Questions for Recruiters...And Why They May Not Answer

I know the job search can be super frustrating and stressful - not to mention anxiety driven. I also realize that it’s much easier for me to write these articles while being employed. However, I remember how anxious I would feel in between jobs - or being miserable in a job and starting to look. Both could take me to very dark places with little sprinkles of hope of finding that next great position. I am writing this article to help you try to normalize the job search. Put it in to a healthy perspective. Yes, you will feel stressed and anxious. But if you think about it, when have those two feelings really done much for you? It is helpful sometimes if you can just look at it like it’s a part of your journey in life and what can you do to move forward. In trying to do that, you may have questions that no one has really answered for you so let me try to do that here since I’ve been a job seeker, recruiter and now career coach. Granted, many of your questions may have follow up questions so I hope this offers additional information to at least compliment your perspective.

Question: What is the status of my application?

Answer: It really depends. Did you apply online? Is it sitting in an ATS (Applicant Tracking System = software to track job applicants and open job requisitions)? Has anyone looked at it? Have you gone through a recruiter and are waiting to hear back? Have you sent it to a friend or former colleague who works at that institution? Do we know if this position is still open?

Ideas to move forward: If there is anyone you can get in touch with about your application, do it. Send a polite email to them asking if there’s any chance if the position is still open and/or if your application has been reviewed. If there is no one to get in touch with, keep moving forward. ATS’s are GREAT for the employer. They help track applicants and scan for keywords. The challenge is they may not be great for the job seeker and might be sitting in a black hole. Consider that 300 applications are sitting there with yours. It’s not that you are not good enough. It’s not that you don’t have what it takes. It’s that your resume is combined with a lot of other information and may not even have been reviewed. They may have also filled the position and didn’t take the posting down. OR, clients change their minds all the time - maybe they are going in a new direction with this role. See if you can find out the status and if not, move on.

Question: May I have feedback from my interview(s)?

Answer: Most likely, no. They may give you some simple answer “you didn’t quite have the experience they were looking for” or “We’ve hired an internal applicant.” Without getting in to too many details and legal guidelines (that I’m not even sure I’m aware of), company representatives often cannot give too much feedback to an interview for fear of being sued. They don’t want to be sued for ageism, sexism, etc. so it’s easier to not give any feedback (please excuse the gross oversimplification here) but also think about the company. They may be trying to recruit new employees for 100s of positions. If they interview even 3-5 people per position, they just don’t have the time to give detailed feedback to every interview. Try to think back to a time that maybe you had a crush on someone and or were dating and it just didn’t fit or feel right. Did you want to have to give a detailed explanation or did you just hope you (and they) could move on? Move on if it’s not a right fit. NEXT.

Question: If not a fit for this role, am I fit for other roles within the organization?

Answer: You can certainly ask this if you are given a rejection (and not ghosted). The truth is, the team (or people) you were interviewing with are most likely not concerned with too many other roles in the organization. They may not have been briefed on what others are looking for nor care - going back to the time thing, they just don’t have a lot of it. However, it could be worth asking on the off chance that Jim from another department did mention to them he was looking for someone like you. However, if you don’t hear back on that, definitely do not take it personally. They likely have no clue and it may take you applying to another position or another person in your network helping you to identify this other role.

Question: Why did the recruiter ghost me?

Answer: Honestly, I’m sorry that they did. It’s crappy and doesn’t feel good. It’s disrespectful and really doesn’t leave a good impression. I don’t have an excuse for them other than to say that they’re busy working to fill roles. It’s unlikely that they are on a 100% commission basis but if they are, think about how they need to move on to the next thing to keep food on their table. And even though most get paid a decent base salary, each role does lead to commission for them. It is part of their job responsibilities to find and hire the right talent. Recruiters have a lot of metrics they need to hit and they only have so much time in the day like everyone else. They may not have the luxury of time to follow up with every person that is not the right fit. I still believe they should let you know but chalking it up as something out of control, do your best to move on.

Moving Forward

I hope these Q&As may shed some light from the other side of the table as you are job searching. And if you have any other questions, feel free to send them over to me at and I’ll do my best to answer. I am wishing you all joy and peace in your work!

Article reference: Why Employers Don’t Give Feedback to Rejected Candidates

How to Write a Strong Resume: A Guide for Teenagers

How Becoming a Parent is Like Taking a New Job