Articles for Professionals

This Might be Why Your Job Applications Aren’t Going Anywhere.


When looking for work, remember that the way you connect with your family and friends is not likely to be the best way to connect with potential employers. 

This is most obvious in the initial contact. Unless you are properly prepared, you WILL give employers the wrong impression. Following is a contribution from an employer (who chooses to remain nameless) outlining how things look from an employer’s perspective. Take it away, mysterious employer…

“I am sure you have probably covered off these topics before, but if not, I thought they might be interesting topics for an article aimed at your job seekers.

These have been bugging me for some time but came up again in our recent recruitment efforts, so if I thought I would mention them to you.”


Too many applicants do not have a message bank!

If an employer calls to speak to you, and you don’t answer, are we going to pull out our mobile, plug in your number and type out a message? Not likely. What’s likely to happen is that we move to the next candidate on the list and talk to them about the role instead.

Too many applicants have an inappropriate message bank, ie. Musical/gag

Understand that your voicemail is likely to be your ‘first impression’, so make it polite and professional. DO NOT USE the 10-second voice to text option. No employer wants to cram their message and number into 10 seconds.

[Argh! Anyone using the 10-second message to text thing should lose phone rights – D]


You have applied for a job – you want someone to call you! Expect a call from any number, interstate, mobile blocked number etc… If I am personally calling applicants I block my number as I am often working from home and don’t want my personal phone number broadcast. If you’ve applied for a job, this is not the time to be ‘screening calls’.


If the job ad says “Attach a cover letter” then ATTACH A COVER LETTER!

This is my pet peeve – The first line of the resume reads “I have great attention to detail” yet we specifically asked for a cover letter and one was not included! It doesn’t have to be your whole life story, just a brief outline of why you think you would be suitable for the job.

[Attention to detail is paramount with HealthyPeople, so when advertising for a role with us, any application that failed to address the requests in the job ad was binned – D]

Check the spelling of the company name. Then check it again.

Again, attention to detail is not just a buzz-phrase, it’s a real thing and it’s important to employers.

[Especially if sending multiple applications, ensure that you’re not mixing up your employer and roles. This happens WAY more often than you’d think. – D]


A nice touch is to personalise the application

For example, “To the Healthy People Team / To Dennis Hosking” shows that you’ve looked at the ad in detail and aren’t just attaching a generic resume and cover letter to every job ad you come across.

Thank you, mystery employer, for your input. I encourage any employer with anything to add to include it in the comments below.


4 thoughts on “This Might be Why Your Job Applications Aren’t Going Anywhere.

  1. Tania says:

    Well here’s some for the so called HR Personnel and departments that lack professionalism… are often unorganised or confused.

    Message Bank – is working and operating, yet many fail to leave a message. Often applicants are working in ‘black spots’ and/or simply cannot take calls 24/7 or when you may/may not call. Some kindness and consideration would be nice. It’s wrong to think applicants should answer anytime, especially if they’re already in jobs.

    Recruitment Agencies – know the company you are recruiting for. I’ve chatted to several HR people who aren’t really sure who they’re recruiting for let alone ‘the role’ and want to rush through the process just to claim the KPI that day. Treat people, well like people who want to better their career.

    Contact applicants about the outcome – simple … too many HR/Recruitment Agencies don’t make the final call on application progression. It’s both annoying and rude to see the job ‘reposted’ online and nobody has had the decency to follow through with the process. Yet – they’ll say ‘how wonderful xyx company is/how different’, ‘if you’ll fit in with their so called NEW FANCY WAYS’ – no, I wouldn’t treat anyone like this anytime, yet it’s seems almost ‘normal’ online these days. It’s lazy, lack professionalism.

    HR People don’t use titles on emails – A larger organisation replies and the person in the HR Department doesn’t use their name or title. So .. ‘is the cleaner logging on that day?’ or some random? Very impersonalised service …

    My Pet Peeve … the attachment to “KPI’s”, like it’s the world’s most defining moment if you have or haven’t had these before … and yes I have 100% too, ahhh not good enough to ‘land the job’.. Wtf is that about??? Then the asking $ on salary on application. These are simply ‘tools’ and ‘smokes and mirrors’ so you can say reject people under any ‘reason you feel like that day’.

    I’ve also presented at interviews and the company and/or managers aren’t even ready for me. The appointment time was established days ago and the company isn’t even organised. Strange! But true…

    If you’re a so called market leader in your field … both you and your company would have all the latest communication tools ‘on hand’ and would be able to text to applicants anytime. After-all if my tyre company can remind me about a ‘check-up’, maybe you need new software…

    Be more open minded in your thinking or the manner in which you operate…Don’t assume applicants automatically have email on phone or access to use the phone whilst at work. Some common sense and courtesy would go a long way…



  2. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Tania.

    You make some good points. The whole recruitment process is very much a two-way street – a process where both professionals and employers need to best represent themselves for mutual gain.

    Message Bank – Agreed, if an employer fails to leave a message, it’s on them. To be clear, the type of message bank used, rather than whether the call was answered, was the main issue. With a proper message bank in place, there shouldn’t be a need for a candidate to answer every call. I’d be surprised if an employer was not sympathetic to this.

    Recruitment Agencies – Your concerns here may be more relevant to recruitment agencies. In Fitness, many employers manage their own recruiting process so placement, rather than KPIs, is the goal. I would agree though, that even when recruiting for their own business, not every employer is 100% clear on what they’re looking for or the reality of their expectations.

    Contact applicants about the outcome – A big thumbs up from me on this one. This is something we have long advocated for and made clear in our recent video on job advertising for employers. It’s a common courtesy and goes a long way towards acting like an ’employer of choice’.

    Titles on emails – This is not an issue we’ve encountered and again, maybe more relevant in larger organisations.

    Regarding KPIs – If this refers to employers asking about KPIs in previous roles, I assume it’s to learn more about previous expectations and how you performed against those expectations. On this point, I respectfully disagree. I think that’s a fair question.

    You’ve made some valid points re the professionalism of some recruitment processes. While professionals can do many things to ensure they make the best possible impression, employers (or recruiters) too, should exemplify the attitudes and behaviours they expect of applicants.


  3. Tania says:


    The KPI’s … what I mean is, this isn’t the only way to track a person’s performance, and if you’ve never had the opportunity to experience these in a previous ‘role’. People do hold it against you as a negative, simply saying, ‘oh you’ve not done kpi’s’ and therefore you can’t be trained, or they become narrow minded and fail to see if the applicant has all these other attributes, the kpi’s can be learned skill. Yet they prefer to hold this against applicants as a negative. Yes, I personally have attained 100% kpi’s.

    Simply, nobody is born with kpi’s and at some point, it’s new and is a skill which can be learnt or trained. The word out there is – nobody will give you a chance, yet at some point they forget, they were new once and a person gave them a chance to perform and learn to be successful. It’s more about that.

    It’s the HR person assuming people are screening calls from their ‘unknown’ number and therefore not answering the call as I read it. When there are many reasons people can’t take calls. If they were savvy, the HR person would use a mobile purely for business and ‘write off’ expenses through their accountant. This too would cease the use of the unknown number, be proactive, not reactive to applicants.

    I’ve had way many weird experiences with so called HR professionals than on dating sites. I thought about writing a book about all the sub-par interviews etc I’ve experienced, some are even funny.

    It’s tough out there applying for jobs, not many are show any form of kindness or compassion …


    • Thank you, Tania. That sounds like a book I’d read :).

      If you’re currently looking for roles, I wish wish you every success. Please get in touch if there’s anything we can do to help, including set up a promotion to local employers for you. Regards, D.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s