How many times have you posted a resume to a job that you thought was perfect for you? I know I have quite a few times. You get that little sense of satisfaction and walk around with a smile the entire day because you are certain that they will consider you. As the week progresses a timeline of emotions ensues:



What could have saved you from this horrible downward spiral of emotions? Well, what do all humans crave when interacting with others? Let’s just say if you were to have ignored this question I would have experienced the entire spectrum of emotions in the awesome timeline that I just made in a matter of minutes.




In a world of growing technology and increasing amounts of physical disconnection, it is very easy for employers and recruiters to forget that there is a real person behind the resume you are providing them. So my question to all of you job seekers out there is this: do you believe that all places of employment and recruiting should give you a response regardless of qualifications for the job applied for?


As of November 1st, a Presidential Memorandum has come into effect that makes federal jobs have to not only provide multiple responses to potential candidates, but they have actually done away with having to provide any information outside of a resume. In addition, the amount of time required to fill a position is supposed to be cut in half. Oh joy, instead of waiting the previous 6 months to find out I wasn’t right for a federal job, now I only have to wait 3 months…


Job seekers that I have discussed this topic with have mostly stated that a response should be mandatory. Many have said that they would love the courtesy of a phone call just to let them know the position is filled or the resume did not fit what the employer is looking for. While a call might be a tad unobtainable, even a generic email would be better than nothing. Applying for a job is actually quite like a break up. The best response you could hope for is face to face. A phone call will only make you talk bad about the dumper a little, and anything that involves written text will just cause you to hate him/her, but at least you know what is going on.


This is where the trail gets sticky, however. Some clients go through thousands of resumes a day. That is far too many people to send a reply to when trying to be efficient. Companies like this usually have an automated email that tells the job seeker that their resume is being considered and contact will be made should he/she fit the criteria. But is this enough?


In the recruitment field, it is vital to take the extra time to keep your candidates up to date. EVERY recruiter I have ever talked to has made this clear. If you don’t, the following conversation could happen:


Recruiter- “Hey Joey, I just found a position that I think you will love-“


Candidate- “Oh hey, it’s nice to hear from you after 3 months. What happened to the other amazing position you contacted me about? Yeah, I think it best we don’t continue this conversation.”




In the end, there has to be a common courtesy between job seekers, employers, and recruiters. It is only natural to want a response from a position, but just how much of one is up to the client and the time that they have to put into it. Federal jobs are taking a step up, but this is not a situation where just saying “all the cool kids are doing it” will suffice. 

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Comment by Kimberly Roden on January 17, 2011 at 11:28am
Great post Michael!  The argument that I have read and heard over and over is that recruiters are just too busy to respond to candidates.  What about the candidate who will spend several hours on a phone interview with a recruiter only to hear crickets over the next few weeks.  I will tell you that I have (personally) blacklisted recruiters who I will never work with on a professional basis due to the way they have treated candidates.  Jobseekers talk and attend any niche transition group for them and they'll be able to ramble off names of the recruiters who are pros and will actually follow up.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 17, 2011 at 1:47pm

In the real world employers and recruiters have never responded to resumes that do not fit the position they have open and other than a generic email that acknowledges that the resume has been received they are not going to start now.  Think of it this way.  If you put an ad in the paper looking for a black puppy with white spots who weighed less than 20 lbs then people started calling you and sending you emails about cats, snakes, hamsters, horses and yellow dogs who weighed over 100 pounds, how many of them would you bother to call back or email telling them the same thing that the ad said in the first place.  Is it common courtesy or common sense not to call people back or email them when it's obvious that they either can't read or comprehend that if you wanted a yellow dog that weighed over 100 pounds or any of the other pets you would have said so?


If the ad says, tax manager with oil and gas expr, you are Lowe's manager don't expect a response.  If the ad says medical sales expr. required and you sell law books the fact that you are a "quick learner" will not get you a response.


A phone interview requires some follow up if the employer says no or better candidates are recruited.  Just try telling a candidate that you phone interviewed on Monday that you have identified three candidates in the search that are  better candidates than they are and see what kind of warm fuzzies  you get from Monday's candidate. Some will say, thanks for the info, most will get upset and argue or suggest that you don't know what you are doing. Sometimes the "why" at that stage is just simply that there are better candidates and the details should not be discussed other than more experience, better fit or we could only send two and you came in third.

