Don’t call us. We won’t call you.


Trevor Cooper is one of those actors you probably don’t know by name but you always recognise when he pops up on screen. And he often pops up. Rarely in a leading role (unless you remember Star Cops) but always giving a good performance whether playing a government minister or a gentleman of the street.

He’s the sort of dependable performer you’d imagine would always be in demand.

Yet, like most actors he still has to attend auditions. And in his guest blog on The Honest Actors website, Dear Casting Directors: Don’t Leave Us Hanging, Cooper describes the intense frustration of attending an audition that seems to go well and then hearing nothing after.

It’s a blog that employers, recruitment firms and some executive search consultancies – as well as casting directors –  would do well to read.

Lessons for recruitment firms

I do appreciate that with hundreds of applicants for every role it might not be possible to give every applicant feedback. But if you have met with someone and interviewed them, then surely it is common courtesy to at least let them know whether or not they have got the job. Yet it seems increasingly common to leave people to come to the conclusion that they have been unsuccessful for themselves.

I’ve been working with a friend recently on her applications. She works in a small industry where people know each other and word gets around quickly. And she’s still waiting for feedback from two interviews she had last Autumn.

Isn’t this just a  lack of courtesy? Or personal disorganisation? Or is it fear? The desire to avoid awkward conversations.

Either way, word gets around. Your brand depends not only on how you treat clients or customers, but also your interactions with all stakeholders, including applicants.

Recruitment firms in particular will find that today’s applicant will be tomorrow’s client so it’s gobsmacking that so few recognise the opportunity to build solid relationships that enhance your reputation and may well lead to business.

It’s one of those things that’s as easy to get right as it is to get wrong.

Executive search firms are better, perhaps because they deal with fewer candidates and operate at a senior level, but many are imperfect. So I was impressed to sit in the offices of one my clients yesterday to hear consultants providing honest, helpful feedback and encouragement to unsuccessful candidates.

It’s this kind of behaviour that distinguishes the good from the distinctly average.