If I’m a job applicant and the recruiter I’m working with stops returning my calls and emails, what does that usually mean?

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The question for today is:

If I'm a job applicant in the recruiter. I am working with stops returning my calls and emails, what does that usually mean?  
Well, let me pose a different scenario.  If you are going out with someone and they stop returning your calls, texts and emails, what would that mean?

You know what it means. Who are you kidding?  You just don't like it.

Here is what often happens.  Job hunters have this mistaken notion that recruiters work for them.  They don't.  They work for employers who pay them.  You aren't paying them anything, right? You have to get this notion out of your head that you are working with them.  You aren't working with them. They are trying to fill the positions.  Your background either fits or it doesn't.  When they have something that makes sense, they will be in contact.  

You can drop them a message every once in a while (that doesn't mean daily) to say, "I just wanted to let you know that I'm still available. If something comes up."  

Often, what job hunters do because they are "working with the recruiter" is nag and pester the recruiter. 

Understand you are getting a message in the behavior in much the same way as in a dating scenario, if someone you were going out with stop returning your calls, you will get a message from that that they didn't want to talk with you, right?  

So, you know what it means.  You just have to adjust.

Some people will say you have to work with a lot of recruiters.  I have no idea where you are, geographically, or where you are in your career.  For most people who do not have unique skills or are not at a leadership level, yes, you do have to connect with multiple recruiters.  Recruiters are not pounding on doors to persuade employers to speak with you.  That isn't how the business works.

They are hired by employers and give them requirements for positions that they need to have filled and, if they find the right person, they will be paid for that.  They are not getting on the phone to make 100 phone calls to companies just for you using a call was that they have prearranged so that whenever someone walks in the door they call 100 people every single day.

No. They are filling jobs. They are not "placing people."

Let's assume that you are a relatively inexperienced person, you do need to be contacting multiple people and, more importantly, you do need to be contacting people who graduated from the school that you went to and learn how they got there current job and whether there might be something of their employer that might fit you. You are trying to work with multiple recruiters and responding to ads.  Networking to people that you don't already know and doing informational interviews, networking, going to networking groups, telling everyone that you know repeatedly that you are looking for work…

It's not enough to just simply tell them one time, you have to say it multiple times and the people are reminded that you are looking for job.  After all, when someone has a cold, do referred your doctor to them?  Probably not.  People need constant reminders to refer you to things that they care about.

Back your original question.  It probably means that they don't have anything for you right now and leave them alone.

Do you really think employers are trying to help you?

You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell you as much as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com changes that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle for $.99 and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.”

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8 Responses
  1. Maurice Levie

    To take the dating analogy, don’t date immature people. Google the people,
    the business and Glassdoor them as well. Keep a spreadsheet of the
    interactions that you have but always be closing (ABC) with new people. If
    they want you, they’ll be calling etc etc etc. I’ve had recruiters that I
    let down easy, I’ve had recruiters that just couldn’t take no for an
    answer, and I’ve had clients that switched recruiting firms to get me to
    come on board. You have to prequalify everyone you come in contact with –
    be able to distinguish a cattle call from an actual open requirement that
    needs filled. And – strategically- stop answering the recruiters that don’t
    pan out.

  2. Maurice Levie

    To take the dating analogy, don’t date immature people. Google the people, the business and Glassdoor them as well. Keep a spreadsheet of the interactions that you have but always be closing (ABC) with new people. If they want you, they’ll be calling etc etc etc. I’ve had recruiters that I let down easy, I’ve had recruiters that just couldn’t take no for an answer, and I’ve had clients that switched recruiting firms to get me to come on board. You have to prequalify everyone you come in contact with – be able to distinguish a cattle call from an actual open requirement that needs filled. And – strategically- stop answering the recruiters that don’t pan out.

  3. Maurice Levie

    To take the dating analogy, don’t date immature people. Google the people, the business and Glassdoor them as well. Keep a spreadsheet of the interactions that you have but always be closing (ABC) with new people. If they want you, they’ll be calling etc etc etc. I’ve had recruiters that I let down easy, I’ve had recruiters that just couldn’t take no for an answer, and I’ve had clients that switched recruiting firms to get me to come on board. You have to prequalify everyone you come in contact with – be able to distinguish a cattle call from an actual open requirement that needs filled. And – strategically- stop answering the recruiters that don’t pan out.

  4. Maurice Levie

    Jeff – just a suggestion: lose the dark background, buy some styrofoam
    backdrops at Home Depot to light up the right side of your face, and get
    the camera up about 6 inches. Sound is great though

  5. Maurice Levie

    Jeff – just a suggestion: lose the dark background, buy some styrofoam backdrops at Home Depot to light up the right side of your face, and get the camera up about 6 inches. Sound is great though

  6. Maurice Levie

    Jeff – just a suggestion: lose the dark background, buy some styrofoam backdrops at Home Depot to light up the right side of your face, and get the camera up about 6 inches. Sound is great though

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