Sounding off on recruiter silence

By Ma. Eliza Villarino 23 July 2015

How do you deal with recruiter silence? Photo by: Mays Business School / CC BY-NC-ND

It is not uncommon to fail to hear back from a recruiter after an interview. And in last week’s Career Matters, Devex Senior Director and Editor for Careers and Recruiting Kate Warren shed light on the reasons for that silence, ranging from holidays and lengthy foreign travels of decision-makers to a lack of budget.

For most job seekers, such silence can be frustrating.

Devex reader Michelle Imison pointed out that while most job descriptions require candidates to have “excellent” communication skills, employers “apparently feel no compunction to practice what they preach.”

She added that while she’s not asking for intense, continuous interaction, a simple communication to explain the delays, outline the timeline for decision-making or offer a way for unsuccessful candidates to get meaningful feedback would be useful.

“Ultimately, complete silence on the part of recruiters not only confuses candidates and leaves them wondering whether it 'really is me,' it surely also disadvantages organizations that lose preferred candidates who grow tired of hearing nothing and just move on?” wrote Imison.

Other readers shared Imison’s sentiments.

Acknowledgment from recruiters that they have received or are reviewing applications by candidates is a matter of courtesy, noted Mathabo Khau.

Another source of confusion for Khau: when recruiters say “we will get back to you shortly.” He said that oftentimes this becomes a very long “shortly.”

Some Devex readers expressed another concern: that the interview was merely a procedure and that the employer already has someone in mind that it wants to hire.

Said Winstone Changwe: “Yes, I understand the issues of transparency and competition. However, this is not just time wasting for others but also involves losing other opportunities.”

What’s your experience of communicating with recruiters? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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About the author

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Ma. Eliza VillarinoDevexElizaJV

Currently based in New York City, Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.


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