Chiumento Chairman, and former head of recruitment for a FTSE100, Ian Gooden shares his four top reasons why recruiters aren’t talking to you.

“Why aren’t recruiters talking to me? Its a common issue raised by job applicants. The truth is there is no one answer. Instead I’ll offer up four of the most common.

It’s a function of time – its not personal…

Every candidate wants a one-to-one relationship with a recruiter. By contrast the average recruiter could be faced with 10, 20, 30 or even more applicants for every job. In some cases – eg graduate applicants for roles with a top brand – the reality could be hundreds of applications for each vacancy.

Back in my in-house recruitment days, it wouldn’t have been uncommon for a recruiter to work on 25-30 jobs in a month. Let’s say with an average of 25 applicants per role. That’s something like 700 applicants in a month. To spend just three minutes talking to each candidate would take 2,100 minutes or around 35 hours of time. In other words pretty much a full working week out of the month. With all the candidate sourcing, CV reviewing and interviewing you have to do that’s time you just don’t have.

Inevitably that means recruiters have to be very selective about who they talk to. Which inevitably means the best applicants.

Your CV isn’t doing its job

At Chiumento we tell our outplacement delegates their CV only has one job. To secure them an interview.

To stand out from the crowd, grab a recruiter’s attention and get on the “must call” list your CV has to be really good. Average won’t cut it. You have one chance to impress and you have to get it right. Recruiters won’t ring you up to fill in the gaps. Nor will they spend hours “reading between the lines” trying to establish if you might have what they are looking for.

Tailoring your CV for every application is therefore a must. In the job posting, role description etc there will be big clues as to what that specific recruiter is looking for. A great CV makes their job easy. The key skills, experience, behaviours and achievements they are looking for leap out. And are easily spotted by any CV scanning technology they are using.

Most Chiumento delegates get free CV writing included in their outplacement programme which is a great head start.

You are throwing your net too wide

When you’ve experienced redundancy the temptation can be to send your CV everywhere. Applying for any job that moves in the mistaken belief that quantity trumps quality (of applications). That’s a self-defeating approach.

First of all, no recruiter is going to talk to you about a job for which you are patently not qualified or experienced. You are wasting their time, and yours, in applying. And serial applicants do get noticed – in a negative “oh no, not them again” way.

I often despair when I see people interviewed on TV who say they’ve made hundreds of job applications without success. Each rejection, or wall of silence, further denting their already weakened sense of self-worth. You have to question the quality and relevance of those applications. And it explains why recruiters aren’t talking to you – there’s nothing to discuss.

Less is very often more when job searching. Make one quality application a day, not dash off 10 indifferent or poor ones.

You aren’t contactable

That may sound laughable but I can assure you it isn’t. The error rate on contact details on CVs and on-line applications never ceases to amaze me. Mis-spelt email addresses, missing digit mobile numbers etc etc. I’ve seen them all.

Then there are candidates who say “I didn’t answer the phone as I didn’t recognise the number”. If you are job hunting seriously you can’t afford to do that. Nor can you afford recruiters’ emails bouncing back because your mailbox is full.

A lot of candidates also don’t check their emails and messages often enough. Or think to check their spam folder before complaining a recruiter is ignoring them.

In summary

Why aren’t recruiters talking to you? Probably because you aren’t making it clear why they should invest their limited time in a conversation. Our top tips are:-

  • Have a compelling CV tailored to each job you apply for.
  • Only apply for jobs where you are a good match. Random, “scattergun” applications rarely succeeed.
  • Make sure you are easy to contact!

To find out more about how Chiumento helps individuals with job search visit our outplacement pages.