What Does It Mean for a Job Application to Be “On Hold”?

What Does It Mean for a Job Application to Be “On Hold”?

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On hold is one of those ambiguous job application statuses that can make you feel like you’re in limbo. You send off your resume, cover letter, and application and wait…and wait…and wait. Then, a few days or weeks later, you get an auto-response from the company stating they’ve placed your application on hold, yet does that mean they’re not interested, or are they still reviewing applications?

Job applications are put “on hold” when the hiring manager is no longer actively reviewing the resumes of candidates. The employer may intend on bringing the job back up at a later date to continue the hiring process or close all job applications definitively.

In this article, I’ll explore this job application status in more depth and provide tips on what you can do going forward.

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Common Reasons for Putting Job Applications on Hold

Here are some of the most common reasons why hiring managers might put your application on hold:

  • They’re interviewing candidates in-person for the position. This is particularly common if the position requires in-person meetings with clients, peers, or other employees. Putting your application on hold until after the in-person interviews will give them all the information they need to decide.
  • The hiring manager doesn’t want to decide who to hire yet. They may be waiting for more data or something else before deciding on the position.
  • You were selected, and they’re waiting on a background check and approval from the hiring manager. Positions that require a higher level of security clearance are often selected through a more stringent process that can take weeks or even months.
  • The budget for the position hasn’t been approved yet. Sometimes, the hiring manager might want to hire you, but they can’t until the budget is approved. Larger organizations with multiple layers of approval can take months to get the budget approved and finally hire someone.
  • The company is reviewing applications for a specific position in batches. Reviewing applications in batches is a common practice, particularly for large organizations that receive a high volume of applications. By putting your application on hold, they can review all the applications at once and decide who to interview.

How To Tell If Your Job Application Status Is “On Hold”

There are a few ways to tell if your job application is on hold:

  • You haven’t heard anything back from the employer after a few weeks.
  • The job listing has been taken down.
  • Contact the employer directly to inquire about the status of your application. You can do this through a quick email or a phone call.

Should You Follow Up When an Application Is on Hold?

There’s no guarantee that following up will result in a job offer. Sometimes, the employer may appreciate your persistence and even offer you the job. However, there’s also a chance that they view your follow-up as being too pushy.

You should follow up when an application is on hold to inquire about its status, though be sure to do so professionally and politely. It’s important the hiring manager knows you’re still interested in the job and willing to help move the process along as much as possible. 

If you do decide to follow up, avoid being too pushy or aggressive, as this could harm your chances of getting the job.

Things You Can Do To Keep Your Job Search Moving Forward

Having your job application put on hold is not the end of the world. There are still things you can do to keep your job search moving forward:

  • Review your resume to ensure it’s up to date and accurate. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your resume, now is the time to do it.
  • Apply for other jobs. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The more jobs you apply for, the better your chances are of getting hired.
  • Reach out to your network. Let your friends and family know that you’re looking for a job. They might know someone hiring or be able to give you some good advice.
  • Stay positive. The job search process can be discouraging, but staying positive is important. Remember that the right job for you is out there, and you will find it eventually.


Even though it can be frustrating not knowing why your application is on hold, try not to get too hung up on it. Focus your energy on following up and moving the process along. That way, you’ll have a much better shot at getting the job when they finally get around to moving your application forward.

Additionally, don’t forget to keep applying for other jobs and networking in the meantime. Eventually, you’ll land the perfect job that was meant for you.