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This is why recruiters ’ghost’ you after you send a job application and why they pick younger job-seekers

File picture: Pexels

File picture: Pexels

Published Apr 10, 2022


The job hunt in South Africa is tough. With the unemployment rate at 35.3% and the youth unemployment rate at a staggering 65.5%, job-seekers are becoming more desperate to put food on the table and have an income. Despite this, recruiters continue to leave job-seekers in the dark about their application. But why is this?

IOL spoke to the director and associate for mining at Nomin8 Recruitment, Linda Herbst, on professional ’ghosting’, ageism and how job-seekers can follow up on their job application.

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Professional ’ghosting’

Herbst said that a lack of response from a company is double-edged sword.

“Employers do not always respond to applicants, which is not a great look if you are looking to attract top talent. On the other hand, employers and agents alike are inundated with applications of candidates that do not even meet the minimum requirements of the advertised roles,” said Herbst, adding that it became a full-time job just to manage applications.

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Herbst said it should be standardised on all job posts that if a response is not received within a certain time frame, the application was not successful.

She said that the reason why ’ghosting’ happens is that the HR department is often waiting on line managers to give them a shortlist of candidates to interview, and simply do not have an update to give the candidates.


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The elephant in the room when it comes to job-seeking is ageism. Older job-seekers often find themselves having a harder time landing a job.

Herbst said this is linked to qualifications and technical skills.

“Older job seekers generally do not have the educational qualifications that the younger job-seekers do. The older generation left school, sometimes without a grade 12, started at the bottom and worked their way through the ranks of companies gaining invaluable experience, where the younger generation get degrees first.

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“In times past someone with a grade 10, and a trade could easily find a job, where nowadays even with a trade, you need a grade 12, and often times a diploma as well, before your CV will even be looked at.”

Herbst said a big contributing factor to this is that the younger job seekers are more technologically advanced than the older job seekers, which she says plays a huge part in the ever-challenging technological workspace.

How and when to follow up with the HR department

When we apply for jobs, we tend to wait about a week to follow up with the HR department on the process of our application. But Herbst said the employer needs more time.

“I think it is important to allow the employer reasonable time to process applications. I would say a minimum of two weeks before a call to the HR department or email recipient for a follow-up. Companies have processes that they have to follow and adhere to, to find the best fit for the role, and this process can take time and involve many role players.”

The protocol of accepting and rejecting a job-seeker

It is worth noting that with the POPI act in place, it is required by law to let candidates know what is happening with their application.

Herbst took us through the process of accepting or rejecting a job-seeker.

“If an application is received and you do not have a current or possible future role for the candidate, you are required to let the applicant know that you will be deleting their application, by means of an email to them, we call it a ‘regret and delete’ email.”

“If an application is received and there is no suitable role for them at present, but you would like to retain their details to discuss future opportunities, then you would send them an email stating just that, we call it a ‘regret and retain’ email.

“If you do have a role for an application received, then you will obtain permission from the candidate to share their details. We do this telephonically, and follow up with an email for our records.”


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