The rudeness of not responding with a "Thank you for applying"

The Rudeness of Not Responding with a “Thank you for applying …”

Searching for a job is hard enough without all the rejection. I’m not talking about a reply saying that you didn’t get the job. I’m talking about getting no reply at all! You might expect this kind of rudeness from a secular company. Surely, Christians would do better! But do Christian organizations and Christian-owned businesses do better?

In the past few months, several of my family members have been searching for new jobs. One of our daughters is an appreciated professor at a west coast Christian university. She recently applied for professor positions at several Christian universities closer to her Texas roots—universities that prominently display on their websites that they proclaim Jesus Christ to their students and to the world. Our daughter’s applications went to the colleges through their websites.

Guess what—only 1 in 10 responded with an email saying they received the application! Consider how disconcerting it is to press the “send” button and not know if what you “sent” went to the designated recipient. Did it disappear in someone’s spam file? A simple reply would convey the unspoken message, “You matter to Jesus and to us.” And what about after you’ve applied or even interviewed with an organization? After having several interviews and a campus visit, our daughter heard back from that college—3 months later! And the email was a cold form letter.

Another family member applied for an administrative position with a DFW area Christian organization back in March and has yet to receive one word from them. Not even a, “Thank you for applying, but we have decided to continue our search.” I applied in the spring to a Christian-owned organization without receiving an acknowledgment that they had received my application until I asked them in an email several days later.

I hear the “yes, but” arguments out there. There may be hundreds of applications received for one position. Yet, I suspect those in Human Resources know how to create an “automatic response” email—you know the one that says, “I’ll be out of my office from July 10-17 on a Caribbean cruise. I’ll get back to you next week.” Shouldn’t Christians care enough about people to set up an automatic response to job applications? One that at least says, “Thank you for applying.”

I work part-time for a Christian-owned Information Technology company (Prototype IT). This is not a Christian ministry organization but a profitable business. Every application we receive for a job, even unsolicited applications, receives a very kind and courteous email saying, “Thank you for applying for a job with our company. Your credentials are impressive; however, we don’t have a job position open at this time. Best wishes on your continued job search.” Doesn’t that represent Christ better than silence or insult?

Do Christians in an organization have any excuse for such rudeness? Doesn’t Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate” apply in the workplace as well as in the church?!

Read or listen to “Counter the “Work Is Secular” Infection.”

More Resources:

Your Work Matters to God by Sue Bohlin

Perspective Bible Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians (read online)

Perspective Bible Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians (download pdf)

An Honest Day’s Work

How to Glorify Christ in the Workplace.

Melanie Newton is the founder of Joyful Walk Ministries, an online ministry that helps women learn to study the Bible for themselves and grow their Bible-teaching skills to lead others on a joyful walk with Jesus. Melanie has written many Bible study guides (available on and her website) and presented insightful messages to large groups of women. All of her BIble Studies are available as books on Melanie is wife to Ron Newton (“Integrity at Work” ministry), loves to be outside in her garden, and enjoys her yearly fix of boiled crawfish.


  • Laura M.

    I agree

    I had not been on Tapestry in a few weeks and just found your post. I agree completely with your thoughts here. (I have blogged on it myself, and my post is attached as my homepage link.) My personal experience, I hate to say, is that Christian people/organizations are often worse than the secular world when it comes to "common courtesy".   I actually could have been more negative in my post, but did not want to be, and only gave one example of my experience with a local church. I think it is particularly bad when a church can not demonstrate basic courtesy by at least acknowledging people who contact them. Let alone companies/organizations that are run by Christians, or just individual Christians.

    Perhaps we need to start modeling courteous behavior as individual Christians. When someone e-mails or calls us, do we respond? Do we RSVP? Etc.

    I've tried to analyze this a bit. How can Christians be so discourteous? Within the church or Christian organizations, perhaps the answer is that we are taking each other for granted. As believers, we have just come to expect certain things… and have thus forgotten the importance of saying thanks, responding, etc. (?)

    Thanks for your post! I hope others will read it and take it to heart.

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