Has this ever been you? “I sent in my resume for a job that matched me perfectly, but they never called me back!” In my experience, this is one of the top complaints job seekers have about recruiters. Here are the top five reasons why recruiters never call back.

1. There were too many applications

This is very common. Some roles attract hundreds of applications. In those cases we can only possibly respond to the shortlist, otherwise we’d be back till midnight every day answering emails.

2. Your resume doesn’t match the Essential Criteria

Essential Criteria are the things the employer won’t negotiate on. They’ll usually be prefaced with “candidate must have…” or words to that effect. For every one genuine candidate who reads the job ad thoroughly and makes sure it suits their skills and experience, we get another 10 that aren’t even close. This is a huge time-waster and a sure way to not get a call-back.

3. You’ve attached a generic cover letter

Generic cover letters are a waste of time. Candidates who rewrite their resume and call it a cover letter have missed a chance to entice the recruiter to read further. We also hate it when candidates draft an excellent letter for one job then send it to every job they apply for. It’s a sign of sloppy work. Each cover letter needs to be brief, address the requirements of the role and anything else specific to the application (would you prefer flexible start and finish hours, or need wheelchair access, for instance).

4. Fear of confrontation

Some recruiters don’t communicate rejections because they don’t want to provoke confrontation. For candidates, it can be hard to know why you’re not getting interviews or responses, and often recruiters become the target of that frustration. Recruiters are verbally abused, patronised, dismissed etc. on a regular basis. Our role is to deflect the tension, negotiate difficult issues, push for changes, pass on bad news or take the blame, so that others can get on with the tasks at hand. We spend huge amounts of time doing that. Bullying the recruiter, either verbally or in writing, is never going to help.

5. Your application never reached us

A surprising amount of emails from candidates get trapped by spam filters, or don’t reach the right person. After you’ve sent an application, wait an hour or two then follow up with a brief, polite phone call to the agent to make sure we’ve received your message.

Last word…

If you fit the essential criteria, your application has been tailored to the role and you’ve verified that your message arrived in the right inbox, chances are you will get a reply.

Lyneve is a recruitment agent at TechWriter, a recruitment agency for documentation specialists. She has 8 years in recruiting, loves hazelnut chocolate and judicious use of semi-colons.