“Be so good they can’t ignore you” – how to deal with silent companies

Believe us when we say we know there’s nothing, NOTHING more frustrating than hearing a big, fat nothing from a company you’ve slaved over an application for. But what’s to be done? Turns out, something.

It was the jovially-haired actor Steve Martin who said “be so good they can’t ignore you.” But dammit, what if they ARE ignoring you? You researched the company, you nailed your CV, you made sure that your application was relevant, witty and confident. And yet, nothing. So what happens now? Here, have some steps. Steps make everything feel more manageable.


1. Get that application in way before the deadline


Alright, fine, this is technically a pre-step, but it’s bloomin important all the same. If you come across a job you like the sound of, get your application in as soon as you can. Don’t rush it, for goodness’ sake, but if it’s a choice between missing The Great British Bakeoff tonight to get some work done, and waiting until you’re hungover on the final Sunday before booting up your laptop, always choose the former.


The thing is, a lot of companies want to get someone brilliant in the role as quickly as they can. Not all companies, by any means, but you’re much more likely to make an impact if you get your application in at the start of the recruiting process, when the hiring managers are bright-eyed and enthusiastic about the role, rather than waiting until they are inundated with CVs on the very last day.


2. Leave it a bit of time


You’re impatient, we’re impatient, everyone is impatient, but it’s best practice to wait a week after the application deadline before sending any kind of prompt or communication as to whether you’re going to be considered for the role.

There are CVs to go through, interviews to be arranged, meetings to be had. Give your application some breathing space, and don’t give up any hope just yet.


3. Send the email


So, you’ve waited, the deadline has passed, a week has gone by, and nothing. Now is the time to send your carefully constructed cheerful email, which will go something along the lines of this:
“Dear [name of person you are almost certain is in charge of this hire]


Just wanted to send an email about the [job role] going at [their glorious company]. I sent my CV and cover letter over to you on [date you smugly sent it off, all early like], and it would be wonderful to get some feedback, or to know where abouts you are in the hiring process.

[An interesting and relevant fact you’ve noticed about their company. Perhaps commenting or congratulating them on a recent update. Yes, this is important. Yes, you can cringe now, thank us later.]


All the best,


[Your name] 


And then you wait. For 3-5 days.


4. Make the call


OK, so it’s been a week of waiting, a deliciously polite and topical email, and then a further couple of days of ¬†dreadful waiting. That brings us to near enough a week and a half of pain. Time to resort to the most terrifying weapon of all. The Phone.


Let’s be honest, if these guys haven’t gotten back to you after your amazing application and your super interesting email, it’s not looking great for you. But dammit, like any torturous relationship, you deserve closure. And these jokers are going to give it to you.


Make yourself a strong cup of tea, get the number you need and make the call. Keep your tone light and friendly, you’re not being aggressive here – it’s just important that you know where you stand. Ask the hiring manager about the state of your application, and they will say one of three things:


a) They’re still deciding, but your application isn’t going to be considered

b) They’ve made a decision, and it isn’t you

c) They’re still deciding, and will get back to you in due course.


Now, if it’s a) or b), your job is done. It isn’t you, move on, draw a line under it, feel good that you got to the bottom of it all on your terms. If it’s c), tell them you’re looking forward to hearing from them either way, reiterate your email address and put the phone down. One more step, and it’ll all be done and dusted.


5. The final email


After your call, leave it a week, and send a final email. If, after this, it’s still nothing – take it from us, you’re better off.


Dear [manager you’ve literally spoken to with your voice]


Just wanted to follow up on our call from last week – thanks very much for taking the call and for explaining the situation to me, I appreciate it!


Please do feel free to let me know how your decisions develop either way – it’s great to hear feedback from companies even if my application is unsuccessful!


All the best,


[Your Disappointed But Noble Name]


If you’re as diligent as this to no avail – it’s their loss. As Dave Grohl would have it “done, done and I’m onto the next.” In your face, Steve Martin.




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Natasha Hodgson is the Content and Community Manager over at Enternships. She loves writing about inspiring things, and Nicolas Cage. Luckily, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

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