What “Not Selected” Really Means After Applying for a Job

What “Not Selected” Really Means After Applying for a Job

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One of the most frustrating experiences for a job seeker is to receive a “not selected” notification just after submitting an application.

The status “not selected” means that an ATS algorithm or a recruiter rejected your application during the screening process. To avoid further rejection, you should optimize your resume to pass the ATS check or make it more compelling to capture the recruiter’s interest.

Let me explain the criteria used to reject your job application and how to improve your resume and increase your chances of success the next time you apply for a position. 

Why Job Boards Like Indeed Often Send an Instant “Not Selected” Notification

According to CareerArc, 40% of recruiters analyze applications with AI algorithms to see whether the resume sent matches the job description. This automated process allows them to save money by pre-selecting candidates.

However, this also means that if your resume was not properly optimized to match the job description, you will get rejected almost instantly. For instance, many job seekers complain on Reddit that they receive an instant “Not Selected” notification when applying for jobs on Indeed.

Candidates are also often rejected for other reasons, such as the recruiter may not have found the application to be a good fit or the employer has put a hold on hiring. Unfortunately, it is impossible to find out why your application was not selected on job boards like Indeed.

3 Steps to Take After You Receive a ‘Not Selected’ Notification

Do not get discouraged! Just because an organization did not hire you for this particular job, it does not mean that you will never get hired.

Here are three tips to increase your chances of getting hired next time:

1. Update Your Resume to Pass the ATS Algorithm Check 

As discussed before, large companies often use tools designed to scan resumes and cover letters for keywords that match the keywords and phrases in the job posting. Applicants often get automatically rejected by these algorithms.

If you want to optimize your resume, I recommend reading my guide on How to Optimize Resumes for ATS Algorithms.

2. Reapply for the Job on Another Job Board or With Direct Application

If the company does not have a no-reapply policy, you might be able to apply for the job on other job boards.

For example, a job posting might be closed on Indeed but still active on the employer’s website. If that’s the case, resubmitting your application directly to the employer might allow you to be reconsidered.

3. Ask The Employer for Feedback 

Some employers may be hesitant to disclose why you were not selected for the job because they may be worried that you will file an employment discrimination claim against them with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is therefore imperative to phrase this question correctly.

Rather than asking why the employer did not hire you, ask the employer for advice on improving your applications to future employers. Start your email by thanking them once more for considering you and letting you know that you have not been selected. Then, ask them if they might have some spare time to give you pointers.

Some employers may be more comfortable providing feedback over the phone, while others may prefer doing it in writing. Therefore, provide the employer with both forms of communication as an option, and let them decide how they wish to provide feedback. 

The Bottom Line

When you are notified that your job application status is “not selected,” the employer will not hire you. It may be hard to know why you were not hired as there are many reasons employers reject applications, and they do not always provide feedback.

It may be hard to accept, but you can use this as a learning opportunity for prospects by tactfully trying to establish from the employer why they did not hire you. Edit your resume and cover letter with each job application to highlight your relevant skills and match keywords in the job listing.  

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About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a labor market expert. He is a mathematician who graduated from EPFL.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job board where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.