How can one get feedback/reason(s) for rejection from companies that use a no reply email id ?

For example : This job post on IBMs website asks for these skills :


Bachelor's Degree
At least 5 years experience in JAVA/J2EE development experience
At least 5 years experience in System Design
At least 3 years experience in WebServices
At least 1 year experience in Work in a geographically distributed team (in 2 or more countries)
Readiness to travel Up to 1 day a week
English: Basic knowledge


At least 7 years experience in JAVA/J2EE development experience
At least 7 years experience in System Design
At least 5 years experience in WebServices
At least 3 years experience in Work in a geographically distributed team (in 2 or more countries)
At least 3 years experience in Financial Services Industry knowledge
English : Intermediate

The resume submitted matched all requirements (and exceeded a few). The email that came from IBM recruitment says :

.. After reviewing your application, we regret to inform you that you have not been selected for the next step in the hiring process as your application does not meet the current position requirements.

.. Please note: this is an auto generated e-mail that cannot receive replies...

How can one determine the reasoning behind the rejection ? And how can one follow up and ask for feedback?

After receiving two such rejections, given a lot of jobs posted have similar requirements does the candidate assume he just generically doesnt seem employable to this organization and should stop applying to jobs with this organization ?

  • 2
    Companies trend not to give specific reasons for rejections because it opens them up to lawsuits. This is same reason employment verification its limited to start and end dates.
    – Blrfl
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 5:10
  • 3
    @Blrfl - I do not think it is so much lawsuits as when you tell someone why they were not chosen they want to spend 20+ minutes explaining why you are wrong... it is a waste of time and does no one any good since the decision has already been made and is not going to be changed. Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 15:57
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    If you want to work at this company, find people that work in this company and get to know them. Given the size of IBM, this would suggest trolling through LinkedIn, finding out what the IBM developers do in their free time, meet those people in those venues (i.e., a C++ Meetup or DB2 users group). Post comments and questions in groups that IBMers frequent. In short, don't try to talk to recruiting machines when you need to talk to live bodies. Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 1:17
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    Wow. They actually told you they didn't want you in response to a resume, rather than just not replying and letting you figure it out for yourself? These are the most conscientious, decent, polite, recruiters in the world! I haven't had a polite response to a resume like that in years! Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 0:51
  • 1
    @DJClayworth that's because it wasn't a recruiter that answered the OP, but a computer. Since reading Asimov's robot books I am convinced computers can be much more human than the humans themselves :). Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 19:40

7 Answers 7


The rejection is a form letter. The Hiring Manager or Recruiter that has rejected your resume likely has a small set of form letters to select as a rejection letter. Once it's been decided that you are not a fit, no one is going to give your resume any personal attention, so one of the generic form letters is chosen.

The job requirements are a guide. There is no way to determine exactly why you were not chosen for this job. If you have not already done so, try to get your resume and application critiqued by someone with experience reviewing resumes professionally - such as a recruiter or hiring manager. Correct any issues that are pointed out. If your resume is put together well and your application answers are done well, then shake it off and move forward. It could be as simple as they found one other person that was a good fit, so every other applicant received a rejection.

The fact that you received a rejection at all is a courtesy and lets you know that there is no reason for you to hold out hope for that job. Focus on your next application/interview.


Companies use the form letter with a no reply email address largely to avoid what you are asking for. A company using this sort of response is trying to slim down the time it takes to reject individual candidates, largely because to do anything else would be cost prohibitive. The chances are good that a company like IBM is using this format largely because they get so many responses that the people working in recruitment can't spare the time to respond individually to your submission.

If you're really curious about why a specific company rejected your resume, your best vector is to talk to people you know in the company, or people you know in similar or competitive businesses. Someone with a vested interest in having a relationship with you is far more likely to take the time to actually review your resume, and they may also know enough about your actual strengths and background to be able to point out areas that you could improve to make your resume more appealing. It's no guarantee, but this is a friend-to-friend favor I've done for tons of people, and had done in return for me.

The challenge is often breaking into an area where you've got no friends and no background. Personal referrals still go a long way towards getting your foot in the door and will often get your resume around the auto-rejection process.

The filtering of open ended resume submission by everyone and anyone is perhaps one of the most brutal ways of doing a job application - you're up against the equivalent of junk-mail hoping that a process that takes maybe 30 seconds to scan each resume will be able to make an enlightened decision about you and a your background.


How can one determine the reasoning behind the rejection ? And how can one follow up and ask for feedback?

