Recruiter's Inbox

November 17, 2010

Why is HR telling me not to contact the hiring manager?


Q: I recently applied for a job at a company I used to work for. I still know people there, including the hiring manager. She told me I would hear from someone in HR. After almost two weeks, I let her know that I still had not heard back. When I finally did hear from HR, they gave me a specific date that I would be contacted and asked me not to continue communicating with my network there. Do I still have any chance of interviewing/working there? What I have read about job-seeking is to not rely on HR, but to go directly to the hiring manager and to demonstrate continued interest in the job. Should the fact that this has been prohibited tell me something?
-CR, Seattle

Kristen says: Many job seekers are told that they should bypass HR and go straight to the hiring manager in their job search. While the hiring manager usually has the final say on who they hire, managers are not trained in the legal requirements that HR is when it comes to staffing. The fact that you were given a specific date to expect communication, and that you were asked to cease your extraneous communications, tells me that there are either some legal parameters HR is obligated to follow, or there might be some internal changes to the job or team pending (which the hiring manager may not be aware of). If the specific date has not come and gone yet, wait for it before you take any more action. If HR doesn’t contact you on that date, you should definitely e-mail HR for an update. If you don’t receive word within two or three business days, I think contacting the hiring manager via e-mail is permissible. I recommend e-mail for all correspondence, so that you have a written trail.

In this economy, it is not unusual for jobs to change, or close altogether based on business needs. Since there seems to be a definite timeline attached to this position, I would check the company’s website to see if the job is still open the week that you are supposed to hear from HR. Definitely follow up, but until then, be patient.

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rob on November 18, 2010 5:05 PM | Reply

does sound a little sketchy. be optimistic, but don't hang all your hopes on it. i.e., continue to look for other jobs while you wait.

i completely agree with Kristin. wait to be contacted, and follow everything HR tells you, and don't try to use your "network" to get in the back door.

probably they have legal requirements to post the position openly and transparently, and are forbidden to deviate. this means you will have to be considered equally among all candidates as far as HR is concerned.

remain positive and optimistic, but

TN on March 16, 2011 10:46 PM | Reply

This is standard at the large company I work at - external candidates are not allowed to have conversations with the hiring manager prior to the interviews for legal and compliance reasons. It has nothing to do with the manager and nothing to do with the candidate.

If you left a positive wake at your former company and you know the manager, the manager will see and respond (through HR) to the resume.

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Kristen Fife Kristen Fife is a recruiter, resume consultant, and employment expert based in the greater Seattle area.

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