Feedback on job applications… are you kidding?



In all schools it is seen as an essential component to learning, vital in the formative growth of students. Without feedback, how can there be development?

“How do you give feedback to your students?” ask administrators.

And, administrators do their best to give feedback to teachers too… albeit in ways that are far from perfect.

Feedback is crucial.

So, why is it that when teachers painstakingly spend hours preparing CVs, pouring their soul into covering letters and holding their dreams in their fingertips as they press send on that email… their chances of any feedback are non-existent?

Days or weeks waiting, wondering, wishing.

Then, out of the blue… the inbox reveals the clinical phrase “we regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful”.

But why? The teachers ask… what is wrong with me? Is my CV crap, is my experience insufficient, was my covering letter poorly worded, am I the wrong type of person?

Well… who knows? And fat chance of fixing any of those issues next time. Learning from the experience? Non-existent.

So, where is the feedback then? Has anyone ever received feedback on their job application?


  1. Jane

    Great question! The answer is no. It would be nice if they just had a tick list and ticked off the reasons: CV issues, not enough experience, too much experience, not the right kind of experience, cover letter insufficient, we didn’t have time to look at your cv, we hired from within… Although in my experience, it would just be nice if they let me know that they even received my application. I have found that many schools do not even acknowledge receipt of applications, let alone the fact that you did not get the job. How can we change this? But then again, I guess it also tells us something about the school itself and what they value, doesn’t it?

  2. sherrattsam

    Your last point is very important. As an indicator of the school’s culture, or at least its leadership culture, the way applications are dealt with and responded to (or not) is possibly top of the list!

    • Jane

      Interestingly enough, I had a skype interview the other day. At the end of the interview, the administrator said, “we’d like to give you some feedback and tell you how you’ve done.” He then proceeded to list the positive parts of the interview and how he felt about my answers as regards his school. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with appreciation for such a straightforward and honest appraisal. Obviously, this is a school where I would like to work! But it also tells me what is valued.

  3. Pak Liam

    I think a big reason is that they risk libel. There’s many things that cannot be said, but also sometimes the process of recruiting is such that intuition or gut feelings are used for making decisions, but you cannot really explain that a certain person does not ‘fit’ the school culture well. Another factor could be time, I have sometimes received in excess of a 100 resumes, it is just not feasible to reply to everyone of them, particularly as then some people will reply back to argue the point.

    You may have spent hours on your resume, but some people really do just send junk out, splatter gun style! It’s a weary and thankless task trying to sort the wheat from the chaff. (and do not even start me on the unsolicited, dishonest or unqualified applications we receive, I refuse to even reply to them, if they cannot be bothered to read a job description carefully, then I cannot be bothered to interact with them.)

    Having said all that, I am sure that if this blog is a reflection of the quality of your resume, I would be contacting you in a hurry anyway!

    • sherrattsam

      All very true. I guess there should be layers of communication and feedback. Once you reach a certain stage in the recruitment process perhaps you are more deserving of some good feedback.

      This posting was not really provoked by my own applications and rejections… I have seen a number of colleagues in the last few years go through the experience of thinking they were in with a shot of a job they really wanted, only to get that cold rejection! Of course, I have experienced that too also though!!!

      Thanks for your thoughts about the blog – it means a lot.


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