Dealing with recruiters who don’t call you back

Are you being contacted by recruiters who have barely taken a look at your LinkedIn profile, then you don’t hear from them again?

Liz Ryan, CEO/founder of Human Workplace and Forbes contributor shared the following letter she received from a jobseeker wanting advice.

Dear Liz,

I was excited the first week after I changed my LinkedIn settings to alert recruiters that I’m open to new job opportunities.

In that first week, five different recruiters contacted me.

However, I was brought back down to earth pretty fast.

None of the recruiters who called me seemed to have spent a minute reviewing my LinkedIn profile.

Once we were on the phone, each one started interrogating me about my background even though every question they asked is already answered in my LinkedIn profile.

I answered the questions. All five recruiters asked me for my resume.

I updated my resume and sent it to the five recruiters. That was four weeks ago, and I haven’t heard from any of them yet.

I changed my LinkedIn settings again so that I’m no longer asking recruiters to contact me. It seems like a big waste of my time.

Is there anything I can do about recruiters who don’t call back when they say they will?

Thanks Liz –


Liz responded by saying,

Dear Levi,

That is painful learning! However, the lesson had a purpose. Now you know that you have to be choosy in deciding which recruiters to work with and which to leave alone.

Do not send your resume right away just because a recruiter asks for it.

An unscrupulous recruiter could send your resume all over town and that is not good for you.

Once a recruiter gets your resume into an employer’s hands the recruiter can claim that you are his or her candidate, and demand a fee from that employer if they hire you — even if you contacted the employer yourself.

Be careful about sending your resume to recruiters you don’t know.

Before you join a recruiter’s stable of candidates, ask them these questions:

  1. How long have you been recruiting? How long have you worked for your firm (if they work for a recruiting firm)?
  2. How many positions did you fill with this employer — the one you want to send my resume to – last year?
  3. Has this job opening been assigned to you by the employer?

Nothing prevents anyone from calling themselves a recruiter. Some folks will take your resume and use it to try to fish for new clients. Be wary! Your brand is important, and so is your time.

You can use a quick form letter to vet the recruiters who contact you, before you ever get on the phone with them.

There are excellent recruiters who help candidates get outstanding jobs, so I would hate for you to abandon the recruiter channel altogether because you had some early, bad experiences.

There is no sense in chasing a recruiter who stops calling or emailing you. Doing so only reduces your power in the relationship. Walk away from any recruiter who tells you they’re going to get right back to you and then doesn’t.

People show you who they are and how they operate, and then it is up to you to act accordingly. One or more of the five recruiters you talked with may emerge from the mist at some point and reach out to you again.

Don’t be quick to work with them just because you feel desperate. When people mistreat you once and you don’t complain, they will do it again.

Employers need talent. Recruiters can’t make a penny without talented people like you to place into new jobs. Keep your mojo tank full and keep in mind that if you were not credible and marketable no recruiter would ever have contacted you.

Stay open to a fortuitous meeting with the right recruiting partner, and don’t be afraid to say “No thanks!” to as many recruiters as necessary until you find that person.

All the best,


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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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