Career Management

By now, most job seekers know some of the ways to apply for jobs.

Conventional job boards like Monster, Dice and CareerBuilder, and job aggregators like Indeed and Simply Hired are a start as are corporate careers websites and using LinkedIn. These all should supplement, not be, your primary job search tools.

These days many job leads come from through family, friends, and through local networking contacts. Others may come from a few selected recruiters and agencies you know and trust – all can be considered part of the ‘hidden job market’. These are jobs that don’t necessary get posted to websites – contacts rely on people they know and trust to fill these openings.

So far, so good…

Recruiters must keep candidates updated:

However from my experience as a job support group facilitator, many recruiters don’t keep applicants updated on their candidacy for different positions they’ve applied to or have followed up on. As background, there are different types of recruiters – many rely on a company’s VMS (Vendor Management System). Through a VMS, a job lead is sent from a company into the VMS database. From there, all vendors/recruiters that use that VMS can email that specific job to contacts these recruiters have in their own databases. In my cases, a person may receive that same job multiple times if they’re on different vendors’ database.

Other leads come from ‘preferred’ recruiters who work only with a specific company or companies. Less competition but it’s still not ideal.

No matter how you find out about a job, you apply for it and wait to hear next steps. But how often do you hear back? You may get a ‘thanks for applying’ email but nothing else, not even a ‘rejection email’.

Why can’t recruiters keep candidates updated?

Reasons may vary: a recruiter/vendor may not know themselves about the status of a job, or they don’t want to share bad news with you. More likely they’re either too busy to follow-up or it’s a combination of all of these.

As job seekers, you always should follow-up every two weeks or so (preferably by phone) with these recruiters and request an update on your candidacy. If you don’t hear back after two or three attempts it’s time to focus your job search energies with other recruiters and their agencies.

When you receive good news:

Let’s assume you get some good news – the recruiter has set up a phone screen (first step in the interview process). Once you interview ends, as a final question it’s not inappropriate to ask when a decision will be made to fill the position and when and who you should follow-up with. You’ll probably also send a ‘thanks for speaking with me’ email or hand-written letter.

And then the waiting begins…

Days, weeks and maybe months go by and you don’t get any feedback on how the interview went:

  • Has the position been filled?
  • Has it been put on hold?
  • Or has the hiring manager decided they want to interview others?

As the job seeker you don’t know which (if any of these) is the case; in many cases, neither does the recruiting or agency.

When you receive feedback:

Let’s assume you get feedback (good or bad):

  • Bad news – the recruiter and/or hiring manager tells you the position has been filled. In that case, you thank everyone for their time.
  • Good news– the manager wants to meet with you in person.

Assuming the good news: you’re meeting in-person with someone from the company.  Again as one of your final questions, you ask about follow-up and next steps. You hope all went well but you never know….Again the waiting begins. More cases than not, you won’t hear back either way.

This scenario plays itself out too often and it shows a lack of respect for everyone, differently, when it comes to job search. My time is just as valuable to me as it is to a recruiting or hiring manager. I’m interviewing the company as well to see if it makes sense for me to work there.

There may be some valid reasons for not supplying certain types of feedback. Also rejection whether it comes from a hiring manager or a recruiter isn’t something most people feel comfortable sharing. But I have more respect for those who are honest and willing to at least thank me for taking the time to interview with them.

Job search is no different than buying a home or making any similar large purchase – you have a buyer and a seller and the economic times determine which side has the edge. But it doesn’t have to be this way nor should it. It’s no wonder that many job seekers feel frustrated, even a bit betrayed by this process.

I’d love to hear from recruiters/HR professionals to share their thoughts and feedback with job seekers. Maybe I’m missing something as a job support group facilitator.


About Kenneth Lang

Kenneth Lang is a social media analyst who has worked with job seekers and small business owners on how to best maximize using LinkedIn for specific goals. He’s worked for large and small companies, most recently as Online Project Management Support for The New York Times in New York City on the International version of the newspaper – The International Herald Tribune.  Kenneth is co-founder of Steps To Success which offers individual and group LinkedIn sessions for business owners.

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