Why do recruiters fail to acknowledge my interest? Even when I met the criteria 100%!

Do not take it personally.

Easy to say, maddeningly frustrating to accept.

AskTheRecruiter_v3_200x200The list of reasons is long, and mostly unacceptable.

While there are some large search firms that are rather cavalier about following up with candidates they no longer need, most retained firms will let you know, either by email, letter or a phone call.  I try to always call those that I personally met for what we call the “face-to-face” interview.  It is from this group that we pick our panel of recommended candidates to present to our client.  Those candidates have worked hard to get to this point in the search process and they deserve a personal call and expression of sincere thanks.  At our firm, we try to add value to their experience by offering to help them with interviewing skills, etc.  I typically make the call myself versus delegating it to the researcher or associate recruiter.

Contingency firms, those that handle large volumes, may view this level of communication a time waster.  These recruiters are measured by some demanding productivity standards and many are highly motivated deal closers.  Often times they are pressured by their supervisors to move on to the next deal ASAP.  That said, there are some great people in this sector who do respect their candidates and make an effort to communicate with their candidates.  By the way, they tend to be very successful.

When candidates do not get any type of response – they refer to this as “falling into the dark hole” – the reason(s) falls into one of these categories:

1.  The employer or recruiter lacked the resources – i.e. an automated applicant tracking system that has the capability of notifying candidates when they are eliminated.  Early in the search or employment process, there may be dozens upon dozens, sometimes hundreds of applicants.  Without the best-in-class automatic communications tools, this becomes an impossible situation.  In-house recruiters face tough performance standards – time to hire, cost to hire – and if they were not given the tools, they simply do not have the time.

2.  The recruiter or company does not care about their employment brand.  Thanking someone for their interest, their time and effort – well, this is just common courtesy.  This may come in the form of an auto-text email but even that is better than dead silence.  One candidate said, “I sent in my resume for a job that I was really qualified for, and I heard nothing.  Ever.  I might as well have driven by the company and thrown my resume out of the window.”  I know several large health systems that lack the capability to even acknowledge receipt of a resume or application via their on-line system.  When the SVP of HR tried to make the case to add this feature to enhance the organization’s recruiting brand, the CFO crushed the proposal.  “They need us more than we need them,” he reportedly said.  That is a great example of a short-sighted CFO who is totally clueless about the importance of maintaining a Cadillac employment brand and how that brand will attract a better quality candidate.

3.  The recruiting firm or talent acquisition department of a company sees recruiting as nothing more than a transaction which must be fast and efficient.  They rate that over everything else.  They are just giant, toxic job order fulfillment centers.

4.  Far too many search firms, I regret to say, rely on a business model that is 50-years-old.  The big firms who continue to roll along with steady inflow of new engagements make the lame case, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”  When they finally realize that recruiting is moving to a transformational business, it will be too late.