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September 23, 2011
Can You Hear Me Now? How to Handle 'Radio Silence'
 
There is nothing more frustrating in a job search than a lack of response by hiring managers or recruiters. You follow all the rules of a compelling cover letter. You compose a custom resume that matches your accomplishments to the job specifications posted by the company or the recruiter. You have scoured your network to find insiders at the company and you have followed their advice to the letter. Following all of this fine preparation, you end up with radio silence that is both deafening and frustrating. How should you move forward with this scenario?  Here are some constructive ideas:
  • Be patient. There are no hard and fast rules regarding wait time. The higher the position, the greater the time to response. Many firms take an inordinate amount of time to conduct due diligence. Hiring managers have a job to do and spending lots of time reviewing resumes and responding in a timely manner is not the order of the day. While it is extremely frustrating, a watched pot never boils…and neither should you. If the job is a fit, you will get a response in three to four weeks. If not, you may never get a response. The sad fact is courtesy often is pushed aside due to lack of good sense and sensitivity. Move on. 
  • Tap the network. If you are fortunate enough to have people from your network that are already employed with the object of your desire, contact them and ask them to inquire on the status of the company’s consideration of your candidacy. I have seen this done successfully, but make sure that you are familiar enough with your contacts to make “the ask.” And when you do, volunteer to reciprocate at some point. Never expect something for nothing. But always give something for nothing. It pays in the long run.
  • Grab a hook. Give some thought to additional information that you may want to provide to the hiring manager or the recruiter as an incentive to ramp up consideration. Pay attention to the news of the day, changes in the market, or some current event that would give you a rationale to introduce a new reason or “hook” to entice those with the hiring responsibility to hasten the search or put a priority on you as the candidate. For example, is there a competing company that has an interest in you and expressed as much or has the market had a competitive shift that warrants a change in business strategy? This could be reason enough for you to call the company directly or send an urgent email that explains the situation and the need for more urgent action in the company’s hiring plans. 
  • Move on. You never heard back — nada, zip, nothing. “What is wrong with those people? Why do they not respond? I have taken a lot of intellectual energy and time to make the case for my candidacy. Could they not be courteous and let me know if I have a shot or not?” The fact is that your priorities are just that — yours. Companies today do not have the time or inclination to hold hands and make everyone comfy. And in this tumultuous economy, backed by “beltway bickering,” good sense and good manners are out the door. Just move on. It is not worth your sanity to get uptight or ticked off. Hopefully there are other fish to fry and the law of averages argues for putting lost causes behind you and pushing forward with other firms and opportunities. The more the merrier. 

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Gerry Corbett is the PRJobCoach at prjobcoach.com and CEO of Redphlag LLC, a strategy consultancy. He has served four decades in senior communications roles at Fortune 100 firms and earlier in his career in aerospace and computer engineering with NASA. He has a B.A. in public relations from San Jose State University and is a member of the International Advertising Association, National Investor Relations Institute; Arthur Page Society, National Association of Science Writers, and International Coaching Federation.

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