“Nothing” is the New “No”
People want to avoid conflict and if you are not of use and can not harm them. They will ignore you. I get
emails and calls all the time from staffing companies and recruiters looking to fill some position or the
other. I take and respond to these based on my need for employment or my level of interest in the position
they describe. I am always in the market because the best time to look for a job is when you already have
one. I do my best to keep up with emails and follow up with calls. It only makes sense as part of an over
all understanding of business and especially marketing to make and keep positive contact with as many
potential customers as possible. If you view yourself or more specifically your skill set as a product then
potential employers are more accurately potential customers. And the process of job seeking becomes
the art of marketing. In this you should realize perspective changes every.
A few months ago, I had a contract come to an end before I thought it would and I was left in the
undesirable position of being unemployed. This is differentiated from being between contracts by the fact
that I did not have another job already lined up. Where as I usually enjoy being between contracts, kind of
like a mini vacation, I never want to be out of work. I put my resume back on line and began my marketing
campaign and within a day I was arranging customers sorting between those that were just looky lous and
those that were closeable. I had received two or three calls from an in house recruiter for a medical billing
software development company in regards to a report developer analyst position. By the tone of her
messages and her persistence I was sure she would be in the closeable pile. I finally made contact with
her while shopping with my wife and kids at Target (Business never stops). An initial phone call turned into
a full blown interview that took more then an hour. Which my kids did not mind as they played through the
toy isles and my wife did not mind as she wondered through home furnishings and the book section.
The call and interview went well and she was going to set up another phone interview this time with the
hiring manager who was located out of state. A day or two later I got a call from her again to schedule the
second interview and a week after that I was on the phone for the second interview. I detail this in order to
point out that marketing is a process that often takes time. I have ended up getting contracts months after
the initial contact. The longest gap between initial contact and actual work I have ever had was about
three years. I had a recruiter from an out of state staffing agency make contact with me for one position
which did not materialize over the next three years we had the occasional call or email without result and
then like pulling the handle on a slot machine at the right time we hit and I was on a plane the next week.
The second interview with the medical billing company went well the hiring manager was semi technical and
we seemed to hit it off on a personal level. She said that she would be in contact with the recruiter to
arrange a third and technical interview that would be the deciding factor. A few days went by and I had no
word from the recruiter so I followed up with a call and nothing. A week or so had pasted so I tried again
this time with both a call and an email. No response. A few days after that I was sure that they had moved
on for some reason which did not matter but the fact that I had not gotten even a curtsey response to my
email stating their lack of interest bothered me. I made one more follow up call expressing my
disappointment that there had been no response and then let it go. I never did hear back.
The point of the matter is that for whatever reason they had moved on and did not feel the need to let me
know. It seemed rude in an abstract kind of way. I did not know them and they did not know me and we
had not made any commitments or promises to each other. Still according to the rules of business
etiquette and with all propriety they should have feigned some sort of response. But you see the rules of
business are not really rules at all. They are more like guidelines and you have to be of value to the other
party in order for them to be in effect.
Look, I know we are all busy but no one is so busy that they can’t normally get back to you. And I know
that in this day in age with a modern life style and business at the speed of light, in a world economy with
the amazing high cost of everything, time being money and all, it is just not possible or cost effective to
follow up with everyone on everything. Which is a bunch of crap, life was just as busy in the past as it is
now. Sure we have a global economy and the cost of living is through the roof. Yes, there are more
people on the planet then there have ever been, all competing for limited resources. But we also have
technology. People don’t live in caves and ride horses. If you had said you didn’t have time to give me a
call back in 1975 because you had to go across town. I would understand but now you have a cell phone
and if you didn’t get back till late you could easily drop me an email at midnight and I’d get it in the
morning. So don’t give me a load of garbage; that life is just too busy. You are either afraid on my
response (you’re a coward) or you don’t care (you’re an ass).
Follow up can be a necessity or a courtesy. If you are in need of something it is a necessity but if you are
not then it is a curtsey. Some people are just not courteous and that is up to them. In the long run and or
in a small market it might hurt them. Just don’t let it get to you and don’t make a big deal of it. If you try to
get in touch and they never get back it is because you’re not the one, they are not going to or can not do
whatever it is you want, they have moved on. Face it and move on.
The Lesson to Learn:
If you don’t hear back after several repeat attempts then you have gotten you answer… and the answer is
No. Get over it and move on.
The Brutal Truth:
If they don’t need you they don’t care. The world or market we live in is not so large as to make it
unnecessary not burn bridges but it is very competitive out there and many have taken to the philosophy
of take no prisoner, survival of the fittest, win at any cost. The old rules of business are only applicable if
you do business the same old way that you have always done it. Most of the time things have to develop
and adapt quickly in order to stay above water and keep in the black.