Seeking a career opportunity can be a physically, mentally, and emotionally draining activity, for it entails constant, active participation from the applicant.
Spilling more fuel to the fire, job application statuses can sometimes be linguistically murky that they become a source of apprehension among desperately hopeful candidates.
To make sense of this concern, our article today caters to the various meanings behind job application statuses used by employers in the recruitment process.
These statuses are what we can either read in job advertisement platforms or jargon heard from recruitment agents when giving updates to applicants.
What are the most common job application statuses?
“In process/progress, applied, or under review” are neutral job status indicators. “Incomplete application, position withdrawn/closed/filled, or for future consideration” are negative ones. Whereas, “process completed, shortlisted, and hired” contain positive connotations.
13 Job Application Statuses and their meanings
Inasmuch as we want to land on a job as quickly as possible, our minds may tend to create various interpretations of word meanings based on our emotional states.
Put simply, we may likely read too much between the lines when we are in a state of anxiety and scarcity, which may or may not be a good thing.
For once, apprehension toward a job application can be beneficial because it keeps our blood pumping for future results and events.
But, it can also become an unhealthy feeling when we start to misinterpret ordinary words and phrases that do not necessarily imply anything bad at all.
So, let’s have a look at the different job application statuses that we may encounter during a job application procedure.
In the next section, you will find expressions that mean the job application is still ongoing or continuing at the time of reading or hearing the status.
Since these words and phrases are used when an application process is still underway, there’s no need to panic upon receiving these indicators.
1. In Process/Progress
A job application is described as “in process” or “in progress” when an applicant has completed the preliminary steps as instructed by a recruiter or described on a job advertisement platform.
For more detailed information on replying to job ads on online platforms, you may check our other article covering the topic here: How to reply to a Craigslist Job Posting.
Application “in progress” does not mean anything negative nor positive just yet. It simply is a remark that informs an applicant that the prospective employer is still reviewing the application.
This status can be achieved after the candidate has followed all the necessary procedures stated in the job posting, such as successfully submitting a resume and cover letter to the personnel in charge.
To be able to know how to send a resume via e-mail, job applicants may need to understand the process of sending this document as an e-mail file attachment.
But, as some companies follow certain stages in their recruitment process which could be automatically tracked online, application documents may also be submitted directly through advertising websites.
So, if and when you see that your application is still “in process” or “in progress,” all you have to do is to patiently wait for the next update from the employer.
2. Under review
The job application status that says “under review” means that the information and documents coming from the applicant are still being screened by the employer.
This may also suggest that the application is being examined all together with the other applications that the employer has received.
Depending on the urgency of the job position to be filled in, an application may stay in this status within one to four weeks upon the submission of necessary documents.
Moreover, the “under review” status may also mean that the candidate has already submitted his or her cover letter and resume, and an initial exam has already taken place.
Just like organizing resumes, writing a cover letter has its purpose in correspondence, as well as its own can of worms.
The purpose of a cover letter is simply to introduce yourself by summarizing relevant skill sets and professional experiences to a prospective organization.
If you’re interested in knowing the nooks and crannies of cover letters, please feel free to have a look at our other resource text that covers this issue at length here: Cover Letter Dos and Don’ts.
When an advertising platform indicates that one has “applied” for a posted job, it means that the applicant has already taken the preliminary application processes.
But, it does not essentially mean that the employer has already reviewed the application, nor has it already decided whether one can proceed to the succeeding steps.
If you have not applied for the job, yet the status indicates so, then you may want to try to find out who else could have had access to your personal information and credentials.
Or, it could also just be a system glitch that may disappear after some time. It could also be a mistake on the employer’s end, wherein an inexperienced staff, for instance, may have erroneously updated the tracking system.
But, in its entirety, this does job application status would not cause any harm to the applicant, at least not unless the job role being applied for is an illicit one.
4. Application received
Another application status that we may encounter is something that says “application received.”
When an application is received, it means that an advertising platform or an employer has gained access to a person’s application materials.
This status does not necessarily mean that a human, such as a recruitment agent, has already reviewed the application.
Some job advertisement platforms can automatically report the receipt of job applications once they get through the employers’ recruitment system.
So, you might have to wait a little longer until a representative from the company may inform you of whether you can proceed to the next phase.
When an application status says “interviewing,” this means that the employer is actively screening job seekers that have passed the initial recruitment procedures.
As this is the case, the status suggests that the job role has not been filled in yet, but the chances of hireability may decrease when you see a higher number of applicants being interviewed.
Nevertheless, the job position is still worth trying especially if you think it is your niche. So, you can’t just skip this particular job simply because the employer is talking to a pool of talents.
If your credentials, experience, and interest are not that compatible with a particular job containing this status, then it is better to keep seeking a more appropriate one.
Although you don’t have to be alarmed by the “interviewing” status, confusion may likely arise if a job posting gets removed before an interview, which leans more toward being a negative indicator.
Job application statuses with negative connotations
Since we’ve already discussed the statuses that may not substantially mean anything just yet, knowing some verbiage with negative connotations would also be practical.
This next section lists down the status updates that should prompt an applicant to search for another job opportunity.
6. Incomplete application
“Incomplete application” suggests that some pieces of information or documents are missing in the sense that the target employer has not successfully obtained such materials.
This status may also mean that a job seeker has not fully committed to the application procedures because he or she may have deliberately stopped mid-process.
