You apply for a position. You have an initial phone screen, and it seems to go well. Then you don’t hear anything–for a few days, a week, maybe two weeks. What happened?
Speaking as a recruiter, I admit this does happen upon occasion. Are we happy when it does? No. It’s a bad candidate experience, and the longer we wait, the higher the risk is a hard to source candidate is going to find another opportunity and take it (especially in industries like healthcare or software development). So I’m not making excuses as to why this may happen–but I wanted to provide a little insight as to why it might.
Here are a few (real world) scenarios:
- The recruiter is excited to present you to the hiring manager–and then the hiring manager goes on vacation. Or is traveling to the Europe office and forgot to inform the recruiter they’d be out of office. Or is stricken with the flu. In any case, the recruiter isn’t informed, and keeps trying to ping the hiring manager–without success. (Recruiters don’t always work in the same office–or the same state–as their hiring managers, and hence may not have the option to walk down the hall to their office.)
- The hiring manager is totally overwhelmed with the fact they are doing their job + that of the position they are trying to hire for, and simply doesn’t respond.
- Something changes in that business–but the recruiter isn’t made aware of it just yet. Things go radio silent for the recruiter as well as the candidate. . .and the recruiter is later told the position is being put on hold/canceled/etc due to a reorg, etc.
- The recruiter has 60+ open requisitions and is drowning in work. In their totally overwhelmed state, getting your phone interview scheduled with the hiring manager slipped through the cracks.
One thing to be aware of: In some organizations 2 weeks is nothing at all when it comes to the hiring process. Is that how it should be? In a competitive job market, absolutely not. But it’s tough to move the flywheel of corporate culture when it comes to urgency in hiring for certain companies/teams. Although time may seem to move slowly for you, the job seeker, it may be status quo for that organization.
So what can you do about it?
Ensure you get the recruiter’s contact information during your first conversation. Ask them what the next steps will be and when before you hang up. If you don’t hear anything by that date, follow up regularly (but not too often–once a week is good) to reconfirm your interest and give them a status update of any potential opportunities with which you are in process. Ask again about next steps–what/when. If it’s a job you really want, be polite–but consistent in your follow-up.