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. 

Views: 283

Comment by Mat von Kroeker on January 18, 2011 at 2:37pm

Thanks for backing the recruiter on this one Sandra--- and in such entertaining fashion as well.  

The business landscape has changed.  This isn't the 50's and 60's business etiquette any longer where there was astronomical growth, too many open positions and not enough skilled labor to fill them-- so there was opportunity for "training" or bringing in the bright "I'm a fast learner".  Not the case today. Too much labor (population growth, immigration, offshore) and not enough open positions-- so it's easier to find individuals who fit a multitude of requirements.  Network and find a company that's willing to deal with a learning curve--- but don't waste a recruiters or HR person's time if you know you don't qualify.  Also--  early on in my recruiting career, I tried to give feedback and told people to follow-up--- and it turned out to be answering the phone all day with the same answer for everyone "I don't know why, but I haven't heard anything from the client."  And I've never had a cordial conversation telling a candidate they weren't selected for the position-- every instance was the candidate becoming irate and defensive.  I decided it was better to tell a candidate that "there's no guarantee for a callback after I submit your resume", "there's always someone better than you", "job description is so vague, we don't know exactly what the hiring manager's looking for", etc.  In other words, "Don't call me-- I'll call you when I hear from the client." It works beautifully and it's better for candidates and recruiters alike.

About the government cutting the time it takes to fill positions?  Great--!!  But since I've worked government req's in the past--- I'll take the cynical route and say "I'll beleive it when I see it."  Maybe filling a clerk, lower level secretarial, or entry level positions maybe---  but there is SO much bureaucracy and red tape with positions requiring degrees and many years experience--- the 3 month deadline is a pipedream.  Unfortunately for the government, they miss out on some of the best and brightest available candidates because they take too long to fill positions--- and who wants to hire the sub par candidate who can't get a job in a 3 or 6 month time period??   Well--  the Govt HAS to-- which could very well explain it's many inadequacies.  (No offense to people out of work today--- this was a few years ago.)  I have never had a top candidate still be available after three months, let alone 6 months, while working with government open positions.  Once, a hiring manager called two weeks after submitting resumes--- and it was if Jesus Christ himself had just resurrected before our eyes!!  A true miracle!

Comment by Scott Bruman on January 18, 2011 at 2:45pm
@Mat:   I'd love to work on your reqs then!   For my part, while there are plenty of looking for jobs, I couldn't disagree more that there is an abundance of candidates that match the IT requirements (at least  of our clients).   It is a monumental struggle right now to find the blend of skills our clients hold out for at the level they are looking for (mostly Fortune 100/500 clients).   Everything is relative though.. and much depends on the client, the relationship you have with them, and the type of roles they're trying to fill.    Just wish ours were in areas where supply of quality wasnt so tight. :-)
Comment by Scott Bruman on January 18, 2011 at 2:46pm
btw, we work on contingent staffing so its a constant race to fill these contract needs in an ASAP model.  I suppose working FTE fills provides a little more breathing room.
Comment by FREYJA P. on January 18, 2011 at 3:31pm

Thank you Scott and Morgan. I also work on contingency and reply to all candidates because last time I checked it is very simple to send an email to multiples - and include the line " our client has now closed his/her selection process" to let's say groups of 50 very quickly these days. And yes, I agree about the referrals and the spinoffs from this indirect value. We have never been able to communicate so quickly and from so many sources as we can today.I certainly didn't work or recruit in the 50's or 60's but I understand carbon paper for duplicates was used way back then.

 I see less of an excuse now then I did ten years ago. It really is a question of organization, will and values.  It is easy to develop a good reputation but it takes years to undo a negative one.

