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I recently went through a technical interview and my recruiter let me know it would take about a week before they knew the status of my candidacy. They contacted me today and scheduled a time to talk because they've received an update. Would they really schedule a time to talk with me on the phone if the answer was "no"? The first technical interview was just that, the first. I would still have several more if the news is good, so it seems like an email would suffice in this situation. What's typical in this case?

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The recruiter certainly could call you even if the answer is "no", especially if the recruiter has a vested interest in maintaining a relationship with you.

For example, if the recruiter you are using thinks you could be a successful candidate in a number of positions they are currently managing, then even if the interview was not successful the recruiter could want to talk to you about it to find out how you thought it went, explain any mismatches or misunderstandings, get a better sense of what you are looking for/what you know, and generally try to coach you to do better in the next interview.

Believe it or not, there are some recruiters out there who are able to do those things to help you (and them) along in the hiring process, and will -- although it is true that a general run of the mill cold-calling/cold-emailing recruiter is likely not going to do all of that. It's also entirely possible that the recruiter just wants to say "no" and nothing else, but not do it via email for any number of reasons.

I wouldn't read anything into the recruiter's desire to call you with information other than "it could be good news, it could be bad news, or it could be bad but helpful news."

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Would they really schedule a time to talk with me on the phone if the answer was "no"?

They might.

Some recruiters like to talk on the phone, others handle correspondence in other ways (like email).

Additionally, "No" in this case might be more like "Not for this position. But we have other positions for which you might qualify. Are you interested?"

What's typical in this case?

In my experience as both a hiring manager and an interviewee, there is no "typical" across companies. Each company (and often each recruiter) has their own way of doing things.

You'll know soon enough how it is done that the company you've been dealing with so far.

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    From my experience, the ratio is pretty much the "not typical" :) Some suddenly cease all contact, some call to say "sorry...", some send an email that amounts to as much, some offer another similar position, some disappear off the face of earth - you cannot even reach them anymore by phone or email – Juha Untinen Sep 17 '14 at 10:15

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