Why Recruiters Don’t Respond To Your Inquiries & What To Do About It


Every job seeker knows that the application process is broken. You do everything you’re supposed to: You research the role and the company. You customize your resume and cover letter accordingly. You submit them into the black hole of applications and wait to hear back. Maybe you even send a follow-up email a week or two later to check on the status of your candidacy. If you’re lucky then you might get an automated response. My LinkedIn friend Hondo did the math and discovered that only 1% of recruiters responded to his personalized follow-up InMails. I recently received a message from Hondo that recapped of his woes. What struck me most about Hondo’s note was that he had searched for articles about why recruiters don’t write back and couldn’t find any. Not one.

I’m about to break the recruiter vow of silence.

Why Recruiters don’t write you back

The main reason that Recruiters don’t write you back is that they just don’t have time. Most companies don’t view Human Resources as a department that generates revenue. Making sure that revenue generating departments have the resources they need is always the top priority for executives. That often leaves the Talent Acquisition Department understaffed. There are no ROI metrics to track when it comes to spending time replying to applicant follow-up inquiries. Therefore, many executives view continuous candidate communication as a non-priority.

Want to know what metrics Recruiters and Sourcing Specialists get measured on? The primary metrics are time to hire and cost to hire. The secondary metrics are quality of hire and how many people are in the talent pipeline. Notice that there’s no metrics gauging Talent Acquisition Teams on their ability to maintain relationships with applicants or potential candidates?

Is there any hope?

Yes! The HR world has recently started throwing around the term Candidate Relationship Management (also called ‘the other CRM‘). Talent Acquisition Teams everywhere are working hard to convince Executive Leadership Teams about the value of Candidate Relationship Management. If they’re successful, then you can expect to start receiving replies to your emails and phone calls. You might even receive quarterly communications from the staffing team, become friends with your recruiter on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+! Recruiters and Sourcerswant to have the time to respond to you. Recruiters and Sourcers want to have the time to touch base with you from time to time so that you don’t forget about their company. Hopefully Executives will start to see that the value in maintaining these relationships even though it can’t be measured in their Applicant Tracking System Dashboard.

How to increase your odds of getting a response

  • Still follow up by InMail. Some Recruiters will respond (I’m one of them, so long as it’s composed well).
  • Try to figure out the Recruiter’s work email address and email your follow-up directly to them. If you find the Recruiter’s personal email address, do not use it. Do not invade their private life with your business inquiries. They will not take kindly to it.
  • Remember that business called the United States Postal Service? It’s still open. Send the Recruiter a letter. Include your resume in case it somehow got lost in the shuffle. Everyone opens their mail if it’s sent to their business location, so you can at least have confidence that your words were read.
  • Communicate through non-traditional methods. Reach out to them directly on social media via Twitter or a video on YouTube.
  • Account for cultural differences. If you’re applying overseas then it might not be in their cultural handbook to engage applicants who they aren’t currently interested in hiring.
  • When you follow up, don’t just inquire about the status of your application. You can also ask about the status of the req (‘req’ is short for ‘requisition’). Is it open, closed, on hold?

Does anyone currently write back to candidates?

I’m so excited to be able to answer this question with a yes!

robin-guidry-headshotRobin Guidry is a résumé writer, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat computer software and IS&T industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit www.talentcounseling.com to learn more.