What Do Recruiters & Employers Really Mean When They Say This...
What Do Recruiters & Employers Really Mean When They Say This...
Do you think that sometimes you are getting mixed messages from a recruiter or potential employer?

Well, you may be right!

What’s not being said to spare your feelings or avoid a direct answer? 

Here are 3 Examples of What Recruiters & Employers Really Mean — Help For Jobseekers Who Aren’t “Mind Readers”

“We’re still interviewing other candidates.”

When they are “still interviewing other candidates,” this actually could be true a true statement.

For companies who are only interviewing a mere 12 candidates, interviews could take several days up to a couple of weeks. Professionals don’t always realize just how long it takes to coordinate schedules even for a small group of job candidates.

Of course, there is another way to interpret the company who says they are still interviewing candidates.

It could also mean that you are not their first choice (gulp!), and they are buying time to either look further or get a commitment from their number one candidate.

This is an employment scenario most professionals don’t know how to handle, but actually is the easiest to do so.

You have 2 options on how to proceed:

First, walk away and focus forward. If you’re doing an effective job search, leveraging your network and applying for jobs that are laser-focused to your ideal job target and matching skills, the company who is still interviewing other candidates shouldn’t affect you whatsoever.

Second, convince the company you should be their #1 pick.

But, how do you go about doing this without being pesky?

This is the real challenge for most of us because HR managers and recruiters have a threshold for annoyance, making it utterly crucial that you follow-up delicately, yet effectively.

What’s the best way to proceed?

First, send a thank-you note, if you haven’t already. Heck, you’ve heard this a million times, right? But, you’d be amazed at how many job candidates skip this step, which opens a window of opportunity for you. Include some very brief snippets on why you are a good fit for the job. Be sure to also include 2-3 quick, “new info” details that you didn’t mention in the interview and would come as a surprise to the hiring manager.

Need help writing a thank-you note? Here are some core topics that you should cover:
  • Right up front, thank him/her for taking the time to meet with you
  • Mention a particular notable about you that might jog the hiring managers memory on who you are; e.g. “Thanks for recommending Martin. I reached out to him over the weekend.” 
  • Broadly recap your knowledge, skills, and abilities, and how that relates to the company’s job opening. Be concise!
  • Address new information you may have recently learned about the company (e.g. new major client or market expansion) and further discuss how you will be an even better fit based this new news.

For example, “I noticed your company’s plans to expand along the East Coast. You might remember, I expanded Joh’s market along that same area by $13.8M just last year.” 

What if you don’t have the *exact* skills the company is seeking?

This is a common question I often get as well.

This is when you MUST spell out all the transferable skills you possess and how those skills relate to the job opening. You should have done this in your resume, but also reinforcing these same transferable abilities in your thank-you letter is a good idea as well.

Second, don’t act needy and give them some breathing room — generally a week or more. This is when you must adhere to “annoyance avoidance” laws. ?? Once a week or more has passed, after sending your thank-you letter, of course, make a follow-up phone call or send an email.

A phone call certainly provides you with the best opportunity to ask 2-3 follow-up questions that might not as easily answered through email. For example, when the hiring continues to say “we’re still interviewing candidates,” you might want to ask:
  1. When should I expect a callback or notification should the position become filled?
  2. Would it be okay if I follow-up with you again in another 10 days should I not hear back?
  3. When would be a good time to schedule a second interview, as I know I could do a better job of relaying why I’m the better fit for this position? (this question is certainly more aggressive)
"You’ll be hearing from us.”

Well, we all know this is not true in most situations — we all know the reality of the world we live and work in, right?

Simply put, recruiters and hiring managers just do not have the time to go back to all applicants to tell them they are not moving forward in the hiring process.

For those who are using sophisticated applicant tracking systems (ATS) for resume management and therefore may have automated notifications weaved into their software.

For those who are using manual follow-up systems (AKA hand-typed emails), well, those systems are far less reliable and all too often avoided for obvious reasons.

So, what can you do about a lack of follow-up from hiring managers?

Start by asking the hiring manager after each interview about their hiring practices; e.g. how soon you can expect a follow-up and in what form (email/letter/phone call). Don’t finish any interview without knowing the best next steps.

Just asking 1-2 quick questions will provide you with details on when the next expected communication might be forthcoming and their process for informing candidates. Ask if you can follow up if you do not hear within the stated timeframe—and check in if you don’t hear from them.

“We’ll keep you in our database.”

Yes, they may file your resume in the database along with thousands of others and then forget you.

One of the ways to keep your name in the mind of a recruiter is to develop a relationship through avenues like social networking. And being a resource to them for industry information or potential candidates that might fit other searches they are conducting. Maintaining a professional demeanor and walking the fine line between stalking and staying in touch is key.

So call it a white lie, fib, untruth, whatever—it is still not the direct truth.

Recruiters and employers are guilty at times of trying to pacify executive job seekers by masking their true intent or action. Don’t take it personally and try to understand it is part of the job search process.