Why Does a “Dark” Period Happen During a Job Search?

by | Feb 5, 2016 | Career Transition, Future of work, HR, Talent Development | 0 comments

Sometimes a client tells us that a job search had been proceeding well — the recruiter liked them, maybe they even were interviewed by the company — then, for no apparent reason, communication with the recruiter or potential company has stopped. The search seems to have gone from great to bad! Understandably, the executive is perplexed, frustrated, and unsure what to do. This is what we term as a “dark” period in a job search: when you are getting regular communication from the recruiter or potential company, then hear nothing for more than two weeks, or it has been more than two days past a confirmed date for communication. There are many reasons for this situation, and they are not all bad.

photo_bob_ryanShields Meneley Partners Executive Coach Bob Ryan has been a top HR executive for over 25 years and believes there are a variety of reasons for this “dark” period of silence during an otherwise good job search:

  1. Scheduling has become difficult — sometimes it’s like aligning the planets to get all the decision-makers together to discuss the candidates.
  2. You are #2 in the search list and the recruiter or their client wants to keep you “warm” in case #1 does not take the job. If it does not work out with the #1 candidate the recruiter often will call you first as he resets the deck of candidates.
  3. The recruiter does not contact you because he does not like giving bad news; the potential company assumes you have been told by the recruiter.
  4. An internal candidate has entered the process and they want to give that person time to be considered.
  5. Candidate vetting and the hiring process can progress very slowly for many other reasons: they have a business to run, their needs may be refined as they interview candidates, and they are in the process of getting decision-makers to agree on one person.


Bob believes that there are three methods that you should consider to avoid this “dark” period:

  1. Develop a good relationship with the recruiter early in the process. Make it personal, not just a business transaction. Use your best relationship selling skills to develop a strong connection with the recruiter.
  2. If you believe that your interview with your potential future boss and/or the ultimate decision maker has gone well, in your own words ask at the end of the interview; “I feel very good about our conversation and frankly I am very interested in this position and working for you. Sometimes these processes get bogged down for various reasons…would you mind if I followed-up with you in a couple weeks?”
  3. Make sure the recruiter and maybe even their client knows that you are in demand.


During a career transition it is all too common to experience a “dark” period, but it does not mean that your transition is going poorly. By following these ideas, you can lessen the chance of it occurring in the first place.