 An interview  requires more follow up  if it does not result in an offer, with as much detail as possible.

Failure to do so is bad business on the part of the recruiter.


Common sense will generate common courtesy.  Common courtesy also dictates that when a candidate is told they are not a fit ,sending five more emails trying to add more reasons why they are and calling 10 times to beat the drum of "if i could just get the interview i know i could do that job"  Therein is one of the biggest reasons that recruiters do not respond.  Responding does not take a lot of time.  Arguing and or responding 5 or 10 times does.


It's a two way street.  If you want good recruiters to respond to you.  Don't send your resume for positions just because that is what you always wanted to do, it's close to your house even if you don't have an accounting deg and the ad specifies one. If the ad says no relocation and the job is in Texas do you really expect a response if you live in Florida?   If the ad says Manager any industry, any degree/or work background , any experience, fire away and you should expect a response.


Being a serial responder to every job you see that has one keyword you might have on your resume then getting your nose out of joint because you don't get a response will simply get your nose out of joint and it won't get you a response or a job.


The nice thing about all of this is that there will always be more recruiters and more candidates so instead of throwing a fit just find a recruiter you can work with or find a candidate who has the skills that fit.  Common courtesy is required on both sides of the desk.


Comment by Michael Stoyanoff on January 17, 2011 at 2:02pm

Thanks for the input!

Sandra! I am so excited that you replied! I have been viewing these blogs since September and always read your posts because they are so entertaining and informative!


I agree. It is a two way street and common courtesy can only go so far. There is talk that since the Federal government changed their ways all companies should do the same and that was the inspiration for this article. I am trying to justify both sides.

Small business owners that I have talked to have had great reasons to justify no responses or limited responses. They cannot waste the funds and sometimes it is just ridiculous to have to.


I hope my article hasn't come across as me rooting for the underdogs because I believe both sides have good reasons. If the applicant has merit to apply for the job then this is where the case becomes a justifiable debate. However, I agree that an ice cream man applying for a lawyer position is ridiculous unless said ice cream man graduated from law school.

Comment by Kimberly Roden on January 17, 2011 at 2:15pm

That certainly is a two way street Sandra.  There are always shoes to wear on the other side of the desk.  I find it shocking (but I guess I shouldn't!) that a candidate will continue to almost badger a recruiter after they've been given the stop sign.  That's bad manners and professional disrespect as well.  


Well said.

Comment by Michael Stoyanoff on January 17, 2011 at 2:21pm



I talked to a recruiter that actually got STALKED by a candidate online when she gave the person the stop sign. He proceeded to friend her on Facebook and send her emails with information she had made private!

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 17, 2011 at 4:30pm

I knew where you were coming from Michael and it's an interesting take.  As far as candidates being the underdog i didn't take it that way.  Most of the ones who feel like they are the underdog shoot themselves in the foot all by themselves.  There are certainly cases where good candidates who are a fit don't get any traction for all kinds of reasons.  Dumb, rude recruiters who don't know a good one from a bad one only being one of many.  Most of the time if there is no response the recruiter simply had better, more experienced or more industry specific candidates apply.  We don't make any money if we don't place people. 


I just phone interviewed a candidate last week who had one of the most impressive resumes i have ever seen.  She had responded to a posting on monster.  I emailed her back immediately and exchanged several more emails with her late one evening.  Ending with setting a time to call her the next afternoon and best number.  When i reached her numbers -two of them got two voice mail recordings.  I left name, company and position title that we had discussed.  Thirty minutes later she called back saying, "someone from this number called me".  I stated my name again and mentioned that we had emailed re a position and were set for a phone interview.  Her next question ,who is the company?  "Do you know them?"  I explained again who i was, mentioned that we had exchanged emails the night before, i was a third party recruiter retained by the company.  She then asked if i were going to market her.  I told her it was my job to interview her first, determine if she had the specific kind of tax experience my client needed, was in the acceptable salary range, if so i would identify the client ,if she wanted me to move forward ,i would submit her resume and see what the client thought.  Her next remark was , "so the company doesn't know you."  I explained that the company knew me well enough that they had sent me a check for 10K to retain me to recruit for them. 


She had responded to a posting, sent her resume and set a time for me to call her so i was a little taken aback at her questions and comments.   I asked her two questions, the answers were goofy, she sounded like she was either drunk or recovering from a serious head injury and hadn't made it back yet.  I ended that waste of time by telling her that i did not think she was a fit for the position so would let her know if anything else came in that might be.


