Yesterday I applied to an IT position that I am very interested in. In the online questionnaire, there were 2 questions that I could not answer yes to, they asked if I had a specific certification and asked if I had used a specific software service. I answered no to both but there wasn't an option to elaborate at all. I have been studying to get the certification and have been following tutorials about the software service. I should have mentioned this in my cover letter but forgot to.
Would I be able to send an email to their HR department mentioning these things or would that be frowned upon?
Is it too late to try to salvage that part of the application?

  • 1
    Honestly it's too late. Move on and good luck!
    – Fattie
    Feb 15, 2019 at 12:32
  • 1
    It's never too late to try. Whether or not you'll succeed probably depends on things we don't (and can't) know about the company's hiring process. In some smaller orgs, the hiring manager may be reading all resumes/applications themselves, and they may not have the same strict view as the JD reads. So your email may be well received. However, in some larger orgs, hiring may be mostly "outsourced" to HR, who are likely to follow a "letter of the law" approach and not even consider or read your email, since you failed the screening questions.
    – dwizum
    Feb 15, 2019 at 13:04

3 Answers 3


If the job application has that specific question, it means they are looking for a candidate with that certification and software knowledge as it is a benchmark for them. Looks like they may want to hire someone with practical experience and not just theoretical knowledge, else they would have mentioned something like "Good to have". You can give a shot by resending your resume but probably HR would view it as "No" and may discard your application as they generally go by a checklist.

  • I wouldn't resubmit the application. Just send a follow up email, it can't hurt at this point.
    – NotMe
    Feb 15, 2019 at 2:32

It's often easy to get lost while overthinking these things. Are these requirements desired? Yes. Are they a deal breaker? Not so sure.

Sometimes companies want a candidate with a very field specific and extensive list of skills and qualities, it's not often that they find a candidate that fills all these requirements. That's the reason you should definitely inform them of your situation regarding these requirements, it could improve your chances, and definitely wouldn't hurt.

There are many examples for this sort of thing, and people don't always fit into neatly categorized boxes. Writing a short and professional email would also show thought and initiative on your part, giving you an additional advantage.

  • sorry can't edit it as too small but..."shoe" instead of "show". Welcome :) Feb 15, 2019 at 14:13
  • Thanks for noticing, I edited the answer to fix the error
    – Yury
    Feb 16, 2019 at 15:28

It probably depends on how things are handled where you're from, those things vary between countries, between industries and sometimes even between competitors within a single city. I can only tell you from my own experience.

I usually recommend to phone the employer if the applicant does not cover the entire skillset alledgedly required, since often companies fill the requirements with anything under the sun, while offering an entry position. So a quick phone call with 3-5 questions will quickly clarify whether something is a KO-criteria, nice-to-have or entirely optional. Otherwise, you'd be stuck wondering for weeks if this was the reason you did not get a call yet. Use email, if no phone number is availabe. Especially experience with specific software tools is often quickly acquired on the job. Other skills can be learned.

Plus, it usually cannot hurt to display genuine interest. Dropping a friendly mail, asking qualified questions, following up on a sent CV, etc. keeps you visible and in a good light, giving you a low-cost edge over other applicants who might keep quiet. Just don't overdo it, don't nag, don't plea, and keep the contact to a minimum. Maybe follow up once per week to enquire if a decision has been reached, and if there would be something that they might require from you. Unfortunately, online platforms and automated questionaires seek to decouple the human element from the application process. I understand the need for it, but personally I really dislike that. But usually there should be at least a person responsibe listed whom you might contact. At the very least, they should be able to attach a note to HR to your file.

TL;DR: More communication is better; Always ask if unsure; Don't be afraid to send follow-up questions; If you are underqualified you are not hurting your case any more - you can only win.

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