The application process is a long and tiring road. It requires patience, diligence, and sometimes mind reading. Well, not really mind reading. But applicants must have a penchant for reading between the lines, as interviewers, hiring managers, and recruiters don’t always say what they mean.

To drive our point home, here are 7 (usual) things HR officers say and what they actually mean:

1. “You’ll fit well for the job, but we’re still looking at other candidates.”

MEANING: “There’s someone much better than you, but if he/she doesn’t accept our offer, you’re next in line.”


This isn’t the case all the time; for some, this can also mean, “I think you’re it. It’s just that we have to finish the round of interviews. Protocol, you know?” If this is what the HR personnel meant, good for you. But how can you tell? Analyze the hiring manager’s body language the entire time you’re together.

2. “We’ll keep your resume on file for future opportunities.”

MEANING: “Your resume will be stored in our database and we’ll probably forget about you as soon as you leave the building.”


Hiring managers say things like this to soothe a rejection. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t bank on it. Unless you reapply after a few months, they won’t even know your file is already in their database.

3. “Salary depends on experience.”

MEANING: “We already have a set offer that we’ll most likely not change.”

Salary
There are times that the offer does change depending on the candidate, but it won’t adjust by much. If you’re too good, then they won’t be able to afford you.

4. “You’ll hear from us soon.”

MEANING: “If you’re accepted, we’ll call you ASAP. But if not, we’ll send you a template rejection letter when we have the time.”

things HR officers say that take a moment to understand
Soon can mean different things in the job hunt process; it can be a day, a week, or a month. Again, to have the right expectation, you must read the HR staff’s body language.

5.“Where else are you interviewing?”

MEANING: “Just how interested are you in this line of work?”


If you’re applying for different positions in different companies, don’t let the hiring manager know. You must let the interviewer know that your eyes are set on just one path. You can give a vague answer like, “That’s not something I can share, but I am interviewing elsewhere. I’m just keeping my options open.”

6. “Have you ever had problems with your superiors?”

MEANING: “Let’s see if you struggle with management. Come and rant about your old boss. I dare you.”


It is never a good idea to share details about a conflict you had with your previous employers. And you should NEVER rant about your old boss. Answer with, “I won’t call it ‘problems’. At times we don’t see eye-to-eye, we talk about it in a professional manner.”

7. “I received your name and contact details through a confidential source.”

MEANING: “I found your details online.”


It’s no secret that recruiters use the internet—social media, to be exact—to look for viable candidates. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you keep your online accounts updated and professional.

You must always put your best foot forward. No matter how many times you’re rejected, you must brush yourself off and continue the search for your dream job. Get our cover letter and resume writing services and have your awesome self ready at all times to face all the obstacles the job hunt process will throw your way.

Sources: Glassdoor, Forbes, Monster