Part 3 of 3

Today, I wrap up my three-part series on recruiters with a look at why you may not readily hear back from them. I’ll also address a few questions about recruiters I hear from my Goodwill Professional Center clients.

Regardless of whether the recruiter is in-house or an external recruiter (staffing firm), typically you don’t hear back because, well, the recruiter has no new information for you.

Let’s dig a bit deeper. You’ll typically receive some sort of email acknowledgement once you’ve submitted your online application. Everyone gets one, so whether you’re highly skilled or a wannabe, you’ll get that email. Recruiters will want to learn more if they feel your background fits an opening for which they’re recruiting. If you don’t fit one of their present openings, it’s unlikely you’ll hear from them.

If they’ve conducted an initial interview, then things get a bit more complicated. Perhaps they didn’t think you were a strong enough candidate to forward on to the hiring manager. They should let you know that, but not all will take the time to do that.

It could be that they’re waiting to lock in an interview slot with the hiring manager. Recruiters are middle-men in that they rely on feedback from hiring managers as well as you, the job-seeking candidate.

Moving forward, you’ve now interviewed with the hiring manager. But days, perhaps a week or more elapse, and you don’t hear anything. In all likelihood the recruiter hasn’t received word from the hiring manager as to which person they’d like to hire. Yes, they could send an, “I haven’t heard anything” message, but that pulls them away from more pressing tasks.

If they have received word — and you’re the employer’s second choice — it’s possible the recruiter is waiting to see whether their top choice will accept their offer. If their offer is rejected, then the recruiter will turn to you to extend an offer. Of course, the recruiter won’t tell you you’re their second choice. Who’d want to accept an offer, knowing they weren’t the company’s first or perhaps even second choice?

Here are a few questions my clients ask.

  • Should I take a job via a staffing agency or should I try to land a permanent position as a direct hire by the employer? If you go through a staffing agency, there’s no guarantee you’ll be hired as a permanent employee. That said, many companies are using staffing firms to bring workers on board as a way to “try you before they buy you.” Look at it as foot in the door and a chance to demonstrate your skills and character. It’s also a way to generate a paycheck, so finances come into play as well.
  • Do recruiters charge me for their work? No. They earn monies from the hiring company.
  • Do recruiters work for me? Not typically. They work for the people who pay them. If you’re a strong candidate, occasionally a recruiter will market you to some of their top client firms as a way of possibly generating more business. So in that sense, yes, they are working for you.
  • Are recruiters honest or just trying to make a placement? Why does it have to be one or the other? As with any industry, you’ll find a variety of skill, ethics and personalities. The recruiters I know are professional, hardworking, ethical, and passionate people. They’re typically swamped with applicants, so it’s difficult for them to respond to every message. They wish they could help everyone, but that’s simply not possible.

As always, if you’re an area professional in the midst of a job search, our center’s services are free. Contact me at the address below. Good luck!

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Randy Wooden is a long-time Triad career consultant and Director of Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC’s Professional Center. You may reach him at or at 336-464-0516.

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