Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Oh yeah, we'll keep your resume on file....

Ok, so by now most of my readers realize this is my personal blog and not that of my employer.  Right?  Ok, got it?  Because this post is absolutely positively 100% Jeff here...nothing more.

With that shameless C-Y-A...I will now discuss the famous (infamous?) “We’ll keep your resume on file” line you hear from many recruiters.  A lot of people assume that means it’s off to the trash...not entirely true.  It’s actually pretty complicated so I’ll address the potential outcomes for you when a recruiter tells you that they’ll keep you on file.

1) They actually do and they call you - I’ve done this SEVERAL times.  Meet a candidate and for some reason the timing is off so we have to pass....for now.  I’ll usually tell the person “I’m not just saying this, we’ll call you back.  I might not be for two years but we’ll call back”.  So, obviously this is the best outcome and it does happen.

2)  They like you but don’t know where you fit - Again, this happens all the time to recruiters and they are keeping the door open for you.  Now they might not be thinking their current company or even an unnamed future company but they want to keep in touch.  Take it for what it is, and hope for the best.

3) They have a really good ATS - Some companies have awesome Applicant Tracking such, they have great databases of candidates and when they say “we’ll keep you on file”  they mean it.  A new job opens up and the FIRST thing the recruiter does is search the database and call people.  Don’t I always tell you to apply online?  This is why.

4)  They don’t know what else to say - Another common one.  Lots of recruiters hate conflict and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  So, rather than just giving you the straight dope and telling you it’s not a fit they come up w/ some lame excuse that ends with keeping you on file.  It sucks, but it happens.

There you go, next time a recruiter tells you they’ll keep you on file ask if you can connect on LinkedIn.  That way you can build a connection beyond the resume, network a bit and maybe if you are lucky move from #4 to getting #1.......


  1. I have tons of these mails...I think my problem is 2) ( I have to be optimistic). It's very difficult for me to define clearly what I am.

  2. What is your personal opinion on calling back to see if they've found where you fit, or any new openings are available?
    I don't like the idea of the uncertainty that the dreaded waiting game after an interview brings with it. In fact I dislike the prospect so much that I make sure to get a clear response from the interviewer before I leave, and if they still equivocate I follow up on the phone within 3 days.

  3. all well and good advice.. except for the rank and file candidates.. the dime a dozen, or little to mid experience level candidates; it takes more time to find that person's email in the recruiters inbox than to simply search for a new candidate.

    I love the linked in approach.. I did that (although I think some recruiters thought I was crazy for asking) so that I could 'social stalk' from my, "the candidate's", perspective. It's a good way to spy on people's career progression within a company you're interested in to help you figure out if the company is a good fit based on your personal goals.

  4. @robin the thing to remember is that a lot of people are afraid to give any feedback at all so they have no legal exposure if for some reason you were to sue the company for discrimination. So for me, it's ALL about relationships and making sure that you've got a real connection w/ folks as opposed to as @Andrea says "rank and file" candidates.

    @Andrea are we connected on LinkedIn? Kidding :)