Getting Someone to Respond to You | Career Angles

Getting Someone to Respond to You

I worked in recruiting for more than 40 years before transitioning into coaching. There are few more difficult situations for people to receive responses to calls or messages than the time after an interview.

After all, people want to know where they stand, and often the person they’re calling has no conclusive information. Stuck in limbo, people started calling the recruiter, both corporate and third-party, they tried reaching the hiring manager without success.

Why is there no response?

Two reasons — no decision and no desire to get into an argument.

There is no decision because people are continuing to interview because they’re not completely satisfied. They have no desire to cancel an argument because they have chosen someone else and don’t want to do anything more than move on.

Yes, you can interpret their behavior which is what I tell people to do. However, sometimes the issue is they have just forgotten to follow up. Thus your message to them is helpful because it reminds them that they haven’t heard back from the hiring manager, the team, whomever.

Thus, if you haven’t heard back from someone after two attempts to reach them by email or phone, or encourage you to do is leave a message or make it the subject line of your email/text saying, “Are you OK?”

The message might want to say, “I tried reaching you twice and haven’t heard back. I’m concerned. Are you OK?”

This takes the conversation or the interaction from the professional to the personal and usually flushes up the person who says something to the effect of, “Yeah, yeah, I’m okay,” and then offers an explanation for what is going on.

I have found this working in sales situations, relationships, friendships a whole host of different places where you are trying to connect with someone who seems too busy or too indifferent to respond.”

I’ve encouraged people to use this technique when looking for low-level positions, as well as C suite jobs. I have one friend who even tried it in a dating scenario (obviously you know where that one wound up).

People are not always courteous. They feel overwhelmed and troubled by having too many things to do and not enough time. When you remind them of the humanity of their situation by asking, “Are you OK,” is like a bell goes off and they rush to respond.

Not all the time. Nothing works all the time. This just works a heck of a lot more than it doesn’t.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is Career Angles | Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunterthe host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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