Although it shouldn’t happen, silence from recruiters after an interview is typical in the corporate world. For many job seekers, it ultimately means rejection. But silence isn’t always a sign of disapproval. Here are some of the most common reasons for silence after interviews and what you can do.


You’re not dealing with just one party in the entire process. And as we know, anything that involves multiple parties is characterized by one thing — delays in aligning schedules. Recruiters and hiring managers are the main parties involved, and both can easily hit snags along the way as they juggle multiple job openings concurrently. Recruiters must gain access to hiring managers’ schedules, and managers must then make the decision about what to do. As well, if the manager is not happy with the candidates initially presented by the recruiter, they might ask for more information, which puts off the decision-making process and the next round of interviews. Acquiring hiring approval almost always requires signatures from people who are busy, traveling, sick, or on vacation.

To avoid silence early in the process, Marlo Lyons, a certified career coach and strategist and HR executive, advises candidates to ask, “Based on the candidates you’ve screened so far, what else do you need to know from me to make me a top candidate for this position?” Or, “Based on the candidates you’ve met with, do you see me moving forward in the hiring process?”

You’re not what they’re looking for

This is definitely uncomfortable for any job seeker to hear, but it’s a reality—you may not just be the right candidate. Although you might present a stellar resume and perform well in an interview, recruiters might still think you’re not the right candidate. Your education experience and professional background may even be what the company needs, but a different aspect may disqualify you. Many companies looking to hire a sales and marketing professional, for example, would give special attention to the candidate’s personality even though the candidate’s educational background will still be considered. This explains why you might receive a response from a recruiter along the lines of “your personality wasn’t a good fit.”

The job was canceled

Although rare, a job can be canceled by a company after conducting interviews and even screening candidates. As you might have guessed, this is completely not your fault, and it’s something you have no control over. There are many reasons that can lead a company to make such a decision. Unprecedented times, for instance, can create fluctuations in a company’s revenue. In turn, this would affect hiring strategies relative to the company’s budget. 

If you’re treated with silence after the interview or screening process, you could be wondering whether you should follow up or just forget about it and move on. You can, of course, follow your gut and make whatever decision you deem fit. However, Marlo advises job seekers to never take silence personally. “The rejection may have nothing to do with you—it may be more about competing candidates’ capabilities,” she says.