Comment by Scott Bruman on January 18, 2011 at 3:50pm
I respect everyone's position and individual experiences, but I disagree to the extent that you can't reply in "bulk response" to various individual emails or other responses (phone, board posts, blogs, etc, etc).  It may take a fraction of a second to hit "send" but it takes a couple minutes to write a thoughtful email response to an individuals unique inquiry (or response to my inquiry).  Unless I'm willing to sign up for 16 hour days and working through weekends, there is simply not enough time to respond to the avalanche of response I get daily (both phone and email) for the variety of positions I work on... I am focused on finding a match and don't have time to respond to every person that is clearly NOT showing me respect by thoroughly reading the requirement and replying because they are a clear match.  If someone is even close I do take the time to respond, if only to simply say "Thank you for your interest! I'll review your profile and look forward to connecting to discuss further if its a strong match".   If you look at my profile recommendations on LinkedIn you'll see that I have a good reputation and am sincerely interested in treating ppl well.   I simply do not have enough time each day to respond to everyone that reaches out to me.  While I have organizaton, will, and values covered in spades - what I dont have is unlimited time each day to reply to poorly matched candidates flinging their resumes in bulk at every and any requisition that they come across that they think they can do (which they very well might be able to!) but clearly do not have what the client has listed as mandatory in any candidate we submit.  Our (and my) reputation is on the line with the client.  While I am taking the time to be polite (which I value infinitely more than this post may indicate), someone else is talking to a strong match that will get hired for the req I'm working on.   
Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 18, 2011 at 3:50pm

@Scott - Pax vobiscum

@Mat -I wanted to believe too.  That was when i had only been a recruiter for a year or two. :)

@Morgan - Good points.  Could i pay you to write notes to the 425 candidates i got last week.  I work for the client.  My candidates are carefully selected, valuable, highly desired inventory.  I take good care of the inventory because without something to sell i am of no value to the guy who signs the front of my check. 

@Freyja  - Do you get blow back from the multiples?  I tried that and managed to generate multiple return emails that seemed to require a personal response and a few that took issue with a form letter.

The best was one who sent an email back that said, "Don't send me any more fucking form letters."

I couldn't stand it.  I sent an email back that said, "Fucking fine, i won't."  Well he can't say he didn't get a personal response.

Comment by FREYJA P. on January 18, 2011 at 4:15pm

Sandra - I probably would have made the same response in that situation.  Sure there are always one or two nasties in the bunch but I have a delete button for that. For every sore one - I get ten emails saying thank you for being a voice in the wilderness and that's it.

While I switch it up from time to time-I make an effort to not make it sound like a mass mail, I say my client's parameters (not mine), I say selection now closed (too late to argue) will keep you in mind (well probably not) and good luck in your search (now carry on) and it seems to work.

I also have a quick one that says I'm sorry they misunderstood the parameters of the posted position however, unfortunately my client is inflexible about the qualifications required and will not interview - blah blah thank you, etc.

Comment by Kelly on January 18, 2011 at 7:09pm
If someone has taken the time to apply for a position (which is done 99% electronically) it is fair to expect an email back to say that you are not right for this particular job. It is common courtesy and I do not think that applicants are being unreasonable to expect this.  Good recruiters and HR professionals know this and ensure that they make the time to do so.
Comment by Scott Bruman on January 18, 2011 at 7:37pm


I am a very good recruiter (feel free to reach to my LinkedIn network and confirm it)... I have 51 contractors billing right now (down from my high of 59 in late Q32010) and have built a substantial network of candidates I stay in touch with and work with.  I take exception to those of you that seem to think your circumstance reflects everyone elses.  This is a volume and work load issue.  Apparently many folks have less to work on and more time in the day to spend replying to hundreds of candidates that don't take the time to ensure they're pursuing opportunities that match their profiles.  You simply do not understand the volume of responses required to follow your "best practices".  If I did do this, I would spend approx 2.5 hours a day simply telling ppl they aren't a match for what they reached out about.  More power to you if you have that time, but I simply do not.



Peace!  :-)



Comment by Scott Bruman on January 18, 2011 at 8:05pm
@Kelly:  one last quick note on this (with no malice intended btw :-)...  I personally feel that the more appropriate statement would be:  "If someone has taken the time to evaluate a position and apply for it because they can demonstrate a match to the clearly listed "must have" mandatory skill set, then they deserve a response and are not unreasonable to expect one."   Anyone who doesnt show the common courtesy and respect (to both the recruiter and client hiring manager) to due this very minimal matching effort has no room to complain.   Frankly, their lack of concern and time spent ensuring they are a match to the opportunities they pursue potentially take significant income potential from my family.  So, it is truly not clear to me why I "owe" them this time.    Again, to be clear.. I am talking about only the approx 30% of those applying that don't even have close to the clearly stated minimum requirements.   Everyone else?  Absolutely, they deserve the decency of some response.  No argument whatsoever.  


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