It has always been said, "Follow the instructions" when applying for a position. Otherwise, who would employ someone who cannot follow a simple set of instructions when doing just this.

One instruction I now see on a regular basis is "if you do not receive a reply within 3 days (for example) then assume your application is unsuccessful.

What is the accepted approach to this very simple instruction? Do I follow it to the letter, demonstrate that I can follow instructions and assume my application is unsuccessful or is it permitted to enquire in some way, maybe if the position has been filled, in a manner such as e-mail rather than a phone call, at what could be an inconvenient time?

masterc34's picture

I would suggest this is not an instruction to be followed, as you put it, to the letter. You have made concerted efforted, prepared and made an application for a role you wish would add value to your career. You shouldn't just assume, per the autogenerated instruction, that you have been unsuccessful. I suggest you follow up by any means you choose to find out what the deal is. There is no harm in checking, and it helps to put your mind at rest and focus on other opportunities.

In my opinion, it is irresponsible for employers to use such lines to avoid having the conversation. Job seekers need feedback to improve themselves.

nwillis's picture

Thank you for your reply. I think I have always suspected that but have never had the courage of my own convictions.

You are right of course, those autogenerated message and default phrases are the curse of the honest job seeker.

Your advice is excellent and I will take it in full. 

mrreliable's picture

I would agree with masterc34, except.

While I do believe it's my responsibility to contact unsuccesful applicants out of respect and courtesy, I don't believe it's my responsibility to give feedback. My responsibilities are with my company and my co-workers. I'm busy at my job, and I have to fit the hiring process in to my schedule. My role is to do my best to choose the most qualified applicant, not to engage the many unsuccessful applicants in a discussion with the goal of self improvement. If I'm in charge of the hiring process, I will contact all unsuccessful applicants as soon as feasible once a decision has been made. That's where my job ends.

I agree that it's crass to fail to notify an unsucessful applicant. I know lots of folks who are currently going through the job-hunting process, and unfortunately it seems to be the norm for hiring personnel to let an applicant blow in the breeze without notification. I think it's one indication of whether the company would be a good place to work.

nwillis's picture

Thank you for providing a response form the recruiters perspective. I really do appreciate your comments on this subject.