I suspect I already know the answer to this question, but I feel the need to ask anyway, to get some sort of closure.

I applied to a job that I was very excited about a few weeks ago. Two weeks later (Sunday evening) I sent a follow up email with additional information and a little project I'd made hoping to gain myself some extra points. So far I haven't heard back anything, even an automated 'thank you for your email' response.

Now I know the obvious conclusion to this is that they aren't interested. However there's a few things that make me question that.

  • I thought I'd made a pretty good application. I'm not saying I'm a shoe in for the job or anything, but I'd hoped for at least an interview.
  • It's a relatively small company (<100 people I think) rather than a big multinational (which I'd expect the cold shoulder from)
  • The job is still listed on their website, so apparently they haven't hired anyone else yet

In the meantime, I'm constantly on the edge of my seat. I know I've invested too much hope in this. I can't concentrate at my current job, because I mentally already have one foot out of the door. I'm constantly worrying that I messed up the application somehow- did I enter the email address correctly? Did I mess up entering my own details so they can't get back to me? Did the email get eaten by a spam filter or something?

At this point, a firm rejection would be preferable to this uncertainty. Is there a polite/appropriate way to ask them for some sort of acknowledgement that they received my application (perhaps via an alternative form of communication)? When should I just give up and move on with my life?

  • From the context I would guess not, but did the company at any time give you an estimate on when you would be expected to hear from them?
    – user34587
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 9:18
  • 4
    Did you consider using a telephone?
    – Dominique
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 12:34

5 Answers 5


When should you give up? Immediately.

That is, as soon as you send a resume, you should give up on that job and start working on the next one. Keep the relevant information at hand, of course, in case they reply. But when you're job-hunting, don't get too attached to one job. Keep several going at once.

You had a phone interview? Great! Now it's over, so give up. They might never get back to you afterwards. Work on the other potential jobs you have going.

You had an in-person interview? Excellent news...but now that you're done with that, give up. They might reply with an offer, or with "no thanks," or they might never reply at all. Just keep looking for new jobs and applying to them, and don't get too hung up on one.


Now I know the obvious conclusion to this is that they aren't interested

Not necessarily... Sometimes companies can take months to get back to people. If the company is small they may not have a proper recruiting department and maybe they work through all applicants at a single process when all applicants have been processed.

The job is still listen on their website, so apparently they haven't hired anyone else yet

This could be because of the small company again may not have a dedicated web team or they've completely forgotten about the post being up. You cannot know for sure, potentially the job might still be there or it could have been filled.

I know I've invested too much hope in this

Correct, don't put all your eggs into one basket. You clearly want to work for this company but make sure you're still on the lookout for other opportunities that may pop up during this time. Applying for a single company and waiting their response is absolute hell when looking for a job.

Is there a polite/appropriate way to ask them for some sort of acknowledgement

You could always email them and ask. Occasionally companies may see your additional information and add it to your folder but not respond.

No one but the company can really know for sure so it's worth a shot.

When should I just give up and move on with my life?

Don't give up but make sure you focus on looking for other jobs in the mean time.


If you want an immediate answer, don´t mail - call. That´s what phones were invented for! Nothing wrong with a short:

Just wanted to make sure you received my mail ok and that it did not gut stuck in the spam filter, because I did not hear back from you ...

Some companies like to wait for a bit to accumulate some candidates to choose from. Still a short We received your documents ... notifier would be the etiquette.


The way I see it, it depends...

  • If the job is actually worth the effort. Quite a few in my field (IT) aren't really. However if said job opens up a lot of opportunities and you are really interested in making the effort, then do write (or call) them back maybe once a week or every other week.
  • If the job is being passed through a recruitment agency, I tend to stay on the line and call them back weekly or bi-weekly. Not nescessarily because of the given job posting, but to show the recruitment agency that i'm still interested. In some cases it can pay off, as the agency may see you as an interested candidate, and they may be able and willing to find you similar jobs. In any case, you can allow them to keep your resumé on file.
  • If the company lapses on their interview deadline - there's no reason to expend more effort into you application process. The same goes if they continue to re-upload their postings.
  • If the company (even a large one) doesn't bother replying on simple questions, or has an overly convoluted application process, I don't bother (unless it's really worth it). The same goes if the company promotes values that I cannot stand by (eg. a cultish office culture)

For the first point, I have a good example: I've been between jobs for a few months already, and i'm not too keen on moving, as i've had to move for every single job i've had so far. Though I've strongly considered an offer for a job abroad, as it's worth it to me not only personally, but culturally as well. An added bonus is that it's a place that's praised by its employees. Basically one of those jobs where you as an applicant would go "WOW!"

For the second point - it pays to have a number of people to help you in your job search. Recruitment agencies get paid for spots to fill, and you want a job. For the agency, interested candidates are a win-win situation. They know they have someone that might fill a given spot where your skills may come in handy.

Third point - Once the interview deadline (if mentioned) has lapsed, they're simply not interested. Consider this an "implied decline". The same goes if they keep re-posting the job ad. Do, however, keep in mind that some companies spam job sites (especially LinkedIn) to "stay at the top"

IMO it really depends on the offer and the company's behaviour. The way I see it, when the application is sent off, the ball is in their court. I might give them a call a few days after the application deadline has lapsed to see if I can get any feedback on my material. But I always consider my material "declined" from the get-go.

Mindset-wise I treat applying for jobs as a game of roulette - once the application is sent, the wheel spins. After that it's up to the employers if they want to interview you and continue from there.

User1602 already mentioned that you should "give up immediately". However, I wouldn't word it that way. I would say: Don't get your hopes up in the first place - if you keep a neutral stance to the application, you won't be that disappointed if you get a decline or a "ghosting". On the other hand, it will be a pleasant surprise if you do get called into an interview.


I understand how demotivating it is to apply for the position you have wanted for a while and not even be acknowledged.

There are several things that can happen, imagine that the hiring manager goes on holiday, is off sick, is running a meeting with a new client, which is the reason why they are hiring. They now have a pile of 200 applications on their desk to go through but not the time to do so. After 3 weeks they finally get through some of the applications and have this on a second pile. When they manage to get through all of the CVs and decide whom to call, this is already a couple of months down the line. They have not hired anyone yet, so why would they take the post down?

This is not uncommon at all, it is in fact what is happening currently where I work, my boss is currently scheduling a second interview with someone that applied for the job 3 months ago.

If they do not get back to you within a month, I would simply move on, but never put too many expectations on a specific application.

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