From an insider’s perspective, I understand why organizations do not personally respond to each applicant. The reason is simple…VOLUME. Hundreds and thousands even of people click “submit” on the job boards for a single position. Interestingly, and frustratingly, at least 80% of the applicants do not meet even the minimum qualifications stated within the ad. It is hard for recruiting professionals to be thoughtful of applicants when the applicants themselves are not at all thoughtful of them.
Here’s my two cents:
Organizations: At a minimum you should have an automated response for people who apply electronically to your open positions. Your response should state that the sheer volume of applicants prohibits you from personally contacting each but that you will reach out to those who appear to be most qualified. If you are a small organization and do not have the resources for an applicant tracking system with automated response features, then include a pre-response in your ad. Employers should, however, absolutely respond to anyone they have interviewed and in a reasonable amount of time – even if you’re still in the decision-making process. This is simple courtesy and there’s no excuse for not doing it.
Applicants: First and foremost, if you do not meet the minimum qualifications either do NOT apply for that position OR provide a cover letter that specifically explains how you have the skills to do the job even though you do not meet their requirements. Secondly, if you do not receive a response from an organization after submitting an application, know that it is not personal. IF the Recruiter reads your resume and believes you to be suitable for the position, he/she will definitely contact you. And thirdly, a Recruiter is only going to read resumes submitted until they have several good candidates. It is not a good use of their time to read everyone’s resume, especially when most are not qualified for the position. This is why it is so important to network and try to find other ways to get your resume in front of hiring managers. The data varies slightly, but most generally agree that 70% to 80% of job offers are a result of networking, not responding to ads online.