You sent out a promising job application to a recruiter and you feel really good about it — you’re a great match for the job! You anxiously wait by your phone and check your email multiple times a day, but you don’t hear back. Days pass, weeks, and still nothing.
In fact, you never hear back from the recruiter — and you’re frustrated. Why didn’t they call you back? What went wrong? Even if you weren’t right for the job, the recruiter should at least get back to you, right?
Well, not exactly.
We spoke with Linda Hertz, a medical sales recruiter and the principle owner of the Linda Hertz Group, a medical sales career resource community of nearly 3,900 professionals from the industry.
She breaks it down very simply, saying there are three reasons recruiters don’t contact every candidate. Hertz also offers advice on what job seekers can do to be more successful at being at the receiving end of that call:
You’re not qualified.
Hiring is a numbers game, and recruiters face a high volume of resumes and applications coming to them via email and every social media platform. There is just not enough time to contact everyone who applies.
“We just can’t call all 200 people who have applied,” said Hertz. “Only the qualified candidates get called back.”
And often, the candidate’s idea of qualified is very different from what the recruiter is looking for. For each job, recruiters develop a list of key markers, or requirements, for the job. Candidates must meet these bare minimum requirements to get a call back, and that’s less common than you think.
“We’ll be lucky if 1 to 3 percent [of job applications] coming in are qualified,” Hertz said.
Fix it: The solution Hertz suggests is simple — “Look at the job post.”
She tells candidates to print out job posts and read the details very closely. Then, take a blue highlighter and highlight all the qualifications you have. Look at both the requirements and “nice-to-haves” that the post outlines. Next, take a red or pink highlighter and highlight all the qualifications you don’t meet.
Now, look at the paper. If you see mostly blue, you’re qualified for the job and should apply. But if you’re seeing red, you should move on to the next job post. In spite of your impressive experience, you are not considerably qualified for this particular job and will not likely get a call back.
Medical sales recruiters are looking for very specific requirements, so read the job post carefully and determine if you are actually qualified before sending a job application.
You think you can learn on the job.
So, you read and analyze a job post and see you don’t meet the minimum requirements. But you really want the job, have years of sales experience and won some awards in the industry. That has to be enough, right?
It’s not that simple.
“We have a lot of smart people in this industry,” Hertz said. “In their minds, they think they are capable of learning the few pieces they are not yet bringing to the table.”
But that’s just not the case. Hertz explained why this doesn’t work, not only in medical sales, but across the board:
“A hospital needs a neurosurgeon. Period. How is an OBGYN going to tweak their resume so they qualify for that job? They can’t.” she said. “The only thing they can do is go back and get the experience they need to qualify for that position, even if it’s 10 years from now.”
Fix it: “Become qualified,” Hertz explains.
Recruiters know medical sales professionals are smart and capable of learning new skills, but they’re looking for reps who have those skills, now. If you really have your heart set on a position you’re not qualified for, become qualified so you can be a viable candidate in the future. This may mean taking a step backwards – either in prestige or in pay – but you have to be willing to get the experience you need before you can expect to take the next step.
“You can’t be what you don’t have,” Hertz says. “Ask yourself ‘what do I need to do so that in two years I will have that experience?”
You expect recruiters to work for you.
You want to get the attention of recruiters, so you pick up the phone or shoot them an email. But contacting recruiters in ways that wastes valuable time only frustrates them.
For example, Hertz said professionals often email asking what jobs are open in their area, and those types of requests are, quite frankly, ignored.
“All of our jobs are shot to multiple sites,” she said. “There’s really no need to contact me to ask what jobs are running — that’s something you did 20 years ago. That means somebody really is not at all in today’s age.”
Others contact recruiters for career advice — but that’s not their job. There’s a common misconception about what recruiters do, and it’s frustrating to both job seekers and recruiters.
“Our time is valuable, “ Hertz said. “We work straight commission. We don’t help candidates find jobs. We find candidates for our hiring clients. And they pay us when we do.”
She put it this way — a sales recruiter assigned a search to find a rep who can sell cardiac devices in the OR, wouldn’t waste their time calling a diabetes sales specialist selling into a physician’s office. The sales recruiter would never make a placement, lose their contract with their hiring customer, and their credibility as a recruitment professional for future job assignments.
“It sounds like we’re being rude, but we want to spend our time where we can earn our money and provide for our families,” she said. “Independent contingency recruiters get paid nothing unless we place a candidate. We can’t call everyone back or we will go out of business.”
Fix it: Hertz recommends you “Go ahead and go to LinkedIn.”
Instead of bothering recruiters with calls and irrelevant emails, follow-up your job application professionally to get their attention.
Hertz suggested that candidates find the recruiter on LinkedIn and invite them to connect. In the invitation message, tell the recruiter which job you applied for and ask them to take a look at your profile, and identify the skill or experience you have that is spot on with the job requirement of their job post.
“I accept all [LinkedIn] requests and I go through them daily,” she said. “Believe me, if somebody right now said that to me, I’d look at their LinkedIn profile if their experience seemed relevant.”
Medical sales recruiters are busy and you want them to contact you because you are the right person for the job. To get to the next round in the hiring process, understand the recruiter’s point of view, apply for jobs you are actually qualified for, and follow-up professionally. Stand out because you are qualified and impress the recruiter, not because you are constantly showing up in their inbox and becoming a nuisance.
What has your experience with medical sales recruiters been like? Are you guilty of these mistakes? Join the conversation on LinkedIn!