Six Reasons You Aren't Getting Called In Your Job Search

Posted: 9/18/2013

By: Elias Cobb, Quantix Recruiting Manager

You, the job seeker, are probably applying for lots and lots of jobs and not getting calls back from very many people. Why not? Well, here are a few reasons why you might not hear back from recruiters and HR people:

1) Your resume doesn't match the job description. PLEASE look over your resume as it compares to the required skills in the job description. If you want to be considered for the job, especially if there are a lot of applicants, you have to show how you fit the required skills. I continually get resumes that don't show the required skills. How will I know you are qualified if you don't explain it?

2) You are overqualified. If you are "overqualified" (i.e., you'd be taking a large pay cut to consider this job), don't get frustrated if you don't get considered. I know that candidates think that managers are being unreasonable. Why wouldn't they want to get a senior candidate for a cheap rate? I'll tell you why: 1) perhaps they tried hiring an overqualified candidate in the last downturn, someone who promised that they really, really wanted the job, only to have them leave for a higher paying position as soon as one came; or 2) they hired an overqualified candidate who swore they didn't want the responsibilities of a higher level position, only to come in and try to change the architecture, environment, processes, etc. I know that you, the overqualified candidate, are a bargain. But you have to consider the investment that the client is making on your behalf. Not only are they paying salary and benefits, they are also training you and perhaps paying a fee to a staffing agency. If you leave after six months, they don't get the money back from the agency and they'll have to retrain your replacement. Now your lower salary isn't such a bargain after all, as they would have saved money hiring a less-qualified candidate. I am NOT saying to disregard these jobs if you are a very senior candidate, just try not to get frustrated.

3) You live in a different state than where the job is based. I get calls all the time from out-of-state candidates. If you don't live in the state where the job is, you are probably at the bottom of the list of candidates. Even if you are willing to pay your own relocation interview expenses, you are at the bottom of the list. Most managers don't want to deal with the headache of scheduling interviews and / or start dates around your travel requirements.  Keep trying, but if you are trying to move to a different state, please keep it in perspective - in-state candidates get first looks.

4) Right now, you are a Business Analyst, Project Manager, Help Desk Tech, Desktop Support Tech or Windows Server Administrator. These positions are highly competitive. When I post BA or PM jobs, I get 300+ applicants. Clearly, I cannot call each and every one of them back to talk about their qualifications. We can only contact the ones who look like the very best fit and move on from there.

5) You have a spotty job history. Like it or not, having 15 different jobs in the last three years is going to make it tough on you. Even if they have all been contract jobs, it will make it tough. You need to highlight when a manager, client company or staffing agency brought you back on multiple engagements, as this will show that despite the short length of the contract, you did a good job. If they were mostly "permanent" positions and you were laid off or the companies went under, it might be a good idea to add a quick line after each position explaining why you left.

6) You are negative or argumentative. This usually happens after the initial phone call, but may explain why you don't get called a second time for future positions. Recruiters and HR folks do not like to deal with someone who, in the phone conversation, is argumentative or excessively negative. I know some of you have had a really hard time finding a job. But railing against recruiters, TO A RECRUITER, probably isn't the best idea. And if you don't have the experience required, arguing that you could easily learn those skills isn't going to help either. It's fine to mention that one time, but most clients don't pay a staffing agency to find someone who can, "learn the skills." They pay us to find someone who HAS the skills and can hit the ground sprinting. I can tell you that once someone is overly argumentative or negative with me, it's very hard for me to call that person in the future.

Hopefully that gives a little insight. The overridingconcept here is to not give up, but to also not get frustrated if you don'thear anything. I know, that's easier said than done, but the alternative is to do nothing and that CERTAINLY isn't going to get you a job. Good luck out there!