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“In progress” on a Job Application — Here’s What It Means

“In progress” on a Job Application — Here’s What It Means

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Once upon a time, people sent off job applications at the post office and then had to wait to receive a letter of response in the mail.

They would be sent a job offer, a rejection, or an invitation to an interview.

Now when we apply for a job, we can usually get regular updates about what stage of the review process our application is in.

How? Well, if you have applied for a job through an online portal, there is probably an “application status” somewhere on your candidate profile. 

Different employers and the different portals they run their recruiting through will use different terms to inform applications about what is happening.

Some of the most common status designations are received, in progress, interview, offer, hired, or closed. 

Some of these statuses are more self-explanatory than others, and “in progress” can be a confusing one.


What does “in progress” mean on a job application

When a job application is “in progress” it means it has been received by the hiring department and is currently under consideration. An “in progress” application is under review. No decision has yet been made about whether the candidate in question will be invited to an interview, offered the job, or turned down. 

Once you have worked through all the difficult things about applying for a job, such as figuring out what “place of residence” on a job application means, and determining the meaning of “course of study” on a job application, you’ll be left wondering where you stand. 

If your application is listed as “in progress,” you might wonder what this means. Unfortunately, you may not be able to work out exactly who is looking at your submission and what stage of a company’s HR review your application has reached. 

That said, knowing that it is currently being considered for compatibility with the advertised position means two things for certain.

First, that it has been received and hasn’t gotten lost in the mail system or in the webbings of the internet. Second, you have not been rejected and should receive an answer in due course. 

If you are wondering what the usual candidate review stages are that employers go through, this article will give you a helpful overview of the standard applicant assessment process. 


Job application status: “received” vs. “in progress”

No two hiring processes are identical. And this goes for everything, from small details like what a “unique identifier” on a job application is to bigger things like how formal the interview process is.

This makes it difficult to know exactly what is happening to your carefully assembled application once you have submitted it to a potential employer. 

That said, there are enough similarities between most HR protocols for assessing candidates that knowing an up to date “status” can give you a pretty good idea about where you stand. 

Knowing how close an employer is to extending an offer to a candidate to fill a vacant position may give you some peace of mind as you await a final decision regarding your own application.

For these reasons, it is worth learning the meaning behind application statuses.  

The “received” status means a potential employer acknowledges that your submissions have reached their desk…whether in actual hardcopy form or in a digital/metaphorical sense. 

As soon as an application status updates to “received,” you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that there isn’t anything else you can do for the time being. Your hard work is done, and you can rest easy until you are contacted by the company you have applied to.

Do remember to regularly check both your email and the online application portal and to keep your phone charged and on your person during business hours. You never know when you might get that all-important call. 


Job application status: “under consideration” vs. “in progress”

Not all employers will use the same terminology on their application portals and forms, and in their correspondence with candidates. 

If you receive an email from a hiring manager at a company you have applied to work at, it may state that your application is “under consideration,” “active,” “under review,” or “in process.” It might also say that your status is “applied,” which means exactly what it sounds like. 

For all intents and purposes, these designations mean the same thing as “in progress.”

Your application has been received and no decision has yet been made about whether to hire you. 

However, there is a slight difference. An application might show up as “in progress” as soon as it is registered on an employer’s system because they are not using the label “received.” 

When an application is “under consideration,” however, you can be certain that it has moved on from “received” and is now actively being looked at by someone with the power to make hiring decisions. 


The meaning of the job application status “interview in progress”

If your job application status shows up as “interview in progress” you’ve come across yet another common use of the term “in progress.” 

When interviews are “in progress” it means that certain candidates have been offered an invitation to attend an interview and have accepted or rejected these invitations.

This status means the interviews are presently being conducted. 

If your application status reads, “interview in progress” but you have not received correspondence about scheduling an interview, you may want to get in touch with the hiring department to clarify what is happening with your application. 

Don’t worry, though.

There are a number of reasons why you might not have received an invitation to interview despite the fact that the status of your online application has changed. 

One possibility is that the hiring department changed the status to “interview in progress” as soon as they sent out or made decisions about whom to invite.

They may be sending old-school invitations in the mail, and you just haven’t received yours yet.

Alternatively, an email may have ended up in your spam folder, so make sure you always check this before getting in touch with your potential future employer. 

Most likely of all is that they have made a decision about whom to interview but have not yet reached out to candidates on the phone or sent out emails.

The best course of action is to wait between 1–2 business days after the status of your application changes before getting in touch to ask for clarification. 

The good news is that if your application had been rejected, your status would have changed to “unsuccessful” or some equivalent designation.

So, if yours has updated to “interview in progress,” unless there has been some mistake, you will soon have the chance to prove yourself to the hiring committee in person.  


The meaning of the job application status “in progress” after an interview

You might have reached this point in the article and be thinking, “Hang on a minute, I’ve had my interview and my application status is still ‘in progress’…what’s going on?” 

Essentially, if your application is marked “in progress” even though you have already had an interview, you can assume that the hiring committee is either still conducting interviews or is reflecting and deliberating after the interviews. 

Employers do not all use equally efficient hiring management programmes.

Some are easier to use and gather more information than others.

For example, some require you to know the meaning of “division” on a job application, because they so comprehensively collect details about candidates.

Others just need your name and contact details and leave gathering the rest to the in-person interview. 

The bigger and more corporate a company is, the more likely they are to use a standardized application portal.

Additionally, the more standardized a hiring process is, the more advanced the technology being used to communicate with candidates is. 

Many multinationals operate their own platforms for communicating with candidates and employees.

These are likely to be user-friendly and clear. They often even update automatically when information about the next round of the hiring process is entered into the internal system by company decision-makers in leadership positions

The smaller and less “tech-y” a company is, the more likely they are to provide fewer updates about the hiring process.

If your application has never changed from “in progress,” despite having been offered, accepted, and attended an interview, don’t worry.

That may just be standard procedure. 

It’s best not to try to get in touch with your potential employer immediately to ask what this means.

If you’ve been interviewed, you are on the hiring committee’s radar, and they will be in touch in due course. 

After all, interviewing and making an offer are important processes that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so the fact that a committee is taking a while to decide on a path forward isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 


The meaning of the job application status “offer in progress”

Another type of “in progress” that might appear in an application status has that wonderful word “offer” in front of it. 

If your application is labelled “offer in progress,” it means that you have been offered the job (or a job) but have not yet responded. Basically, the ball is now in your court to either accept or reject the offered position. 

If your status on an applicant profile has changed to “offer in progress” but you haven’t yet been contacted by the company you’ve applied to work for, you should wait before getting in touch with them. 

If 1–2 business days pass without a call or email from your prospective employer, you can send the hiring department an email to inquire about the status of your application.