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Why Don't Candidates Call Me Back?

Published on Jun 20, 2024

In the world of talent acquisition, few things are more frustrating than reaching out to a seemingly perfect candidate and getting no response. You’ve put in the effort to find and contact them, but they don’t return your calls, texts or emails. So, why don't candidates call back? Here are several potential reasons and some tips on how to improve your response rates.

1. Poor Initial Contact

First impressions matter. If your initial message is too generic or doesn’t clearly communicate the value of the opportunity, candidates may not see the worth in responding. Personalizing your outreach can make a significant difference. Reference their specific skills or experiences and explain why you think they’re a great fit for the role.

Tip: Use a personalized approach in your initial contact. Mention specific details from their resume or LinkedIn profile to show you’ve done your homework.

2. Lack of Clarity

Candidates may not respond if they’re unsure about the role or the company. Vague job descriptions and unclear expectations can be off-putting. Ensure your communication is clear, concise, and informative.

Tip: Provide a brief but detailed job description and a few sentences about your company’s culture and mission in your initial outreach.

3. Timing

Timing is everything. Candidates might not respond if they’re currently overwhelmed with their workload or personal commitments. Consider that they might be actively engaged in their current roles and may not have the bandwidth to explore new opportunities immediately.

Tip: Be patient and considerate with your follow-ups. Send a gentle reminder after a few days if you haven’t heard back.

4. Lack of Interest

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the candidate may simply not be interested in the role. This could be due to various factors like the position not aligning with their career goals, the location, or the salary not meeting their expectations.

Tip: Clearly outline the benefits and opportunities of the role, but also be prepared to accept that not every candidate will be a fit. The SimpleTexting guide highlights the importance of clearly communicating the value proposition to attract interest.

5. Competitive Market

In a competitive job market, top candidates often receive multiple offers and inquiries. Your message could be getting lost in the noise. Standing out in a crowded inbox requires a strategic approach.

Tip: Differentiate your message by highlighting unique aspects of your company or role that set it apart from others. According to Recruitics, showcasing what makes your company unique can help attract top talent.

6. Communication Channels

The medium you use to contact candidates can also impact their response rate. Some candidates might prefer emails, while others might respond better to LinkedIn messages or phone calls. Additionally, incorporating multiple touch points, such as sending a connection invite on LinkedIn, can help build a stronger connection with the candidate.

Tip: Experiment with different communication channels to see which ones yield the best results. The effectiveness of text messaging in recruitment is well-documented. Text messages have an open rate of 98%, significantly higher than email's 20% open rate, and 95% of texts are read within three minutes (SimpleTexting, iCIMS).

7. Email Outreach Going to Spam/Junk

Your email outreach might be landing in candidates' spam or junk folders, which can drastically reduce response rates. Ensuring your emails are delivered to the inbox is critical.

Tip: Use professional email addresses, avoid using spam trigger words, and make sure your email content is well-formatted and relevant. Additionally, tools like ZoomInfo and Seamless.AI can help you access multiple contact points for candidates, including additional email addresses and phone numbers, ensuring you have alternative ways to reach out.

8. Generic and Dry Job Postings

Job postings that are too generic and dry can fail to capture candidates' interest. To stand out, make your content vibrant, humanistic, and engaging. Avoid cookie-cutter descriptions and add more color and personality to your postings.

Tip: Look at what your competition is posting and strive to do better. Make your job descriptions lively and appealing to attract top talent. Highlight unique aspects of your company culture and what makes working with you exciting.

9. Follow-Up

Many candidates don’t respond to the first contact attempt. A lack of follow-up can result in missed opportunities.

Tip: Always follow up. A polite follow-up message can often prompt a response when the initial message did not. As per HRMorning, timely follow-ups are essential in maintaining candidate interest.

10. Human Connection

Building a genuine human connection can significantly improve your chances of getting a response. Show empathy and genuine interest in the candidate's career aspirations and personal goals.

Tip: Engage in meaningful conversations and demonstrate that you value them as individuals, not just potential hires. According to SmartRecruiters, establishing a personal connection can make your outreach more compelling and effective.

11. Applicants Not Responding

An applicant is someone who has taken the proactive step of applying to your open position, signaling their interest in being considered. However, even these proactive individuals sometimes don’t return communication to schedule interviews.

Reasons Applicants Don’t Respond:

  • Overwhelmed by Applications: They may have applied to multiple positions and are overwhelmed by the volume of responses.
  • Unclear Communication: If your communication lacks clear instructions or next steps, applicants might not know how to proceed.
  • Changed Circumstances: Their situation might have changed since they applied, such as receiving another job offer or deciding to stay at their current job.
  • Negative Perception: They might have received negative feedback about the company or role from reviews or other sources.


  • Prompt Follow-Up: Reach out promptly after receiving their application to maintain their interest.
  • Clear Instructions: Provide clear and concise instructions for scheduling interviews and what to expect next in the process.
  • Engaging Communication: Keep your communication engaging and reiterate the value of the opportunity.
  • Feedback Request: If an applicant stops responding, consider sending a polite message asking for feedback on why they are no longer interested.

12. Voicemail Ineffectiveness

Many candidates don’t listen to voicemail messages. In fact, up to 67% of people don’t listen to voicemails from business contacts. This statistic highlights the importance of pairing voicemail messages with follow-up emails to ensure your communication is seen.

Tip: Use a combination of voicemails and follow-up emails to increase your chances of getting a response. You can read more about this on SmartContact Blog.


Understanding why candidates and applicants don’t call back is key to improving your recruitment process. By personalizing your approach, being clear and concise, timing your outreach well, standing out in a competitive market, using the right communication channels, following up appropriately, incorporating effective text messaging, building a genuine human connection, ensuring your emails reach the inbox, and making your job postings vibrant and engaging, you can increase your chances of getting responses from top talent.

Author: George Zimny, Co-Founder of ProducifyX

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