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Why Recruiters Aren’t Calling You

Posted by | January 21, 2015 | Career, Job Search

calling a recruiter what to say

Via LinkedIn : Applying for jobs is nerve-racking, period. It doesn’t matter what your level of experience is or your age in the game, the waiting and wondering that happens the moment after you hit the submit button on your application can be downright maddening. Here’s some reasons why the waiting can take so long–reasons you might not have considered before–and some ways to overcome them.

Okay, let’s say you applied over the weekend. Monday and Tuesday move at a snail’s pace, no calls. Wednesday and Thursday come with the same result. No calls. Nothing. Silence. You start to get a little tense. Not only is this a company you’re really interested in, but you fit all the qualifications for the role. Why aren’t they banging down your door, begging you for an interview? Keeping your cool, you let the weekend roll by. Monday comes all bright and shiny, your hope renewed, but the hours tick by without even a whimper from your phone or a ding from your email. Tuesday and Wednesday, nothing but the same…then the dread sets in. You search your resume for typos. You wonder if you left out some key qualification, scouring the job description three times over for something, anything, to give you a clue as to why you haven’t been called in a week and half! After all, you’re the perfect fit!

calling a recruiter after an interview

Take a breath.

As much as we’d like the process to move quickly–and sometimes it does–it can be slow and arduous, but with good reason. Hiring the right people for the right manager is far from easy and most recruiters are overloaded with roles. With ever changing workplaces and cultures and business needs continually evolving, it’s just the nature of the business. I believe the highest number in my career has been 76 full-time open roles for two different business units, with no recruiting help from anyone but me. Now let’s do some math. Let’s say 20 people apply to each of my 76 open roles (and that’s being ultra conservative) that’s 1,520 candidates (aka human beings) I’m dealing with at any given time. Can you imagine? On top of that, recruiters have many other job duties than just traditional recruiting. We’re in meetings with hiring managers, traveling to where our business needs us (extensively in my case), team meetings, recruiting events, those lovely weekly reports that take no less than two hours a piece, putting out emergency fires–you know the ones–R&D Director John Smith urgently needs ten uber amazing .Net developers to start within 5 business days or the entire company might just collapse kind of fires. Then there’s also delays on the part of the hiring manager, whose swamped with his/her own job and has an Outlook calendar with about 27.4 minutes open for interviewing candidates over the next two weeks. In other words, it’s not that you’re not qualified, we just haven’t gotten to you yet. Right now, we’re working on closing out Director Ann Johnson’s 12 field trainer roles and Support Manger, Bill Wilson’s 9 tech support roles, before both of them pop a gasket and start running down the halls exclaiming that the sky is in fact falling!

Okay, so hopefully you’re getting the picture. Recruiters are busy…in most cases a lot busier than you may realize.

Other things to consider.

Some companies leave jobs up indefinitely. For pipelining purposes, companies will leave jobs posted on their site or job posting sites all the time. What you thought was a new active job, has been sitting on the internet for the last four months gathering cyber dust. It’s a great way to get resumes into their database for future needs, but yes, it leaves you thinking they’ve totally ignored you. Bright side is, six months later you may get a call when that need is a viable one again, as all that pipelining does serve a greater purpose.

Internal candidates. Yes, you are qualified for the role, but companies need to grow their own people or risk losing them. That said, companies post roles both internally and externally. It doesn’t mean the external candidates don’t have a shot. It just means you might lose out to an awesome internal candidate who was ready for the next step in his/her career. As much as that can seem unfair, think of it in reverse. How would you feel if an outside candidate got the job in your company you applied for that you knew you were completely qualified for? Ouch.

All right…now that I’ve crushed your hopes and dreams, don’t despair! There are things you can do to up your chances and combat some of the above. You have to be proactive though, and give yourself a fighting chance.

calling recruitment agencies

Now, I’m not saying go on a call blast or an email campaign, trying to get recruiters to call you back, stalking will only backfire, but I am saying there are ways to reach out thoughtfully that can only help you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been overloaded with random resumes for a job, combing through them one-by-one when suddenly a candidate who applied reaches out via email. He’s not a pest who keeps hounding me. He sends one nicely written, polite email expressing his interest and how he applied online, and he’d be really interested in talking to me if I had the time. I click on the resume he attached to his email (which is brilliant, because I don’t have to go dig it out of my database) and lo and behold he’s totally qualified! Bingo. Within five minutes I’ve emailed him back and confirmed him for a thirty minute call with me on Tuesday. Done! He actually made my job a little easier.

What? You say the job listing didn’t list the recruiter name? How are you supposed to know who to reach out to? Do your research. For example, if you found the job you applied for on a company website, chances are it may be posted on sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter, where, in many cases, the recruiter’s name and profile are clearly visible. How easy is that? If that doesn’t work then find a recruiter who works at the organization (via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the like) and shoot them a quick email (with your resume attached) referencing the job title and of course your genuine interest. In my company, those emails get forwarded to the right recruiter. We work as a team. “Better Together” is our motto and we mean it.

Calling. Calling is acceptable, but be very considerate. Leaving multiple messages in anyone’s voicemail is not going to make you a fan favorite. I would (personally) call a recruiter, not a hiring manager–ever. If you start calling hiring managers at a company, you are looking for trouble. You might get lucky, but many managers might see the call as intrusive and that you are not willing to be patient and go through their company’s hiring process like everybody else. Recruiters will be much more understanding, but be respectful of their time. If you leave a voice mail and don’t get a return call anytime soon, you might want to follow up with an email. If no response after that than I’d say move on. In many cases it’s not the recruiter ignoring you. It’s more likely the recruiter is totally unavailable to focus on anything but the roles that are reaching their hiring deadlines. Don’t take it personally.

Stay connected!

recruiters calling at work

When you find a good recruiter for Pete’s sake, stay in touch with them! So you worked with a really great recruiter. She returned all your calls. She gave you interview tips, even some inside info on the hiring manager. In the end, you didn’t get the job, but you still had a great candidate experience. Well, keep in touch with her! While you’re still job searching send her a quick email every couple of weeks. Let her know you’re still available. Like I said, recruiters are busy, sometimes manically busy, so keep yourself on their radar. Trust me on this. Timing is everything. I can’t tell you how many times I put a candidate into a role, simply because they sent me the “Thought I’d check in” email and brought themselves back to the forefront of my mind. This works!

Think about how you look online, not just your resume.

Online life concept. Business Woman looking upwards while workin


Twitter and Facebook are great social media tools when job seeking, just make sure your tweets/posts are something you wouldn’t be embarrassed for a recruiter or hiring manager to see. People have lost jobs over what they’ve posted online, so be equally as wary as a job seeker. Anything you’ve put online is out there, so clean it up if you feel it might show you in a negative light. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated with relevant up-to-date information about you, along with a professional looking profile photo. Cute or funny profile pictures are totally fine, you just might want to wait on using those until after you have job. LinkedIn is the #1 tool recruiters use to look up candidates, so use the LinkedIn profile tips or what you like from others profiles to make your profile shine!

Last but not least, don’t let a tough job search define you. You’re only human and it’s easy to think there’s something wrong with you and that’s the reason you’re not getting calls, but hopefully reading the above has waylaid some of that fear. I worked with a gentleman who has now been with our company for just over a year now. We went through four different jobs at two different business units over the course of six months before we found the right fit for him, but guess what, he just let me know he scored a high meets in his performance review and is potentially looking at a promotion. Clearly that six months of searching now means little in the grand scheme of things, though I’m sure he’s much stronger for it…and you will be too.

And yes, if you email me, I will forward your resume to the right person. 😉

international recruiters

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