I Never Heard Back

I’m hearing this from some of my CFOs …

–A recruiter called me, said he had a great opportunity for me, asked for my resume, and I never heard back from him.

–I had an interview 3 weeks ago and was told I’d hear back in two weeks, but, I haven’t heard back from anyone.

–After lunch with a CEO, and a great prospect, he indicated he would talk with the senior leadership team and get back to me by the end of the week, but I never heard back. 

So I’m wondering …. Have we lost all professionalism and courtesy in this country? Does anyone who says they will follow up within a specific time frame actually follow up anymore? Does our me-centric world revolve around us to such a degree that we can no longer exercise any form of etiquette to others? 

While we certainly cannot control the behavior of others, we can control what we do. 

— Say what you mean and mean what you say. If YOU utter the words … I’ll follow up with you within XXXX days or weeks … do it. Even if it is only an update to say no progress has been made, do it. Treat others with the same courtesy you expect. Your reputation is at stake here and apparently, it will take very little to differentiate yourself from others … simply be courteous.

— If you’re a recruiter and you’ve given a Chief Financial Officer the cold shoulder, letting him hang after you’ve thrown him a bone … he won’t forget. They tell me they won’t forget. So don’t be surprised to find yourself snubbed when he’s landed and sitting inside the nice corner office refusing to take your phone calls.

Share and enjoy

13 thoughts on “I Never Heard Back”

  1. This has been a very frustrating experience! I have been job seeking for 7 months now and I have yet to have someone follow through with their promises. I call them, e-mail and write thank you notes to remind them I am here. Why so disrespectful? And why can’t they say “we have filled the position”? Don’t leave me hanging! I can take the bad news.
    Thanks for letting me rant!

  2. You are not alone in your frustration, Kimba, and even though misery loves company I know that is no consolation.
    In the “olden days,” people made contracts based on the word of the two parties. A man’s word meant everything. Today, we need lawyers and iron-clad contracts to do anything.
    Many people no longer say words with any meaning, rather we say words that we think other people want to hear and which will move the conversation forward or elsewhere. And then we move on with our busy little lives forgetting that we uttered something that did have meaning to someone else.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I can almost accept the lack of response when you just sned in a resume. With the hundreds received much more than an auto response isn’t practical. But the lack of follow-up after a phone conversation, an interview, a very specifcially tailored letter to a key executive and after being personally referred by an associate is inexcusable.
    It takes about 30 seconds to type, “Thank you for your interest in our company. A.) there is nothing at this time, b.) we will hold it for the future, c.) we are still contemplating the position we told you was so critical on the interview or d.) we’re still laughing that you think you had a shot.
    Considering everyone is walking around with a BlackBerry 24/7 (even through a revolving door!) surely it can’t be lack of email access. It must just be that manners no longer exist.

  4. Perhaps we are just to “old school”! We actually think manners and our word is important.
    This does remind me that no matter what I have to keep my word even if they don’t. Just because they forget does not give me permission to forget!

  5. I agree, Lou. Two different scenarios … one understandable, the other unacceptable. If you aren’t really going to follow up, then don’t say you will. That seems like a pretty easy solution.
    If being courteous makes me old school, then so be it, Kimba. I’ll wear the label proudly. I have a very high value around integrity so while I do fall short occasionally (I am human), my word is my word.

  6. I beg to differ.
    No matter how far you got in an interview process, the person or people you met or spoke with simply have more important things to worry about than you or your feelings.
    Venting about trivial slights of this kind does no one any good… and least of all will it bring anyone closer to their goal (a new job).
    If you’re a job-seeker, grow up and get used to it. If you’re a coach and feel the need to exert moral suasion on some aspect of employers’ culture, surely there are better targets to focus on. I’m talking about widespread practices that are genuinely abusive, like racial, gender and age discrmination. Or the abuse of online applicant tracking systems by making required salary a MANDATORY field. (For instance, ThomsonReuters’ ATS forces candidates to specify a salary requirement WITHIN A $5,000 RANGE before they can be even screened to determine whether they’re worth interviewing.)
    Are any of you old enough to remember “Don’t call us, we’ll call you?” My guess is that 40 or 50 years ago candidates often heard those exact words… which were universally understood to mean, “Nice try, and have a nice life.”
    That alone is enough to refute this thread’s evident assumption that employers were more polite to candidates back in some imaginary “good old days.”

  7. There’s no short supply of rude these days.
    I picked up several clients through the years from good follow-up. Recruiters can be thick at times. Aside from wanting to be true to my word, I realized my candidates would eventually be decision makers at companies again. When that day came, whether it was through a job I directed them to or not, I wanted to be in their good graces. It’s crazy to me how recruiters roll out the red carpet for the likes of a CFO when he/she is employed and looking to hire, but fail to offer top notch service when that individual is in between employment. Pretty short-sighted.

  8. I guess you feel passionately about this topic, Jon.
    I am not referring to the hundreds of unsolicited emails and resumes that come through an HR department or past a recruiter’s desk. It is humanly impossible to respond to that kind of quantity.
    My point was that if you tell someone you are going to call within a specific time, then have the professional courtesy to do so. If you have no intention of following up, then don’t throw the bone.
    My statement about the good old days was in reference to contracts being binding by a man’s word – which used to count for something – not that employers were more polite to job seekers.

  9. I agree with your clarification, Cindy. When I read your initial post my mind conjured up the scenario I saw play out over and over again. “You’re the perfect fit for this opportunity…get me all of your information now because we have to move quickly…I know my client will want to meet you…I’ll call you on Tuesday to set it all up…” Then nothing. Candidates are left to wonder if they had been passed over or if the recruiter was dropping the ball. Stressful. The next phase is the recruiter, who promised the follow-up and set the tone of urgency, dodging the follow-up attempts of the candidate. Silly. There were times when the recruiter really did drop the ball. Other times the recruiter was overly confident of a situation or dove in with lots of promises and crossed fingers. No matter the reason, the recruiter had the ability to set the right expectation for follow-up and let the candidate know when something they thought was an option was no longer.

  10. I absolutely agree, Lisa. The lack of professional, open communication between candidates and recruiters / companies only causes higher degrees of stress and angst on the candidates.
    I always appreciate you reading and commenting on my posts, Lisa. Thank you! You are the kind of recruiters job seekers love!
    But beyond “just” job seekers, my pet peeve really is people who say they will do something and then don’t. Words become merely a way to move the conversation forward with no real underlying commitment. I know things happen sometimes that derail time frames, but a pattern of uncommitted behavior is a different story.

  11. There are different levels to this problem, but let’s take the case of a nationally known retained search firm. These firms do plenty of high level searches and typically pull from the same pool of candidates. They will make any where between $75k-$100k on a CFO search. If they are involved in a search and don’t communicate with the applicants they know that have shown interest in the position, it is a problem. If I’m one of those applicants what am I going to remember the next time I need to conduct a retained search? Marginal effort and professional courtesy can be a key decision factor down the road.

  12. Wow… What a disgusting surprise! I’m reading this and I cannot believe that this could happen also in USA!!
    I’m from Argentina an lots of colleagues (an me too) have been through situations like this before even after two or three interviews with the same recruiter!
    We definitely live in a global world and lack of professionalism it seems that is not an exception…


Leave a Comment