How to Turn on the Light During a “Dark Period”

by | Feb 18, 2016 | Career Transition, Talent Development | 0 comments

Our post on February 8 looked at what we call a “dark period” during a job search and why it might occur. Now, we are going to discuss the ten steps that you can take when you enter this type of period. (Again, we call a “dark period” as when you seem to be the prime candidate for a search and everything is moving quickly then, all of a sudden, everything goes “dark.”)

Bob Ryan, our Executive Coach with other 30 years of HR experience, suggests ten steps that you can take, but cautions that some of his suggestions carry with them some risk. He emphasizes that each situation is different and calls for a particular course of action. One or more of these ideas may work for you or give you another idea for your approach.

  1. Don’t stop your search no matter how good you feel about your chances with this opportunity. Always work on Plan B, C, etc…
  2. It’s acceptable to phone a recruiter “frequently,” but contact to the company directly should be metered carefully. Something like an e-mail followed up by a call (or vice-versa) weekly.
  3. For larger recruiters, tell the recruiter to “release you” so you can participate in other searches with their firm. This may help them decide to come forward with the truth.
  4. Call the decision maker or CHRO directly, but let the recruiter know you are doing this prior to the contact.
  5. Create a reason to have your name back in front of interviewers/decision maker(s), e.g. send a relevant article with dates you are available for a conversation.
  6. Give prior opportunities another look. Use this waiting time to review past opportunities. Call the company or the recruiter … maybe something has changed in the hiring situation. Try to get back on their radar.
  7. Ask the recruiter about the “other” candidate. They should not tell you much but at least you can find out if the other person is an internal candidate, relative or friend of someone on the inside which could possible given them an advantage for the opportunity.
  8. Use your network. Can someone give a careful “nudge” for you directly or indirectly to the CHRO or hiring person?
  9. Do you have a relationship with an internal person? See if this person can find out some information about the hiring process and when possible mention your name to the hiring manager.
  10. Use LinkedIn to expand your connections into the company. You may have a 2nd or 3rd degree connection at the company, meaning you may have a connection who knows someone who works there. This mutual connection could introduce you.


Hitting a “dark period” during an otherwise well-moving job search is not unusual. But, by following some of Bob’s suggestions, you should be able to find out important information to understand what has occurred and also to be able to successfully move out of this stalled state.