Recruiters: Perpetuating the Quarter-Life Crisis

Recruiters: Perpetuating the Quarter-Life Crisis

Looking for a job can be so taxing. I’m definitely the aggressive type when it comes to pursuit of a potential opportunity. But, as I’m sure most if not all of you know, it’s very challenging when you are communicating with a recruiter who does not contact you back. I don’t mean for every application you fill out, but if you complete one or more official interviews, it would be nice to get a timely follow-up communication. I fully appreciate the fact that most recruiters get 500+ emails per day from candidates, and they often get busy traveling, which is why, in my experiences, I’ve tended to take a more proactive approach in my search.

If I contact a recruiter inquiring about the status of a position, and they say “I will follow up with you on Friday with an update before the weekend” and they don’t do that, am I a stalker for following up and saying “I wanted too check in with you regarding XXXXX position for XXXXX company. You mentioned providing an update last week, so I wanted to touch base and see if anything more has developed since we last spoke”???

And If i AM, in fact a stalker, has being a stalker ever eliminated a candidate from the running? Am i wrong? I honestly wouldn’t have to “follow-up” if folks called when they said they would. Is that asking too much?

Here’s a blog post by a recruiter with some helpful suggestions. One of the most interesting things she says is “I’m extra aware after living with Charlie [her brother, a recent college grad] during his job search of how hard it is being a candidate when your future is just sitting there in a recruiter’s email inbox.”

I wish more recruiters understood that candidates, especially ones who have completed an entire, extensive interview process, feel like their future is a mouse click away.

Living with a Recent College Graduate – Installment 3: Stalking Your Recruiter

by Janelle Godfrey (Technical Recruiter at Microsoft)

NEWSFLASH!  CHARLIE GOT A JOB!  YAY!  He will be working at a bank in downtown Seattle starting on Monday!  Patience and hard work pay off, as does persistence… which leads me to my next topic: following up with your recruiter.

I know that recruiters can be notoriously slow to get back to you.  I know we may tell you that we will have the results tomorrow when we really mean next month.  I know we say a lot of things and then get busy and forget and need to be reminded.  So I thought I would write a blog that would help people know how to best work with and reach your recruiter.

This topic came up after my brother Charlie hadn’t heard back from several recruiters regarding his interview status.  He had interviewed, thought he had done well, was told he would hear his results and then nothing.  He had recruiters who would say “I will call you this afternoon”, he would go outside and come back in and have a missed call from the recruiter with no message.  He would frantically call back and not hear anything for a few more weeks.  Charlie kept coming to me asking me what he should do.

I’m probably the last person he should ask candidate advice from, since I have been guilty of all of those offenses at one time or another.  I thought about it and came up with some good tips/tricks for those of you who have felt that your recruiter doesn’t listen, or that you may be stalking/bothering them every single day.

  1. Email is the best way to reach a recruiter initially: Recruiters tend to travel a lot – I know this since I’m on the road all of the time.  My work phone doesn’t always connect to my email, and sometimes I get back to my office and my first priority is email, not voice mail.  If you have a question about the process, your status, your interviews, then email is usually your best first attack method.  I know that when I get an email it gets me thinking and it’s easier to reply than to call someone back.
  2. If you call, leave a message: This reminds me of when I was in the 7th grade and had a crush on a boy… I would call him up and hang up to see if he was home.  Fast-forward 15 years… where everyone has caller-ID, and all phones track missed calls.  If you do decide to call your recruiter, just leave a message.  It looks more professional than calling 20 times when a recruiter is on the phone and hanging up.  I know that at Microsoft we even get emails when people call, and it shows the number or name if we have it stored.  It’s better to leave one message on a phone than 20 missed calls.  I guarantee you’ll get a better response.
  3. State who you are, what you’re are inquiring about and where you are in the process in the body of your email/vm: This may sound simple enough, but when you are requesting information back from a recruiter, the best thing you can do is let them know who you are, where you left off in the process, and what position you’re interested in.  Instead of saying “Hi, this is Janelle – wanted to know where I stand”, try saying, “Hello, this is Janelle Godfrey.  Approximately three weeks ago you had me speak with an interviewer for the position of Program Manager.  It’s been a while and I haven’t heard the results.  Can you please let me know where I am in the process?”  This way a recruiter has all of the info he or she needs to look into your questions and get back to you.
  4. If you have a status update about a position, put that in the subject line with your name: With so many emails a day (I receive around 300 a day), it can be tricky to choose which to look at first.  If you’re a candidate and have a pending deadline or change in status, go ahead and put that in the subject line.  For instance, if you interviewed and now have an offer from another company, try putting this in the subject line: “Janelle Godfrey – XYZ Company Offer Pending – Interview Results Needed”.  It may get the recruiter’s attention a bit faster than just putting “Question” or responding to the original email.
  5. No News Isn’t Always Bad News: Again, remember that recruiters are human and can get behind on their work just like everyone else.  Just because you haven’t heard back doesn’t mean that you’re out of the running.  Sometimes recruiters are waiting for hiring managers, other recruiters, other candidates, VPs, or someone else involved in the hiring process to get back to them about a position or a candidate and they don’t always have the answers.  If you have other offers, make sure you let your recruiter know.  And if you still don’t hear back, well, then it’s better to take the job from the recruiter that has made you an actual offer rather than waiting for one who hasn’t gotten back to you in three months.

Let me know if you have any other recruiter-related questions.  I’m extra aware after living with Charlie during his job search of how hard it is being a candidate when your future is just sitting there in a recruiter’s email inbox.  But be patient, be honest and hang in there.  We want to find great people as much as you want to be found, sometimes it just takes time.

– Janelle


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