The Recruiter Led me on and on and on

Recruiter Follow ThroughRecruiter Follow Through

I hear this often, “The Recruiter led me to believe it was my job, but he never called me back. Why do they do this?”

First of all let me make this statement; I know a lot of recruiters. Many are my friends. Some are not. Many I trust explicitly. Some I don’t. Just like any other industry, there are really good people and there are others who are not really good people. This is a fact of life.

A recruiter may tell you in many different ways “the job is yours, let me get back to you, ” for one of two reasons:

#1 – They want to keep you on the ‘line’ until they finish ‘selling you’ to their client.

If you are working with a third party recruiter, they’ll need to go back to their client and convince them that you are the best possible candidate within the budget. Sometimes the recruiter is competing with other recruiters. This makes this ‘sales process’ even more difficult.

If you are working with an internal HR recruiter, this sales process still occurs, however it’s not as difficult. There could still be budget issues and internal candidates involved in the decision.

They will lead you on so that you don’t go find another job while they are wrapping things up.

#2 – They could be completely sincere with their statement.

However there are still lots of issues that come into play. Budget, changes in business goals, internal candidates, and new or differing opinions from other members of the team that the recruiter did not know about and/or could not share with you.

Many of the good recruiters I know will try to follow through with their candidates. They feel it’s important to treat their candidates the same way they want to be treated. However, some do not follow through.

Regardless of the reason(s) for leading you on, there are many reasons a recruiter will not follow through with you . Here are the reasons I have discovered:

  1. They forgot. (Yeah, I’m trying to be nice.)
  2. They are too busy. (Again, I’m trying to be nice.)
  3. They don’t like giving people bad news. (This is real, many people can’t do this well.)
  4. They don’t care about you at this time. (They may care about you when they need you.)
  5. They have moved on to another Job Requisition that you can’t do and you’re not important
  6. They feel you need them more than they need you. (I’ve heard this said.)
  7. They are not nice people.

OK, here is the best advice for dealing with being led on and recruiters who do not follow through.

#1 – You are under no obligation to sit idly and wait for anyone. Work your career transition process. This means, as soon as you are done interviewing, regardless of what the recruiter says, go on to your next task.

Never stop working your career transition process until you have an offer letter in your hand and a firm start date, salary and commitment.

#2 – Ask probing questions about the process. The level of relationship you have with your recruiter will determine how deep you can probe. Here are some examples of probing questions:

  1. Are you interviewing other candidates?
  2. Are other recruiters presenting candidates?
  3. Who else has to review my resume before an offer letter can be presented?
  4. Is there any possibility that a budget change is possible?
  5. What other issues are in play that may result in me getting this job?
  6. What are your next steps on this position?
  7. When should I expect to hear back from you next?

The most important question to ask your recruiter is:

If for any reason this opportunity falls apart, will you call me and let me know it is not going to happen?


I regularly recommend to career transition folks “NO Expectations.” Work your process. Keep moving forward. However you can manage your expectations if you are willing to ask probing questions.

How have you dealt with a recruiter who has led you on?

How have you dealt with a recruiter who did not follow through?

Top 20 things to expect during your Career Transition Journey

Career Transition Journey

Burriss Consulting presents Top 20 things to expect during your career transition journey

