4 Reasons Why Recruiters Are Going Dark On You

You’ve found a position you really want, and you’re thrilled with how well the interview went. The recruiter has given you positive feedback, and you’re expecting an offer any day. But time passes without an offer—or a rejection—and you’re frustrated and confused. When a recruiter goes dark on you, not returning calls or emails, you wonder what you did wrong. But don’t overthink the situation or lose hope. Recruiters will ghost on you for a number of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with you personally.

recruiters dark

Here are the four most common reasons why recruiters seem to be dodging you, even when they may still be interested.

1. A Difference In Priorities

Landing this job is your number one priority. You feel like your whole life is in someone else’s hands, and waiting for a decision can be agonizing. If you’re working someplace where you’re miserable, everything that goes wrong triggers a daydream about how much better life would be at the “other place.” You’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about how this new role will affect every aspect of your existence. For the recruiter, however, filling this position is just one part of a very long to-do list. She has daily responsibilities, including other candidates to interview and openings to fill. So while you’re driving yourself crazy trying to figure out why you’re not getting a response, the recruiter may just not have had time to focus on you or the position this week. Just remember—until you get an official rejection, you’re still in the running. If the process seems to be playing out in slow motion, it could just be because what you consider life-changing, the recruiter sees as just one small part of her job. 

2. A Tough Decision

Chances are, you’re not the only qualified candidate who applied for the position. The recruiter and other decision-makers may consider you part of a select group of high-potential candidates. They simply cannot decide which one of you is the best fit for the job. If you’re not hearing back from the recruiter, it may simply be that he does not have anything to tell you right now. Therefore, he may not want to return your calls or emails until he can give you a solid answer. He knows what you are calling about but doesn’t want to call you back to inform you he doesn’t have any new information. Yes, it may seem a bit rude or unprofessional, but to the recruiter, it’s merely an efficient use of his time.    

3. The Situation Has Changed

When the employer posted the recruiting ad, it was pretty clear Trisha would be leaving the firm, or the marketing department had too much on its plate. But things may have changed since then. It’s not uncommon for a company to think it needs to hire a new employee only to have circumstances change.  That does not mean, however, that they have completely nixed the idea of hiring someone new. They’re waiting to see how the situation pans out before taking any more steps forward. This uncertainty can leave you in limbo for quite some time. It can also explain why you are not getting a solid offer or a clear rejection.  

4.  Red Tape

The decision to hire someone rarely rests in the hands of just one individual. There are typically multiple decision-makers with varying levels of input and responsibility. There may even be hiring committees in which all members must come to a consensus, no matter how divergent their views. All of this red tape is going to significantly prolong the hiring process. So even if the recruiter said you would probably have an answer by the end of next week, the timeline is not set in stone. “Next week” might be the ideal, but it’s not necessarily the reality. The process can stretch out even longer if certain members of the hiring committee are out of town, on vacation, or tied up with something that ranks higher on their priority list. Add to that the typical HR bureaucracy, and you might not hear back from the recruiter for over a month. It’s not you. It’s them.

It’s hard not to take a recruiter’s vanishing act as a form of rejection. But the reality is, you still have a chance until you’re notified otherwise. There are numerous reasons why recruiters may be going dark on you that aren’t personal at all. Before you throw in the towel, think about the situation from their perspective. And above all, be patient.

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