What Really Happens When Recruiters Never Call Back

recruiters dont follow upAs a job seeker, are continually appalled at the lack of follow-through on the part of potential employers.

You are reasonable; you do not expect a “no thanks” response for every resume sent through an impersonal job posting. However, go through several rounds of interviews and all you get is an an eerie silence? That leaves you frustrated, even outraged. I can’t say I blame you.

As a former search firm recruiter, I can tell you that it always makes me sad to hear this. As a third party recruiter, I saw this even more; I would have candidates going through the process only to have the corporate recruiter go silent. Unacceptable.

So today I want to shed some light on what really is happening behind the scenes when a recruiter drops the ball throughout the recruitment and interview process.

None of these explanations are to say this behavior is okay… please know that is not my intent. But if you can have an inkling as to what goes on inside these processes, you can realize it is not personal; recruiters are not being sneaky. This is what is really going on:

Corporate HR and Search Firm Recruiters are Middlemen

Most recruiters are well-intentioned and want to move candidates through the process; they want to get the open job off their desk. To keep the candidate hopeful, the recruiter says things like “I will let you know by Friday” or “I am expecting the manager to get back to ASAP” with full intent on making that happen. Then the manager does not get back to the recruiter, leaving the recruiter in an awkward and frustrated position.

The fact is: most middlemen have little to no control in the process and often make promises they cannot keep. I dealt with this by saying to my candidates when it was applicable, “I hope to hear by Friday, but you have to know I have no control over when they will tell me. If you have not heard from me by Monday or Tuesday the latest, please feel free to check in with me. But know that if I hear anything, I will let you know.”

Not a perfect solution, I know, but I hated candidates not knowing what was going on.

Some Recruiters Manage the Process Poorly

These recruiters tend to hold all the reigns of communication and, as indicated in the earlier point, set up unrealistic expectations that they will get back with everyone with updates. Many recruiters, however, do not have systems in place to ensure communication is consistent; they are reactive by nature.

So unfortunately, it becomes necessary to be the squeaky wheel. Just know there is a fine line between persistent and pest. And try very hard not to cross that line. Two calls per week is more than enough.

Hiring Managers Have No Idea a Deadline Exists

And there are hiring managers that know this, but just frankly do not care.

They often do not get back to the corporate recruiters or the third party recruiter that might be in between in a timely fashion. They are also reactive by nature; and whatever is going on in day-to-day operations takes precedence over recruiting.

There is simply nothing you, or the recruiter, can do to prevent this from happening. You may, however, take this as a sign that this may not be a great culture in which to work.

Many Have a Hard Time with Negative Communication

For many recruiters, going silent is, frankly, easier than:

  1. Giving bad news (“The manager chose someone else…”)
  2. Saying they were wrong (“I am sorry. I said I would have any answer for you by tomorrow… I was wrong.”)
  3. Admitting they have no clue what is going on (“I must admit the manager said this was a priority, so that is why I communicated urgency to you. I have no idea why they are now not responding.”)

As a result, many choose to just avoid initiating a conversation that is not positive… and never make the phone call or send the email.

There are many reasons why a recruiter never calls back. And almost none of them are withing our control.

To my job search clients, I always suggest they take the action necessary to move forward the job search forward (send emails, do follow-up, go to interviews, apply for the job, network, etc.) and try not to tie expectations to each result. When that anticipated result not realized, that is where frustration sets in.

And when frustration sets in, we tend not to leave ourselves open for other wonderful things to come into my life that I did not even imagine could happen.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Tim’s Strategy!


Lisa RangelAbout the Author: Lisa Rangel, the Managing Director of Chameleon Resumes, is a Moderator for LinkedIn’s Premium Job Seeker Group, a former search firm recruiter, Certified Professional Resume Writer and holder of six additional job search certifications. As a former recruitment professional for over 13 years, Lisa knows first-hand what resumes receive a response and land interviews from reviewing thousands of resumes to identify talent for premier organizations. She has been featured on LinkedIn, Monster, US News & World Report, Fox Business News and Good Morning America. Lisa is the Career Services Partner for eCornell, the online division for Cornell University. She has authored three books, including 99 Free Job Search Tips From An Executive Recruiter. Follow Lisa on Twitter!



This entry was posted in Job Search and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.