  1. Worry
    • This is not an unexpected phase of Job Search. The needs of your family and fear of the unknown are big factors in creating worry. Focus on worry management techniques to overcome this reaction while in transition & beyond.
  2. Denial
    • Denying that this has happened will occur while in career transition. It’s a natural reaction that quickly needs to be overcome by focusing on the future.
  3. Stress
    • Stress can be created when you don’t have a good career transition plan or honest expectations of the work and time that will be required. Stress can be overcome similarly to the way you overcome Fear & Worry.
  4. Anger
    • Anger towards the past company, the process, the lack of response and lots of other stuff that just does not seem fair. Focus on the future & working the process are good ways to overcome anger. Spend time with friends and family can also “calm” the angers of this journey.
  5. Fear
    • There is nothing wrong with a little fear. Fear of the future & the unknowns of the process. Fear can be squashed by asking questions, have open conversations with other career transition folks and people in your life who trust, care & respect you.
  6. Relief
    • Relief occurs at different stages of this journey. Be careful of fauz relief caused by completing some of the simple and less effective steps of career transition such as emailing cover letters and resumes and applying for jobs that are not real for you. Relief created from beneficial steps of career transition, such as getting that rejection note (instead of not knowing) and being told that the job has already been filled, actually are good for you. The ultimate relief occurs when you hear, “Welcome to the team.”
  7. Depression
    • If you get depressed and don’t see it, hopefully a family member or loved one will see it and help you to find help. If you feel depression and realize it, this is manageable. You have to “stop” and seek help out of this pit.
  8. Acceptance
    • Acceptance is another emotion that occurs at different stages on the career transition journey. Acceptance of losing the job, acceptance of being unemployed, acceptance of the challenges, acceptance of possibly never getting another job, acceptance of lots of negative stuff (originating from worry). Be careful of what you accept during this journey. Accept all the positive and beneficial things. You don’t have to accept the negative.
  9. Involvement
    • Involvement is beneficial to your career transition journey. Get involved in your community is a great way to meet others who may be able to help you. Let those who are sincere and trusting get involved in your life during this journey. Get involved in networking, meet ups, social media and conversations. If you don’t get involved, you won’t find that next great job or business opportunity.
  10. Misunderstanding
    • There will be lots of misunderstandings during your career transition journey. Strive to resolve them where you can. Emailing your resume and cover letters to people who don’t know you is a great way to create misunderstandings. You’ll also discover some misunderstanding from people who wonder why you are unemployed. Knowing what you really want to do can create misunderstanding within yourself, as well as others. The best way to squelch misunderstandings is thru conversations and asking honest and sincere questions.
  11. Compassion
    • When you find a friend or family member that wants to be compassionate towards you during your career transition, accept it. Accept the compassion from perfect strangers who want to get involved in helping you on your journey. Compassion appropriately shared will be very beneficial to you.
  12. Fair weather Friends
    • Yeah – they exist. This is something else you should accept. We can’t predict how our friends will react. Again, strive to think the best of folks, even when they are fair weather friends. Sometimes even the best friends will withdraw only because they don’t know how to help you or what to say.
  13. Real Friends
    • You may discover that your best friends during this journey will be the ones that you previously did not consider your best friends. These will be the folks who step up and offer to help in real and meaningful ways. Maybe the ones who jump in and not only buy you a burger, but the first & second rounds as well. Be grateful for these friends.
  14. Patience
    • This may be hard for some, but you have to expect to be patient. Once you decide on what you want to be next, you must be patient. If you work to find that next great job or business opportunity, it will raise it’s hand at the right time for you. If you try to rush it, you’ll not pick the right job for you. Be patient
  15. Pushy
    • There will be people in your life who push you to accept the fist job that shows up, despite it being the right fit for you. Don’t let anyone push you to do anything you don’t want to do or to accept any job that is not the right fit.
  16. Helpers
    • You will find people who just want to help. Where relevant and beneficial, let others help. You can’t do this journey on your own. Good honest help will be good for you.
  17. OverHelper
    • There will be folks who want to do more for you than they really should do. Don’t let anyone take over your project. You must own it and manage it yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong, unless they can give you good useful input of how to do it better. There are lots of people out there who will tell you you’re doing it wrong – ignore negativity.
  18. New Connections
    • You will meet more people during this career transition journey than you ever thought you would ever meet. That is if you are doing it correctly. Meeting new people and building new relationships is how you will find that next great job or business opportunity. If you are not meeting new people every week (if not daily), you will deal with Fear, Worry, Stress, Depression and Anger much more often.
  19. New Ideas
    • If your career transition journey is towards the same title and industry, you won’t be as happy or successful. However, if you open your mind and consider new ideas, new industries, new industries and types of work, you’ll be far happier. New Ideas will help you to find places to use your skills, experiences, talents, education and passion.
  20. Volunteer
    • A well run career transition journey includes lots of “give back.” Volunteering is how you help to reduce the negative emotions and physical depletion. Volunteering is how you also meet new people and find new ideas. No matter how bad you think you have it, there are others who have it worse off and need your help. Seek to give and you will improve the opportunity of finding your next job or business opportunity. Don’t just volunteer in a cube, volunteer where you have a chance to get involved with others.
  21. Success
    • It may be hard to see from a distance. Focus on your journey and pay attention to your health (mind & body). Work a good career transition plan and success will occur, when it’s time.

You will have many emotions and things happen during your career transition journey. Paying attention to them is one way to make this phase of your life rewarding and successful.