Is It OK To Apply Directly If I Never Heard Back From The Recruiter? |

Is It OK To Apply Directly If I Never Heard Back From The Recruiter?

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

If a recruiter reached out to me about a job and I don’t hear back, is it acceptable to apply for the job myself?

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 “If a recruiter reached out to me about a job and I never heard back, is acceptable to apply to the job myself?”

I want you to think for a second.  The one detail we don’t have is how long it has been since they had the conversation.  The next day?  NO!!!  Let’s not be ridiculous.  They may need to do a resume rewrite.  They may have submitted the resume and the client hasn’t had a chance to look at it.  There may be some process issues on the client side.  You don’t know if the resume has been submitted or not.

What I would say to you is, you can do it, BUT there’s a better way to do it.  What’s better is if before you apply directly, call the recruiter and asked them if they’ve heard back from the client yet..  “Have you heard back from so-and-so?”

“No, I haven’t.  Let me follow up with them.”  They may have forgotten.  It is not like you are the only candidate use case they are working on.  Give them a break!  You make mistakes and forget things.  They do, too.  Call them up and asked them if they have heard back from the client.

If they say, “No, I haven’t heard yet.”

“Are you going to follow up or is it an indication that the client isn’t interested?”

“Probably not interested.”

“Did you submit me?”

“Yeah, I submitted you.”

Once you have that data that they have applied “best effort,” then you can contact the client directly and see if they would be interested.  Just don’t go to the applicant tracking system.  That’s goofy.  Always apply directly.  Find the hiring manager and then apply.  If you go to the applicant’s tracking system, often what will happen is that you get stuck in the legendary “BLACK HOLE.”  You will never be heard from again, if you get stuck there.  What’s the point of that?  Come on!  The idea is to get an interview and their job.  The best way to do it is not by trying to travel through the black hole but through introductions from people to the hiring manager from people who know, like and trust you who are willing to refer you.  Barring that, you trying employee of the firm who is in a similar role who can walk over the hiring manager and say, “I spoke to this person.  I think it would be interesting to you.  Here is a resume.  Why don’t you talk to them.

Obviously, you will need to do a conversation with them.  If you don’t know them in order for them to be willing to do that.  Remember, they get employee referral bonuses and sometimes other little benefits for referring you, if you are hired. 

Step number 1.  Call the recruiter and see if they have heard back as to whether you are still in play or have been rejected.  If they say, “All!  I forgot all about it!,”  Then asked them if they will give you a call after they’ve heard from them.  You can also ask if you can follow up with them in 2 or 3 days. 

From your vantage point, what difference does it make?  2 or 3 days more.  No big whoop.

That’s my advice and I would simply say there been countless times arrived in the person who has been making the mistake or I’ve been working with a corporate recruiter who has forgotten to follow up on something.

I hope you found this helpful.  There is a lot more at  You can ask me questions there and there is content there that you can watch, listen to or read that will help you find work more quickly.

Look forward to helping you.  I hope you have a great day.  Take care.

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

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching and life coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1000 episodes,“ Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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