Why the Recruiter Did Not Call You Back

  • Recruitment Team
  • December 10, 2019

I get this often, and it’s a typical breakfast/lunch topic among recruiters whenever there’s a career/job fair happening: an applicant asking, “I applied, but how come I did not get a callback?”

I often would respond to this question with a bunch of follow-up questions, such as: “When did you apply?” or “What role did you apply for?” or “What skills are they looking for?” From there, I would try to “troubleshoot” the situation. But typically, here are the main reasons why the applicant did not get a callback.

Assuming that the candidate listed their contact number and listed them correctly (trust me, it happens), it could be one of the factors below.

Consider the Timing

One of the reasons why I ask “When did you apply?” is to figure out the timeline of the role. A job is usually posted online because there’s a potential opening; however, the candidate could be applying for a position that has moved on to the advanced hiring stage. For example, there may very well be enough interviewed candidates for the HR to think that they don’t need to bring any more candidates.

Aside from applying for the position too late, it could also be the opposite. Some companies would post their job but are not ready to start screening the candidates, but would like to get a head start on getting quite a few resumes to go over.

Another timing-related factor that can be in play is the geography. There are situations where a recruiter is looking for someone that can start immediately, and most recruiters would prioritize candidates that are within the area. They would most likely target the local candidates that appear to be in-between jobs as the low-hanging fruit.

Is The Posting For Real?

Now, this part will be hard for the candidate to figure out. However, some companies utilize job postings as a way to do some market research. For example, they could be looking at what kind of response (quantity and quality candidates) they will get. Is there a local talent pool that can potentially fill their gaps? Even up to something as simple as researching how much a particular role commands in the market.

In some cases, it’s a matter of company policy. Some companies are obliged to post their opening even though they already have an internal candidate.

Can Learn to do vs Have Done It Before

Sometimes recruiters get the “I can do that” phrase from the candidates. However, after inspecting their profile, it does not reflect on their experience. Maybe the candidates have the theoretical or academic knowledge or have done the skillset a long time ago, but really, it depends on what’s needed from this opening.

If the opening has the flexibility of getting a new hire that would have to learn on the job, companies will do this because, for the most part, these hiring’s are on the cheaper side. This strategy is feasible if the company has enough runway for the talent to realize their potential, without negatively impacting the project (or upsetting the apple cart).

However, there are situations where a company has an opening because they badly needed someone with that specific skill set. Sometimes, there’s also a time-constraint, and a Subject-Matter Expert (SME) type of hire is the best way to go.

There are other reasons why a recruiter would not call you after applying, and some of them can be as silly as missing out on your application. This can happen if the recruiter is not organized, or if there are too many cooks in the kitchen.

Timing, authenticity of the role, and qualifications can affect a candidate’s application. Sometimes, a combination of factors could be the reason why the candidate did not get the call.

Recruiters live a hectic “work life.” They are often juggling multiple roles and don’t have the time to go through all the applicants and often have to rely on their Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter the top candidates. The candidates should be wary of the job posting, and ensure that the essential skills that the posting is looking for are on their resume. Lastly, employ other job-seeking tactics (i.e. networking) to boost your chances of getting your next job.

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