What does your online application submission status actually mean

What Does Your Online Job Application Submission Status Actually Mean?

It’s one of the most popular ways to apply for a job online and it’s used by large, multi-national companies around the world.  The thing is, you may never have heard of it.  Unlike LinkedIn or Monster, this online system doesn’t want you, the job seeker, to know much about it or how it works.

The system is called Taleo and its currently used by cabin crew hiring managers from major airlines including Emirates, flydubai, EasyJet and Qantas.

The company that developed the Taleo software describes it as “a fully integrated talent acquisition solution including recruitment marketing and employee referrals to source talent, end to end recruitment automation and streamlined employee onboarding.”

Put simply, Taleo is a form of Applicant Tracking System or ATS.  The ATS systems scan your resume or CV, pre-screening it to determine if you’re suitable for the role.

It’s just one of many bespoke recruitment systems that store, manage and screen job applications.  However, you can easily tell if the company you’re applying to uses Taleo by quickly glancing in the address bar of your internet browser.  If you see .taleo.net  you know you’re dealing with the Taleo ATS

How you can easily tell if the online job application is run by Taleo

Unfortunately, Taleo isn’t the most user-friendly system out there.  In fact, entire blog posts have been dedicated to how much it’s hated by job seekers.  Loathed or not, it’s unlikely that recruiters will give up Taleo just yet.  Hiring managers love Taleo – it gives them a huge amount of analytical power.

Take a company like Emirates, which is said to receive something in the region of 200,000 cabin crew applications every year.  Without the computing power of Taleo, it would be a mammoth task for recruiters to shortlist and manage all the candidates.

One of the biggest complaints about Taleo is that it can take so long to submit an application.  Frustrated job seekers take to forums to complain about application processes that can take up to an hour.  But then they never hear anything back.

And that’s another huge gripe.  Because once you’ve submitted your application, Taleo seemingly leaves you in the dark.  However, there are a few ways to tell if you’re likely to ever hear back from a recruiter.

We’ll be looking at the Emirates Taleo site in this example but what we discuss is true for any recruitment site that uses Taleo software.

First things first, it’s time to log in to your account:

From the Emirates Group Careers homepage, click on the General Vacancies tab in the top right-hand corner.  On the next screen choose ‘My jobpage’ where you’ll be given the option to log in to your account.

Accessing the Your Submission page in Taleo - Emirates Group Careers

The anatomy of the job submission page:

The ‘My Submissions’ page or what Taleo likes to call the ‘Candidate Communications Module’ is the area where you can gain some insight into what has happened to your application

The anatomy of the Taleo job submissions page - Emirates Group Careers

The format of the Submission Status page will look the same as in the photo above from whatever company using the Taleo system you have submitted your application to.  For each submission, you’ll find the following information:  The name of the role you have applied for, the location of the job, what date the job was posted, the status of the job posting and the status of your application.

There are three important elements to point out:

  1. Job Status – This isn’t individual to your application.  It denotes whether the job is still open to new applications or not.
  2. Submission Status – This is your individual status in the process.
  3. The Withdraw buttonCan indicate whether you are still being considered for the role.

It’s up to each company’s HR department to decide if they want to show candidates an update message against the Submission Status.  If they decide that they don’t want to give any kind of update the Submission Status will show: ‘Completed‘ from the moment you submit your application.  But there are still a couple of ways to tell if you still stand a chance (see below).

However, Taleo comes loaded with pre-defined status update messages and HR departments also have the ability to customise these messages.  It’s important to note that what you see is very different to what the hiring manager see’s throughout this process.

Taleo gives recruiters loads of power to sift through hundreds of applications, progressing certain candidates whilst rejecting many others.  With a few clicks, a recruiter can cut hundreds (or even thousands) of applications down to a select few that they’ll investigate further.  Most recruiters won’t take the time to reach out to every single candidate to update them on their individual status.

Some company’s go to a lot of effort to customise their version of Taleo to make sure that the Submission Status and auto-emails keep the candidate in the loop.  Most company’s don’t.

So how can you tell what’s happened to your application?  The three sections above can give away important clues:

Job Status –

There are two options:  Active or Inactive.

