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Why Don't Companies Give More Feedback When You Don't Get the Job?

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Dear Career --

I know this isn't a problem only military spouses have, but why can't companies just tell me when they've determined I'm not the right candidate? And is it really too much to ask that they give me some direct feedback as to why?

I already feel like I work on a short timeline as a military spouse when applying for jobs, and all of the waiting to hear absolutely nothing is beyond frustrating.

I've followed all the recommended rules: I follow up within a week by email or phone. On the phone, they simply say, "We're still going through applications," and I rarely get any response at all to an email. What am I missing?

-- Waiting in Washington

Dear Waiting --

I hear you. I know it's frustrating to wait on responses for jobs. And I definitely agree, the tight timelines don't do any favors for military spouse professionals. You're also right in thinking that this isn't something only military spouses experience.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager or HR professional. Depending on the size of the organization to which you're applying, they could receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for each position. Even if the position you're applying for seems specialized, just remember that not every application they receive is as well qualified for the position as you are (obviously), but that doesn't keep people from submitting themselves. And all of those applications have to be sorted. Multiply that by the number of jobs they're trying to fill at any given moment and, well, you get the picture.

Responding personally to each and every candidate just may not be possible.

That said -- keep doing what you do. There will likely be times that they can respond appropriately, or someone will take the time to give you feedback on why you weren't selected, and those opportunities are priceless. They're well worth the time you spend doing that follow-up and, you never know, professional follow-up may be what makes you stand out from the other candidates and gets you selected for a future position.

Best of luck in your search!

-- Career

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Dear Career tackles the trickiest careers questions from real military spouses with advice from spouse career experts at In Gear Career.

A part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, In Gear Career chapters provide professional development and networking to career-minded military spouses located at military installations around the world.

Want to find a local In Gear Career chapter or learn more about what In Gear Career can do for you? Find us here!

Have a career question you’d like to submit? Email our experts at

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