EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

There was an article in the New York Times several years ago about how employers and recruiters no longer seem to get back to job seekers, even when they have been serious candidates for particular opportunities.

As easy as it is to click reply when you first send in your credentials, the follow up process is a lot more complex. Everyone should recognize the incredible volumes that those on the receiving end are experiencing. And, clients seem to take forever to review candidates and coordinate interviews for those they have selected.

“The great lament” could go on forever. I am sure that each of you has your own special story. However, the explanations as to why this is the case and the rationale on the company or recruiter side is really beside the point.

The real question is what you should do on your end when you don’t hear back.

Let’s put aside the lack of response to a submission, whether it is to an Internet lead or to an actual search firm and instead focus on those times when you have had real expressions of interest, whether that is a telephone call or an actual in person interview.

Step one is to never forget to ask when you will be hearing back about next steps. If you don’t ask, you will never know how long to wait before beginning your follow up. The difficult part comes when that appropriate waiting period has passed.

I will share with you several thoughts. The first is what I call the “glass bell technique.” As you can imagine, although a glass bell makes noise and is easily heard, you have to be careful not to ring it too vigorously for fear of breaking it. The same thing applies to follow up calls for job search. There is a fine line between being persistent and being obnoxious.

My Accounts Receivable collection experience was primarily separating valued clients from their money. (I sometimes refer to this as a surgical wallet removal.) You should never be embarrassed to ask for your money, but if you don’t ask politely, you run the risk of ruining a perfectly good relationship. The same thing holds with following up on jobs where you are a viable candidate.

Not calling could be interpreted as a lack of interest. Calling too frequently could be seen as insecurity. Like I said, it is a fine line.

To a degree, if I may repeat something I heard offered up once: They know how to reach you. If they were interested in you, they would call. Your struggle to reach someone for confirmation is only going to provide you with the words “we’re not interested.” That and a nickel isn’t going to buy you much.

That said, if you believe you were a good fit for the job and that you connected with all who took the time to see you, I would suggest you put this opportunity on your “targets of opportunity” list. Any time and every time you have some spare moments, call or send an email to remind them of your existence. The “ideal candidate” who was offered the job might have turned them down and brought them back to square one. At this point, searches have been known to be totally restarted, ignoring even viable candidates they met on the first round. To a degree this approach stems from embarrassment that they didn’t keep you in the loop.

If false pride is all that keeps you from being back in touch with these folks, I would gently suggest you ignore their rudeness for the potential of a paycheck. While specific insults shouldn’t be ignored (like we wouldn’t hire you if you were the last person on earth), sins of omission should be forgive. (I’ve always commented on your graciousness under fire.)

Again, whining about situations where you have been ignored is not the point and purpose of The FENG. Those who want to comment on approaches to handling “the sounds of silence” should send their opus to Leads@TheFENG.org for publication in our newsletter.

I would look forward to having you share your “secrets.”

Regards, Matt

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