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When You Apply for a Job and the Recruiter Goes Radio Silent

You update your resume, proof-read your cover letter, include references, and hit submit. And then you wait to hear if you got an interview with the company.

But, after a month has gone by, you still haven’t heard back.

Sound familiar? Instead of panicking, here’s what you should and should not do when recruiters don’t respond:

You should email the recruiter. Following up with the recruiter shows interest, initiative, and responsibility. It’s possible that the hiring team has been sifting through applications for weeks, and your email might just be the tipping point that lands you the interview. There’s also a chance that your application bounced, got lost in cyberspace, or is hidden under stacks of other applications in the office. Double-checking with the recruiter that your application safely arrived will not only give you peace of mind, but may remind the recruiter of your name and help you stand out. Regardless, be sure to write your email kindly, carefully, and with the utmost professionalism. As always, check for typos before hitting send!

You should not bug the recruiter. No one wants a flooded email inbox or hundreds of voicemails, especially not from the same person. It’s appropriate to reach out to the recruiter once or twice, but any more beyond that can come off as impatient and annoying.

You should apply to other jobs. When searching for internships and jobs, don’t expect the first one you apply for to work out. And maybe don’t expect the second, third, or fourth to work out either. There are so many unknowns and things outside of your control when employers are choosing who to hire, let alone who to interview. You could send in a phenomenal application and still not be the right person for the job. At the end of the day, you should always apply for as many internships and jobs as possible. Never bank on just one opportunity. It’s always better to have multiple offers to choose from, rather than to only apply for one and not get offered a position at all.

You should not give up on this internship or job, especially if you really want it. If you are really passionate about this particular job or internship, don’t hesitate to apply again next year, even if you never hear back. Your chances at landing an interview, or maybe even the job, might change depending on the pool of candidates you are up against. As your resume improves with time and experience, the likelihood you will stand out to recruiters will improve as well. And if you do hear a definitive “no” the first time you apply, there’s no shame in asking the recruiter what you can do to improve your chances for the next round.

Application season can be stressful for everyone. As long as you remain professional and intentional with recruiters, and set yourself up for as many opportunities as possible, your chances of landing a job will be better than ever.

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