Nine reasons why recruiters never call you (and ways to convince them otherwise)

If you ever wondered why a recruiter never called you back, chances are these are the reasons why:

  • 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.  Job Seeker Advice: Network your way into the company. This is the best way to circumvent the tidal wave of resumes recruiters face daily.
  • Situation: There is a relevancy factor. Many resumes received are not even in the ballpark of what is being advertised. Simply put, some applicants are tossing their resume against the proverbial wall and hoping it sticks. These types of efforts are immediately recognized and consequently ignored. Job Seeker Advice: Make sure your resume is accented with keywords significant to the job you are applying for. (ONLY add those terms relevant to your experience.) I would also suggest a cover letter that extols your professional virtues pertinent to the employer.
  • Situation: Your resume did not make it through the OFCCP process. Even if you have the ideal experience and a recruiter would love to speak with you yesterday, you may have been randomly deselected from the process and the recruiter never had access to your information. Chalk it all up to OFCCP Compliance. Sigh… Job Seeker 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, then do not apply. Also, pay attention to verbiage and the way your experience is described within the job posting. Use similar phrasing in your resume to maximize the chance of being selected in the recruiter’s search.
  • 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 African countries, it has become expedient for companies to initiate spam filtration systems. As such, some emails never reach their intended destination. For example, if you have the credentials of “Magna Cum Laude,” a spam filter may cite the term “cum” and label it as pornographic spam and delete it. Job Seeker Advice: Look for a return-receipt from the company database, an automated email that thanks you for applying and promises a follow-up if there is an interest. If you apply on line and do not receive an email confirmation within 24 hours, then resubmit your resume.
  • Situation: The position advertised is now “on hold” or cancelled all together. With the 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 as there is internal squabbling to complete the dreaded re-organization or for budgeting purposes. Job Seeker Advice: Do not be discouraged or black list a company, because 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. Job Seeker Advice: No way to guard against this as many times the recruiter is oblivious to this fact as well. The good news is that 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. Job S eeker Advice: 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 list of skills that he wants an applicant to possess. Typically this “perfect candidate” will have senior-level knowledge from competitor companies but a junior to mid-level work history that makes him/her easier on the budget. Job Seeker Advice: As only the manager knows for sure what is in their head, 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. Job Seeker 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 should the opening becoming common knowledge.
  • Situation: Search firms may charge a company as much as 30% of a candidate’s salary for their services. Not willing to take on that fee, some companies make it a policy not to deal with search firms. I suggest that before working with a search firm; ask them if they are presently representing a client. Job Seeker Beware: Some agencies make it a practice to secure a resume from an interested candidate first and then using it as leverage to secure a customer.

Good luck with your job search!

Jim Stroud

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