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When DO recruiters call back? What is taking so long?

recruiters call back

Recruiters not calling back?  Don’t get depressed.

Do recruiters call back?

When do recruiters call back? I received the following email from a reader on this topic and asked them if I could post their question on this blog. I thought it was relevant to this specific frustration with HR/recruiters comes up quite a bit.  With their permission, I am re-posting below.


I was so relieved to find your blog online.

For about a month now, I’ve been down to the finish line at Company X, a conglomerate food/hospitality business doing what I do best–online course development.

THEY called ME. I wasn’t actively looking but was on a long-term contract at a place that was okay, if not thrilling. THIS job really represents the next best thing for me, in just about every way. I had actually been doing professional development in hopes I could MAKE something like this happen. The company, the people, the industry, the work… it’s all so ME.

Bottom line: they made me want it, and now these final hours are about to drive me insane.

Week 1: I sailed through 2 interviews. Supplied well-rounded portfolio on a USB drive.

Week 2: I took a nasty intelligence test and personality test. Passed. Had yet another phone interview with matrix-ed manager who might occasionally work with me.

Week 3: They asked for 3 manager references, which I readily supplied, and which they have checked. I duly warned all references, and from what I’ve heard from my refs, they did an excellent job. Wrapped up yesterday. Which takes us into Week 4.

(Weirdly enough, it was the hiring VP doing the calling, not the recruiter. Well, okay, I guess he’s taking ownership because he will live with the outcome. Makes sense.)

I did all the requisite follow-up with the thank you’s, etc. and last Friday I mailed and said “Let me know if you need anything more. Thank you again.” Gut feeling tells me to sit on my hands. Any more mailing, calling, whatever is going to start to diminish my elusive je ne sais quoi. You know. Like the girl who calls the guy two times, too soon. Too eager, perhaps desperate?  When do recruiters call back?

Still, I’m sitting by the phone/checking my email every 10 minutes. With it so close in hand, I’m starting to go a little bonkers. Every sign and signal says I’ve got it. SO WHEN WILL THEY TELL ME THE OUTCOME??? WHAT IS GOING ON?


Animated Suspension


Animated Suspension,

CONGRATS!!!!!  You made it through the interview loop gauntlet.  In all seriousness, any company as large as what this probably interviewed a lot of folks initially and narrowed it down to just you and maybe one other.  I wouldn’t worry about it too much (easier said than done) because it sounds like you did everything correctly.  Now the trick is to hang back and wait.  You sent your thank you’s, you prepped your references.  In all seriousness, now is when you need to sit on your hands and not F*** up all your hard work and patience.  You would be surprised how often candidates blow it this close to the finish line.  Who wants to hire impatience in the workplace?

I have seen candidates blow it after 7 interviews by saying something in the parking lot like “When are these dumbasses going to make up their minds, I have interviewed 7 times already”. Yeah, the wrong person working in the HR department overheard the comment. Game over.  See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.  So close, and yet so far. . .  The key is to remain professional.  This isn’t the TV series Survivor “One World”, this is Survivor “Corporate America”. It isn’t always the person that is the most skilled that gets the job.  Sometimes it is the person that doesn’t fuck up and outlasts the other candidates that wins the game.  Patience grasshopper!

What is happening

Here is what may be going on.  Recruiters call back when they have something to report back with.  Recruiters call back when they have time.  If they have worked your position 99% of the way to the finish line with one or two final candidates, then the pressure is off.  They are probably filling 8 other positions and have 5 other managers breathing down their necks.  It is not uncommon for an internal recruiter to have 20 open positions.  They also have to solve employee issues and run reports every month, attend meetings, etc.  These latter projects are deadline or pressure driven.  If they are down to 1 or 2 candidates they are comfortable making an offer to, there is no rush on their end.

Recruiters are at the mercy of the hiring manager who will also have meetings, deadlines, and projects.  Hiring managers are then at the mercy of their VP or department head.  All of the stars and the moons need to line up for the miracle of a meeting to take place.  It isn’t you, it is the process and in a larger company, there are a lot of layers.  Perfectly normal, nothing to worry about. Recruiters call back when they can.  Recruiters call back when they have a real update.

Hang in there.  Go see a couple of movies where you don’t have to talk with anyone and you don’t have to think.  See a movie that will provide an escape.


A few days later, I received this from Animated Suspension,  (check the “you were soooo right” comment below.  Mom would be proud and dad would say “even a blind squirrel finds a nut”)



  • I am the only candidate they are considering.
  • All my references raved about me.
  • They may have one last call with one of the matrix managers next week.
  • I should “know where things” are the next week. I think that’s code for “we will make you an offer,” don’t you?

Like you said, all I have to do now is sit back and not screw things up.

Animated Suspension

Remember, no news is NOT a “no”.  If you haven’t heard from them after a couple of interviews, don’t think the worst and remember, they haven’t declined you.

See you at the after party,


PS.  Animated Suspense sent me an update and let me know that she did get the offer, great benefits and the salary she was looking for.  She also confirmed that the hiring manager and the recruiter were not always in communication with each other.  A 5-week process, 35 in dog weeks.  Yes, she accepted the position at 5:06 and was having a martini at 5:45.  Congrats Animated Suspense!


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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