Too many of us have felt that creeping disappointment when we apply for a job and don’t hear back. It’s disheartening. What’s worse though, is not hearing back after going through the whole interview process. You took the time to prepare for that interview, what is an extra two minutes to the school, to send a quick ‘thanks but no thanks’ email?

As recruiters, and educators ourselves, we know only too well how often this happens. In order to find out why, we have grilled some headteachers and other recruiters, done our background research, and found some pretty interesting reasons. Hopefully they’ll offer some insight so if you don’t hear back from a school, you can better understand why.


1. The job might not be available after all

The recruiting process can start and stop and be interrupted along the way. Maybe the company started interviewing external candidates but then had a couple of internal people pop up. Or the funding for the position has come into question. Maybe the teacher that was leaving decided to stay, or the school changed their mind and decided to restructure instead of replace. There could be lots of reasons like this which have nothing to do with your suitability as a candidate.

2. You’re still in the running

At Teacher Horizons we might send a school up to 10 candidates for any one position. So could our competitors, and then there are those hundred candidates who apply directly. It takes schools a long time to sift through, and even once they have whittled it down to one or two people, it takes time to make a final choice, send over the package details and give the chosen teacher their week to decide. In the meantime, it’s in the school’s interest to ‘keep the other applicants warm’ in case their choice falls through. So don’t always give up the ghost…you could be in a final shortlist and still could end up with that job.

Read our blog on 10 things to ask a school at your interview

phones3. They feel the guilt

No one likes the thought of emailing or calling someone to tell them that they have not made the cut.  Especially after they’ve met and spoken to the person they are letting down. Although it seems like school administration can be brutal, they do have a conscience and may just be feeling downright bad about it.  Therefore they might just procrastinate for a while, and then maybe eventually tell themselves “that teacher was good so they would have found something else by now… I won’t bother them with a rejection”.

4. They don’t want to be asked for feedback

Well of course, any driven individual will want to know why they didn’t get a job, in order to improve for next time. This is a recruiters nightmare. Sometimes the reason is something that the teacher is not able to change like their personality, or even their native language or accent when it comes to teaching ESL students. A school does not want to offend you cause an argument, so might find it preferable to keep quiet.

Read our blog on getting your Teacher Horizons profile photo right 

reject5. The head is having to consult

In some schools, we find headteachers have to consult the board of governers before they are able to make a decision on any candidate. This involves sending off a request which can take days or weeks to come back, depending on how long the chain of command is. So it may be that the head has chosen you, but it takes a while for the board to OK their decision.

6. They are just too busy

Schools are filled with the most wonderful people on Earth, but they are hectic places. The position you went for could have had 300 applicants, and maybe 10 of you interviewed.  Without a mail merge, that’s an hour of email writing for a head, and sometimes it can just be too much time out of their day. From my experience this one is unlikely, but I felt I had to add it in as a final possibility to cover all bases. Fingers crossed this isn’t the case for you!


We hope this helps ease your pain if you are waiting for feedback! For more advice like this, see our blogs on Skype interview tips and CV advice. To get started with us, and hopefully have more success than before, set up your free profile here!

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Teacher Horizons Blog Manager and Recruitment Adviser.
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