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February 26, 2010
Nine Reasons Recruiters Never Call

Have you ever wondered why a recruiter never called after you submitted your résumé? If so, you are not alone.

Here are nine scenarios and some advice:

Situation: Too many responses and not enough time: One advertised job can bring as many as three hundred responses in less than three days. It is logistically impossible for a recruiter to reply personally to every applicant.

Advice: Network your way into the company. This is the best way to circumvent the tidal wave of résumés recruiters face daily.

Situation: Many résumés received are not even in the ballpark of what is being advertised. Simply put, some applicants are tossing their résumé against the proverbial wall and hoping it sticks. These efforts are immediately recognized and consequently ignored.

Advice: There is a relevancy factor. Make sure your résumé is accented with keywords relevant to the job you are applying for. I would also suggest a cover letter that extols your professional virtues pertinent to the employer.

Situation: Your résumé did not make it through the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) process. Even if you have the ideal experience and a recruiter would have loved to speak with you yesterday, you may have been randomly removed from the process, and the recruiter never had access to your information.

Advice: Know that if the job description has required skills listed, it is not negotiable by law. If you do not have one of the required skills listed, do not apply. Also, pay attention to verbiage. How is experience described within the job posting? Use similar phrasing in your résumé to maximize the chance of being selected.

Situation: There is the issue of spam. Due to the overwhelming proliferation of unwanted solicitations of Viagra, prescription pills, easy lending, gambling, and dubious business opportunities from various countries, it has become expedient for companies to initiate spam-filtration systems. Some e-mails never reach their intended destination. 

 Advice: Look for a return-receipt from the company database, an automated e-mail that thanks you for applying and promises a follow-up if there is an interest. If you apply online and do not receive an e-mail confirmation within 24 hours, resubmit your résumé.

Situation: The position advertised is now on hold or cancelled. With changes in the economy, huge waves of previously thought-to-be-critical positions (if a company pays to post the job, it is high priority) are put on hold or cancelled due to internal squabbling (the dreaded re-organization or budgeting purposes.)

Advice: Do not be discouraged or blacklist a company if you do not get more than an automated response of application. Continue to apply to positions within a company even if you do not receive a call about a specific position.

Situation: The hiring manager wants to hire a friend but must follow company protocol, which includes publicizing the opening.

Advice: There's no way to guard against this. Many times the recruiter is oblivious to this, too. The good news is you are front and center in the recruiter’s mind and will be on the short list for the next opening.

Situation: The hiring manager wants to promote someone internally but wants to “window shop” before committing to the hire. As such, a job will be announced, and each applicant will be measured against the standard of an established employee well acquainted with the inner workings of the company and the existent personnel.

Advice: There's no way to guard against this as many times the recruiter is oblivious to this fact as well.

Situation: The hiring manager is on a never-ending quest for the non-existent “perfect candidate.” Generally, the manager has the hope of an unrealistic skill set that he or she wants an applicant to have. Typically, this candidate will have senior-level knowledge from competitor companies but a junior-to-mid-level work history that makes it easier on the budget.

Advice: Only the manager knows for sure what is in his or her head, and the recruiter has the difficult task of qualifying you against ambiguous requirements. I have no way to advise you on this matter.

Situation: You were submitted to the company by a search firm.

Advice: If a company has a job posted, then apply directly. A search firm opens doors into companies that do not initially post positions publicly due to cost or confidentiality. This is certainly true with executive positions or those that would negatively impact market share or position if the opening became common knowledge.

Search firms may charge a company as much as 30 percent of a candidate’s salary for their services. Unwilling to take such a fee, some companies make it a policy not to deal with search firms, while some agencies make it a practice to secure a résumé from an interested candidate first and then use it as leverage to secure a customer. I suggest that before working with a search firm; ask them if they are presently representing a client.

Good luck with your job search!







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Jim Stroud, a self-described "Searchologist," has over a decade of recruiting and consulting experience for Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, and a host of startups. When not engaged in recruitment research, competitive intelligence, and training projects, he devotes time to managing an award-winning blog, The Recruiters Lounge, and producing The Searchologist, a membership site focused on resume sourcing and lead generation strategies. Monster.com, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Globe and Mail, and Fast Company has cited him as a top HR blogger and as a popular public speaker and trainer. 

For additional information about Jim Stroud and his various online projects, speaking engagements and media quotes, please visit: http://thesearchologist.com/about/

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