Active: The job posting is still live and has not been filled yet.  New applications can be accepted.  Recruiters are still reviewing applications.

Inactive: The company is no longer accepting new applications and the recruiter is no longer reviewing submitted applications.

What does this means if you have submitted an application and the status reads ‘Application Complete’?  If the Job Status is ‘Inactive’ and your Submission Status is ‘Completed’ then you have not been shortlisted for the job and will not receive any further communication from the company.

Submission Status –

The Submission Status can go one of three routes:

  • Show as ‘Completed’ from the moment you submit your application, right through to the end of the process,
  • Automatically change based on the default Taleo submission statuses,
  • Automatically change based on customised submission statuses.

However, even with fully customised status messages the Submission Status only gives you a very rough idea of what is happening with your application.  Here’s a real world example:

A candidate submitted an application but after the initial automated email acknowledging receipt of the application, she never heard anything back.  When she checked her job page on the company’s careers site the Submission Status said ‘Under Consideration’ and the Job Status was still ‘Active’.

From these clues, we know that the candidate passed the initial computer scan and has been shortlisted for further review.  However, the posting was advertised three months ago and the last update on the system was two months ago.

It’s clear that the candidate isn’t going to be called for interview and nor will she likely ever receive any further update.  Even though the application still seems to be open.  There are many reasons for why this might happen but like many computer systems, its success is dependent on the actions of the user.  In this case, the recruiter simply hasn’t completed the Taleo workflow properly.

The Withdraw Button –

The presence (or lack of) the ‘Withdraw’ button under the Submission Status can be one of the best indications of whether you have passed the primary ATS screening of your resume.

  • ‘Withdraw’ link present – Along with ‘view submission’ and a Job Status of ‘Active’ likely means your resume has passed the primary computer screening and has been passed for human review,
  • No ‘Withdraw’ link – And a Submission Status of ‘Completed’ normally means that your resume has not been shortlisted by the computer and will not be reviewed by a recruiter.

If the ‘Withdraw’ link disappears at any point, your application process has come to an end and you are not longer being considered for the role.

Remember, even if the ‘Withdraw’ link is present your resume could still be filtered automatically after the initial success.  For example, the recruiter could decide to only progress with applications who only match certain criteria like location, nationality, certain skills, etc.

Will you receive an email updating you on the progress of your application?

Not always.  Most candidates receive an automatically generated email when they submit their application to acknowledge receipt.  You may then receive a second email if you have been unsuccessful.

These emails are automatically generated by the Taleo based on back-office actions of the recruiter.  You can not reply to them and the hiring manager did not personally send the email.


The Emirates Cabin Crew Submission Status Meanings:

Emirates has customised the Submission Status messages on its implementation of Taleo.  The Submission Status is updated when certain events are triggered.  The full list is below along with the most common event that has created that status.

  • Application Received – You’ve submitted your application and it has passed the initial ATS screening.  It will now be shortlisted for review.
  • Completed – Nothing else is going to happen to your application.  You have not been successful on this occasion.  In the past, this status sometimes showed when the applicant had been invited to attend an Open Day.
  • Application Under Review – Your application is being reviewed by the recruitment team.  A recruiter will evaluate your resume, skills, photos and consider other factors to decide if your application should be progressed.
  • Application in Progress – As above.
  • Interview Complete – The recruitment team has simply marked on your file that you have been interviewed for the position.  There is no indication of when a final decision will be made but this status denotes that your file is open and the recruiter is actively considering you for the role.
  • Application Unsuccessful – Unfortunately, you haven’t been successful on this occasion.  This status normally triggers an automatically generated email to inform you of the recruitment teams decision.
  • Approval in Progress – Congratulations!  You’ve been conditionally offered the job.  This status means that the company now has to approve all of your paperwork and medical information.
  • Joining Formalities in Progress – You’ve pretty much got the job!  Now the onboarding process starts.

Submitting a job application via a Taleo administered careers site can be a frustrating process.  Even with these hacks, there is no definitive way of knowing how successful your application be.  The best chance you have is still to contact the recruiter directly.

Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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