The reasons why Recruiters don’t phone you back! 9

All you have to do is have a look at Hello Peter to see how extremely angry candidates get when Recruiters don’t go back to them. I understand their frustration as they took time out of their busy day to apply for the job, spent money to go for that interview, only to be abandoned and left hanging without any feedback on the final outcome of the recruitment process. I agree it is rude and unprofessional!

In my defence I have always tried to go back to candidates and I even received thank you letters where candidates have thanked me for taking the time to regret them, as a lot of Recruiters just don’t do it. However as much as I have tried to go back to every one there have been a number of situations where I was unfortunately unable to correspond with them.

Spending time holding your hand or finding you a job?

One Monday afternoon I received 10 new IT job specs. I quickly qualified the jobs and placed the adverts on a number of different websites, so that I could start the recruitment ball rolling while I attended a conference on the Tuesday. On Wednesday morning I broke out into a cold sweat and had heart palpitations as my computer slowly download over 700 job applications!  

The reality of the situation is that I could have spent all my time contacting all 700 candidates and held their hands during the recruitment process (which quite frankly is an impossible task) but I chose to only deal with the candidates who met the minimum requirements and place 7 out of the 10 jobs. Which then left me time to go out to find more jobs where I placed another 2 candidates out of that specific advert response. I am sure if you are honest with yourself you would rather me spend my time trying to find you a job versus contacting you to tell to hang tight or to tell you that you were not suitable???

Sorry but it was out of my control!

I remember sitting in a police station thinking, how ironic it was that one of the reasons why we have such a high crime rate in South Africa, is because we have such a high unemployment rate. But due to a break in there would now be a number of candidates who would miss out on job opportunities. Yes someone broken in and stole my computer and candidate database!  Granted in the end I only lost two weeks’ worth of un-backed up work and some of the candidates did come back to me, but I do know that I lost 100’s of job applications and that once again I had disappointed  candidates who had pinned their hopes on me finding them a job.

Just hang in there!

Recruitment takes time! Yes I know that we live in an instant society, where you can What’sApp your friend in London and get an answer right away, but unfortunately recruitment does not work like that! The larger the organisation the longer it takes to make a decision. Granted I have had some jobs that were filled very quickly however most times this is not the case.  The owner of a recruitment agency once told me that his longest recruitment process was eight months from client interview to offer.  

My longest wait was four months and like a good recruiter, I kept phoning my Candidate to keep him updated, that he eventually shouted at me that “Clearly I did not know how to do my job, because after 3 months, if they were interested in him they would have made him an offer!” He also made it perfectly clear that I was also to stop bugging him about this as I was waiting his time! You can imagine his surprise and the apology when I sent him the offer of employment in the fourth month.  So yes there are times when a Recruiter has not come back to you because they just don’t have an answer yet. Not because they did not like you or because they want to string you a long!

Sometimes the reasons have nothing to do with you!

I once took over a desk of a Recruiter who had been unceremoniously fired and escorted off the premises! By the time I had taken over and come to grips with what needed to be done, there was one position where the CV’s had not been sent and the employer had sourced a candidate from another Recruitment Agency. I had no idea who the Recruiter had spoken to or promised to assist with this position but I am confident that there were a number of candidates out there who had beaten themselves up because they were not successful.  The reality of the situation is that because this Recruiter had been dismissed the candidates had no chance of ever getting the job.

Don’t take it personally!

I once worked with a Recruiter who was proud and passionate about her job and really went out of her way to assist candidates. I remember her being absolutely devastated after regretting a Candidate who did not take the bad news very well. Although she understood that he was desperate for work and was under a lot of pressure to feed his family, it was not her fault that he was unsuccessful, as she worked hard on his application and had gone out of her way for him. She felt that no matter how much it hurt to be regretted it did not give him the right to talk to her like that or call her a cockroach!  I have come across a number of Recruiters who give an involuntary shiver when it comes to regretting applicants, as some candidates are over the top and rude when they don’t get the job. So maybe some Recruiters are too scared to break your heart and give you the bad news.

My advice to candidates who are looking for a job is;

Don’t expect the Recruiter to come back to you!

That way you are not disappointed when they don’t come back to you and it is an unexpected added bonus when they do. Trust me, the frustration and pain that candidates go through over this is really not worth it, rather turn that negative energy into finding a job or saving the Rhino! (Far more rewarding!)

At the end of the interview always ask the Recruiter when they think that they will have an answer for you. If they say that will they will phone you on a specific date get them to agree that you can phone them to get feedback. That way you have permission to phone them and you are not left sitting by the phone getting discouraged by every phone call that is not for you. (You will remember to phone them far quicker than they will remember to phone you!)