In the sense of academic admissions, “incomplete application” may also mean that a student applicant has failed to submit all the required information, credentials, or transaction fees.
As large-scale employers and institutions often get inundated with bulk applications, chances of getting hired or admitted do decrease when one incompletely processes his or her application.
However, smaller organizations may have the time to reach out and follow up on incomplete applications; therefore, you might still receive a call or e-mail even if you haven’t completed your application.
7. Position Withdrawn
A “withdrawn position” suggests that the employer has stopped accepting applications for a particular job role.
Oftentimes, the reason is not disclosed to the public; however, it can be released to a pre-existing applicant for proper guidance.
A position may be withdrawn when an employer may have to edit the job description or when there is either a surplus or shortage of candidates.
If you have an existing application for a job post that says “position withdrawn,” it is better to try your luck with another prospective employer and move on instead.
This can be a wiser decision to make especially when you haven’t heard from anyone from the company or the advertising platform between one to four weeks after you’ve applied for the role.
Typically, job postings are available for up to thirty days on most job advertising platforms.
8. Position Closed
A job position may be taken down or “closed” when an employer is no longer accepting nor willing to accept further applications from job seekers.
More particularly with entry-level positions, which often entail a higher volume of applications than decision-maker roles, the position can get closed sooner than later.
Of course, we cannot discount the possibility that the employer has already found a suitable person for the vacant role when this is the job status.
You can either wait for the position to be opened once again or, better yet, move forward to your next prospective employer.
Unless you’re applying for a mid-to-high level management position that has an extremely attractive offer, it would be wiser to do choose the latter.
9. Position Filled
A clearer and more straightforward phrase than the previous one, “position filled” indicates that you can no longer apply for a job because someone else has already been hired for the role.
Although this status could be disappointing for a hopeful job seeker, it is also beneficial in the sense that it is a straightforward remark.
With this, an applicant is not left hanging by a thread as he or she gets immediately informed of the job’s availability or status.
Thus, knowing right away that a position has been filled in saves a candidate’s waiting time and application effort.
10. For future consideration
If a job status says “for future consideration,” it means that an existing application is not successful at the moment.
This phrase suggests the idea that your application has been “shelved” or set aside by the employer for some reason.
It could be that although you have demonstrated suitability for the job role, someone else has met more of the requirements, skill set, and experience being sought.
If the job is attractive enough, keep your lines open as you could be the next person to be contacted in case the originally selected person or the employer changes their mind.
Job application statuses with positive connotations
Lastly, we’ll also go over some job application statuses that could reduce an applicant’s apprehension and even give them a silver lining.
If there are statuses with neutral and negative connotations, apparently, there are also ones that could truly make us smile and keep going.
11. Shortlisted for X
When a job application status says “shortlisted for x” (e.g., for a final interview, technical interview, or skill examination), then a candidate has certainly passed a recruitment phase.
Of course, we can’t simply be too confident and complacent after being endorsed for an interview because it does not suggest a successful hire yet.
But, in the context of online applications, which actually entail a multitude of competitors, this can already be a good sign.
So, you had better brace yourself by religiously practicing how to respond to interview questions, particularly behavioral ones, that a hiring officer or manager may ask.
Behavioral questions are especially tricky in the sense that the evaluation process is subjective rather than objective.
Communicative skills, facial expressions, voice tone, and portrayal of confidence are the key elements in which job seekers can practice improving prior to any interview.
12. Process Completed
In job applications, when the status says that a “process is completed”, it means that an applicant has successfully carried out a task entailed by the application.
This phrase may either appear after every successful stage, as well as at the end of the whole application procedure.
However, it does not automatically mean that the applicant is already hired by the employer because it is only the “process” that has been “completed.”
When this message prompt appears in an online job application platform, the applicant is often advised to proceed with the next step of the application.
Or, he or she may be instructed to wait for further instructions by the personnel in charge via call or e-mail.
To increase your chances of getting hired, always keep your lines open so that future transactions will flow smoothly.
Finally, the most widely anticipated status that can uplift a job seeker’s mood is the one that says “hired.”
When a candidate gets “hired,” it means that the most crucial and taxing parts of the recruitment procedures have already been carried out successfully.
These parts include the encoding of personal information, skill examinations, behavioral evaluations, background checking, and interviews.
This status also suggests that the application requirements such as the submission of credentials have already been reviewed and accepted by the employer.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Job Application Status Meanings”
What does “job status” mean?
In the context of human resource management, “job status” serves as an indicator that informs job applicants of the condition of a job posting.
What is the difference between “under review” and “under consideration”?
In the realm of recruitment and selection, “under review” suggests that an application is being scrutinized by the employer on a surface level. Whereas, “under consideration” means that the employer has already shortlisted the strongest candidates that are suitable for a job position.
How long does it take for a job application to be “under review”?
Depending on the urgency of the job position being sought by an employer, job applications could remain “under review” between one and four weeks upon successful application.
Knowing the meaning behind job application statuses is crucial for all job seekers in general because it helps them steer clear of misinterpretations.
This also means that we can get rid of our restlessness because we would be properly guided with the best decisions to make and actions to take in the process.
Whether you’re someone actively seeking a job or someone who simply wants to get the hang of recruitment-related whatnots, Linguaholic offers content that explicitly covers such learning areas.
Hope to see you again on our next post!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.