career, job search, recruiting

You find a job you’re perfect for–and are never contacted. What happened?

You are somewhere on the spectrum of passive to fully active job seeker. You find The Job–you know, the one that as you scan down the required/preferred qualifications it’s as if the person writing it had your resume sitting in front of them. How could the recruiter NOT immediately pick up the phone and schedule an interview with you?

And then–crickets. Radio silence. You hear nothing…until you get that depressing, “Thank you for your interest in. . .” auto-generated rejection email.

Of course, you’re in utter disbelief. And that disbelief probably morphs into indignation pretty quickly. “How could they not even phone screen me? Is the recruiter a total idiot?”

Guess what? As a job seeker, I’ve been there too. And I’ve had that same internal dialogue.

Let me share a few possible reasons why you never got that call:

  • The job was posted for a pre-identified internal or external candidate. This is the most common reason in my experience. The hiring manager already knows who they want for the job; recruiting is required for compliance reasons to post the position externally. You might be perfect–but they don’t know you, and they do know the pre-identified candidate. And in this case, that’s what matters.
  • You’ve been caught in the middle of a reorg or managerial shift. . .This is not uncommon. A position is posted, recruitment begins, but then recruiting is told to hold off due to ‘something in the works’–so we leave the req posted but de-prioritize sourcing/candidate contact until we hear more. Finally we’re told either: 1) The management change/reorg is complete, and full steam ahead; or 2) Close the position–we’re going a different way. Unfortunately candidates sometimes get caught in the middle.
  • . . .or something bigger. Like a reduction in force. I’ve seen this too; a company is in business as usual mode–then Recruiting is told to hold up on recruiting for certain positions (or sometimes all of them). Shortly thereafter, a big announcement is made (merger/acquisition/major restructuring/reorg) and accompanying that–layoffs. Last time I saw this happen as a candidate, it became apparent a couple of weeks later via LinkedIn why I suddenly stopped hearing from the recruiter with whom I’d been working; she lost her job too.

Unfortunately, this is often not transparent to the candidate–and whatever is happening can take weeks to work though. (It also may be clear as mud to the recruiting team, too–which is doubly frustrating for them as they can’t get their work done, and they also are well aware that delays/lack of updates can negatively impact the candidate experience.)

This is a case where having built (and maintained) a solid professional network can be invaluable to you. When I am in candidate limbo, I reach out to the people I know at that company to learn if they might know of something going on that might not yet be communicated outside the company (note: people working @ publicly traded companies may not be able to share certain information before it is public to the investor community). More than once, my network provided intelligence that a certain job posting was not viable. Hugely useful to know whether to continue pursuing or move onto other prospects.

So the lesson of the day: If this happens to you, there may be a very valid reason for it–that the recruiter can’t talk to you about. Use your network to gather intelligence, learn what you can, then focus your energy on other targeted positions.



2 thoughts on “You find a job you’re perfect for–and are never contacted. What happened?

  1. Fantastic post and so true!

    Posted by cynditefft | July 24, 2013, 8:55 am


  1. Pingback: Are You Being Persistent... or a Pest? - AfterCollege - March 14, 2014

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