She has called my office four times since yesterday at 4:00 demanding to know more about what my client is looking for and what they have said about her resume.  At this juncture she is hot that i called her and now will not call her back.  She has obviously responded to every posting she can find, doesn't remember that she did and has no recollection of our emails blah, blah.  Will i call her back.  No of course not.  She will probably remember my name as one of those recruiters who would not return her call.  Do i give a rip.  Absolutely not.


I have been stalked, called a racist via email when i responded to a candidate via email that her resume was not a fit.  Had a candidate that i told we did not handle the type of job he wanted file a complaint with the better business bureau because he came by our office without an appointment then wanted me to pay his expenses to drive from an area town to drop in on us without an appointment.  I constantly have to fight candidates who want to come by my office to discuss what kind of job they want for two hours when i tell them that i don't place people in their field.  Then they call and email daily wanting to know if i have anything for them.  When i don't respond they bitch to any and everybody they can find.  Do i care, absolutely not.


I think what most candidates do not understand is that even if on the surface it appears that they might have some merit for a job there are multiple factors that can not be posted.  There are multiple reasons that even with surface merit a candidate is not a fit.  Things like the last four jobs being less than a year and half.  We know many people are being laid off multiple times and but they can't compete with candidates who have three jobs in the past 15 years in the eyes of our employers.


I set a policy in my office last year that we would respond to all applications from postings.  It turned into a nightmare.  The ones who were Lowe's managers responding to jobs requiring a CPA certificate were sent a short email that said.  Thank you for your application please refer to the job requirements.

Half the time we got nasty emails back saying they might not have an accounting degree or be a CPA but if we could read we would see that they had done the payroll tax reports and their own 1040 so certainly should be a consideration as they could learn to do anything related to tax.  WE no longer respond to all applications only those that fit most of the requirements.  For the same reason that i do not call every phone marketer back to tell them why i am not interested in what they are trying to sell me or call every wrong number voice mail back to tell them they have the wrong number.


So the end result is that we review resumes, pick the top three to five, phone interview them, forward on the top three, let them know something as soon as we know something and do not respond to the ones that were filtered out for many reasons.  We may go back to some of them later for other jobs or if requirements change.  If they are mad that we didn't respond to their first application so be it.  We are not going to tell them that based on the other candidates we received they were a sloppy second on the first position. 


I feel a great deal of empathy for candidates who are trying hard to find a job but i can't make them be a fit if they are not.  I am tired of arguing, splaining to folks who won't listen and do not relish making their day worse by telling them that based on the other candidates they were dismal.  So in many cases not responding is a kindness for both of us.  Sorry i wish it were differenct but it's not in my bubble.


If the government is going to up their respond time and respond to every submission it is my fervent hope that they will hire a whole bunch of these folks that apply for everything to do that job.  They will learn a lot.  :)

Comment by Love on January 18, 2011 at 12:20pm
I had a few good laughs from these exchanges - the best was the puppy ad with people responding with cats, hamsters, etc! I recruit for a small business, while also having other HR Generalist responsibilities - there's simply not enough time in a day, and I'm not going to spend it replying to clearly unqualified candidates. I agree that a caveat that a response will be made to qualified candidates is helpful to set expectations. 
Comment by FREYJA P. on January 18, 2011 at 12:25pm
Hmm - lots of pros and cons for responding to all applicants - and laughed at the stalking story - but only because I think we have all had those experiences. I have always had a habit of either emailing or calling candidates who aren't chosen for interview. I call the top five or so that I believe I can/will place elsewhere, and the rest I send either (depending on the level of search) an email or a letter (yup - snail mail) saying thanks for the resume and application however their skill base falls outside the parameters of this clients specific requirements, however will keep them on file should anything cross my desk I feel is a fit and in the meantime the very best of luck in your job search. I've been amazed by how grateful the candidates are to have any response at all.
Comment by Scott Bruman on January 18, 2011 at 1:37pm
@Sandra: AMEN!
Comment by sandy miller on January 18, 2011 at 1:56pm

I deal with recruiters every day and have for about 10 yrs. For the most part I think they do the best they can being that they are busy. But I just wrote about this in my blog that recently some of these recruiters request information and have set appts with me only to ignore the date/time and think nothing of it.

I hope this lack of courtesy isn't a trend and is just my bad luck with a handful of recruiters.


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