a rejection right away, it might be because the company is holding onto your resume in case their first pick doesn’t work out. It’s even possible that the company doesn’t want to offend you with a rejection because they want to keep you in mind for a future position.

A company’s response time might also vary according to the industry they are in. State and government agencies, for instance, can take up to a year or more to place a position.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you’re never going to know why a company decided not to send you a rejection letter. Maybe it was for a good reason, maybe it wasn’t. So don’t dwell on it. It isn’t easy to let go, but when you do, it will become much easier to move forward. Get started on the next application and start preparing for that next interview.

Has a company ever kept you waiting for a response?  Let us know about it in the comments below!

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