Basically, you cannot. That's the whole point of setting up a no-reply email address - they aren't interested in feedback.

Accept that you cannot always ask "why not" in these situations.

After receiving two such rejections, given a lot of jobs posted have similar requirements does the candidate assume he just generically doesnt seem employable to this organization and should stop applying to jobs with this organization?

If both of the rejections came from the same organization and sub-group, then it's reasonable to assume that you just aren't a good fit for some reason.

You could keep trying, but unless the next position is radically different from the prior two, or the next position is within a different sub-group, it seems unlikely that you will be successful.


OK, a couple of things here. Firstly you were probably rejected by a program, so will likely never find out directly why.

I would suggest that given you've had a couple of rejections, there is likely an issue in how the program matches you to their requirements, so it could be related to your CV/resume, but something else to think on:

You've got the bullet points covered from what you say, but looking at the advert are you covering the following I picked up?

  1. Team lead experience (probably of the geographically distributed team)
  2. Agile/ RUP experience
  3. Architecture experience (at some level)
  4. Framework/product development experience
  5. Consultancy experience (probably the biggy as it's for the consultancy arm of the company)

You'll need to show all of these in your CV to get past the automated filter, if you have then I'd suggest you need to look at how its presented.

It could be that going via the public website is not your best way. A recruiter who has experience with a client like this will often fit your CV into the format the hirer expects ( you know how people hate recruiters tinkering with CVs, sometimes its for a reason).

Have a think about the message they expect and make sure you tick ALL the boxes (the important ones might not be so obvious).

Big consultancy companies like this will usually give you some quick training before parachuting you straight into a client (remember your salary is paid by billing a client) so they'll look for someone who can hit the ground running, often the technical skills are the least of what they need.

Again looking at the advert, you will likely be the main point of contact/desicison maker on projects for a client (on site sometimes) with most/all your team based offshore. You will need to lead the development and negotiate day to day issues plus ensure the team deliver a fit for purpose product, is this what your CV shows?


Something to be aware of: The "sorry" letters are often sent by an automated time-out mechanism, rather than by an active decision.

When I was hired by IBM, I first heard by phone that I'd been accepted. Then I got the rejection letter, because the acceptance hadn't reached the HR department in time for them to stop it. Then I got the acceptance letter. (I seriously considered framing the two, side by side, as an illustration of how standard processes can sometimes produce weird results.)

As far as getting feedback goes... If a company isn't interested in you, I'm afraid they also aren't going to be very interested in spending more of their time (which means their money) explaining why they aren't interested. As others have said, the fact that you got an explicit note at all is more effort than many companies make, even if it was a nearly content-free form letter.

Remember, meeting the written requirements is only a start. If others are submitting resumes with more experience, or with other skills that are relevant to the position, you may be filtered out before the application goes any farther.

Don't get hung up on this. It's not personal, it's just the process. Send out the next round of applications.


How can one determine the reasoning behind the rejection? And how can one follow up and ask for feedback?

If they are sending you an automated reply, it means you will never determine the reasoning nor will they drop what they are doing to follow up and provide feedback.

That said, you should not take automated replies like this too personally. The reality is it could mean either they feel you are unqualified or:

  • The automated scripts running the system just decided you are not fit for the position.
  • While the automated response says one thing, the reality it could just be a canned response that someone in human resources did not change.
  • Someone literally hit the wrong button.
  • Someoene quickly went through applications & just jumped the gun.
  • Or any other myriad of mistakes.

The reality is you should apply for other positions & see how that goes. But in general these automated screening systems are a headache.

The silver lining is often your resume is kept on file in the system. So there is a chance that perhaps sometime in the future someone will contact you. But honestly, these systems cause tons more headaches than they solve in my honest opinion.


This has become such an unauthentic way of job hunting. Think about it. If all someone has to do is parrot the job description that's like defining a word with the word itself. I would be suspicious of someone who had all the perfect key words. I think when you genuinely explain something you don't mimic the job description. That is just as fake as you can get. I'm sure this is why turnover rates are so high. We have people romancing the technology, getting their resume read, getting hired only to he let go. I think keywords recruiting is ignorant and unevolved. We blame technology and large quantities applicants for the short comings. I think it is pure laziness and lack of creativity. If companies spent more time really talking to people and training people they would have awsome employees and low turnover. In the end.

  • 1
    this post is rather hard to read (wall of text). Would you mind editing it into a better shape?
    – gnat
    Commented May 31, 2014 at 17:07

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