Always ask them how often you should keep in contact and if they would prefer email or telephonic correspondence. Each recruiter is different and you don’t want to land up stalking them into regretting your application (Stalker candidates…a whole new blog on its own!)

As much as it hurts to be regretted, be grateful that they did come back to you and chalk it up to additional interview experience! You also don’t want to burn bridges with a Recruiter because if you do Murphy’s Law says that you will be a perfect fit for the next position that they get in, and then they will definitely not phone you back!

I would like to end this by saying, I am so sorry to all the candidates that I did not go back to and I apologise profusely if I left you feeling like a teenager waiting at the phone after a hot date. I can assure you that it was unintentional and it definitely was not because I thought you are a bad evil candidate who is unemployable!  But whatever you do don’t let this make you despondent, negative or turn you off working with Recruitment Agencies nor let it stop you going out there to find your next job opportunity!

Share on Social Media

Leave a comment

9 thoughts on “The reasons why Recruiters don’t phone you back!

  • Bulie Ndodana

    I agree with Henrietta Lucas! I have registered as a job seeker; I have also registered to receive email alerts (INDEED, Jobspace,  etc.) on available jobs that fit or are close to what I am experienced in and what I am looking for; I have posted my CV as advised by the online recruiters.I receive close to 30 alerts per day with links to ‘view and apply’; I DO APPLY and ATTACH my CV which has a head-and-shoulder picture. The only feedback that I ever receive is from a ‘do-not-reply’ email address which requests me to fax my CV with a photo. The fax number is a fax-to-email number: why is the emailed CV not acceptable then? Also, I email applications for many advertised positions because I am DESPERATE for employment (after being retrenched); the ‘do-not-reply’ email doesn’t state which position they are referring to.

    What am I doing wrong? Do these applications even reach the prospective employers? Is the online recruitment service for real?

  • Andrew Rose

    Your piece emphasises that its a numbers game. However, review any recruitment website, and you will not get this impression – what is emphasised is “personal attention and niche placement” – something which surely the “numbers game” negate. 

    In my opinion, “recruitment agencies” and the various systems processes they use, are filtering processes. If you’re one to try being filtered, go for it. If you believe in yourself and what you can do for a business – make a plan to meet somebody.

  • Denise Mc Creadie Post author

    Hi Tshavhumbwa,


    Thank you for your comment.  I hear your pain and I do feel for you and every candidate out there that this has happened to and trust me it happens to everyone at one point or another in their career.  

    However I am a big believer in what is mean to be is meant to be, and although you have been disappointed by this experience there is a reason why you did not get that job.

    Maybe it was so that you could meet other players in your industry that you will network with at a later stage or maybe you needed additional interview experience so that you could nail the next interview you go for or maybe in the long run this job or company would have been a bad career move.

    Maybe we will never know why???

    But please don’t let it get to you and keep trying because your next door will open for you when the time is right!

  • Denise Mc Creadie Post author

    Hi Henrietta

    Thank you for your comment!

    If you have a look at my other blogs you will see one titled Scams in the Recruitment Environment. Please have a look at the fax scam that I talk about. I may be wrong but what you have described her sounds like a scam? My advice is don’t fax all of your supporting documentation until you know who you are sending your information to.

    Another thing that worries me about your email is that they have asked you for a photo. Yes if you have applied for a job as a Model then they need a photo, but unless your good looks are an inherent requirement of the job, then you need to ask yourself why do they need a photo?

    I do know that some Recruitment Agency’s that takes photos of all of their candidates during the interview stage (As it helps Recruiters remember who was who).  So I am not saying don’t give one, what I am saying is make sure it is not going to put you in a situation where you may be sexually harassed.

    Don’t get me wrong there will be times in the recruitment process when a recruiter will need all of your supporting documents so that they can do checks and ensure that what you have put on your CV is correct. But I won’t give my documents over to someone unless I know who they are and what it is for.

  • Tshavhumbwa Thenga

    Dear Denise,

    It is a sad reality indeed. The recruitment process can be overwhelming to a job seeker, especially if they are unemployed. I have personally being throught such a heart wrenching process myself, after having gone for three  rounds of interviews, all my hope was riding of getting this job, and my hope kept rising with each round, and to be told that i did not get the just was devastating. All i can say to Job seekers is to have patience – lots of it, although looking for a job is a personal mission, but dont take the regret too personal!

  • Gavin Tonks

    sympathies I advertised for a pa many years ago and recruited an ex pa to find the candidate for me. We were flooded and eventually only took every second applicant, which created a pile of 120 persons, it was madness and many of those did not listen to the criteria even they were just desperate for work.