A few times I've met with a recruiter and they've set me up with a job interview. The interview doesn't pan out and I'm not offered the job, but then I never hear from the recruiter again.

Is this normal or am I just a bad candidate that they want to avoid? Why else would I not hear from them again about potential jobs?

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    I wouldn't worry too much. To the average recruiter, you're essentially a commodity and if it begins to appear like you might not sell, they'll find it expedient to quietly move on to the next possibility, which may or may not involve you
    – kolossus
    Oct 19 '12 at 3:35
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    Normally the problem is stopping recruiters contacting you again. *8')
    – Mark Booth
    Oct 19 '12 at 12:53

I just finished a long job search and I had this happen to me many times and I know I'm a good candidate. In most cases, the recruiter's pay is dependent on successfully placing candidates...in volume. So for a lot of them (not all) anything that doesn't contribute to placing candidates isn't worth their time. Plus, they are calling you back to give you bad news, and they might have sent 5 or more resumes in for a single position so that's at least 4 people they have to deliver bad news to and they are usually have lots of open positions on their desks. Let's face it: it can be an awkward call. "Hey, Tim76." "Yeah! Did I get the job?" "No..." "...OK"

At one point in my recent job search I was getting really depressed...until I realized what was going on. I would spend 30-60 minutes talking to the recruiter before he submitted me. We would spend that whole time talking about how to market me for the position, why I was the best candidate, etc. I would get myself all psyched about how this would be a slam dunk. Then I wouldn't hear from the recruiter for a week... Once I figured out that I needed to be a lot more leveled in my expectations, there were a lot fewer highs and lows in my job search. It all became routine.

Also, from the recruiter's perspective and depending on the industry (I'm in software development which is still hot despite the current economy), people might not be on the market that long so a lot of the recruiters expect that you'll get picked up by someone else before they have another suitable position cross their desk. So again, there's not a lot of incentive for them to invest time in building a relationship with you.

There are a few really good recruiters out there, a lot of mediocre recruiters, and way, way, WAY too many really bad recruiters. I kept a list of the recruiters who spent time asking me what I was interested in, who called me back even with bad news, and who called me to ask me for advice on issues that were completely unrelated to me. Those are the recruiters I'm going to call first next time I'm doing a job search. Half of them probably won't be recruiters next time I'm in the market. And of the ones who are, they might not be the ones who find me my next job.


15 year recruiter here. Etiquette should be for the recruiter to let you know that you didn't get the job, and ideally why you didn't get the job. Sometimes the recruiter does not get proper feedback (companies take on some legal risk and exposure by providing feedback).

Etiquette tends not to be a recruiter's strongest suit in most cases, so the lower-end recruiters would only have incentive to call you back if there is money to be made (can they place you somewhere?). I would suspect that the reason is that they either do not have any other open jobs that are a fit (most likely), or they feel sending you to a client is doing some disservice to the client (recruiter will not represent you for fear you will not make a favorable impression). Unless you really failed miserably and noticeably, I expect it is a function of no other matching jobs in the recruiter's pipeline.

  • When you send candidates on interviews, do companies call you back if they hire someone else?
    – user8365
    Oct 19 '12 at 4:12
  • Almost always. It is quite rare that a company will make a hire and not tell the recruiting firms to discontinue submissions, unless that company is trying to build their candidate database.
    – fecak
    Oct 20 '12 at 0:20

If they wanted to avoid you, they wouldn't find you an interview. This is why many interview you one their own first. They don't want to have to deal with a hiring manager who is dissatisfied with their candidate selection.

Their behavior is unprofessional. You have to understand that no one wants to have to deliver bad news all the time. If time is money, they make nothing by calling you back. Some may feel if you really wanted the job, you'd call them.

They're running the risk of burning a bridge. It's their loss. Taking a few minutes to call you back isn't much to ask for to maintain a working relationship. Don't worry about it. Work with those who do things right.

  • "If they wanted to avoid you, they wouldn't find you an interview." Right, but if I'm such a good candidate, then why do I never hear from them for any more potential jobs? Maybe I seem like a good candidate but I give lousy interviews, so after the first attempt, they dump me?
    – Tim
    Oct 19 '12 at 18:48

As a candidate, I contact the client company directly if I don't hear back from the recruiter. Doesn't it just piss those recruiters off but I once ended up getting another interview with the client for doing that!

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    Hi there! Welcome to the site! This could be a fantastic answer if you fleshed it out a bit with why you think it's ok to do this (and maybe cut back on the swearing a bit) then you might have a really good answer here!
    – user5305
    Sep 25 '13 at 21:05

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