To the techies in the crowd, the term radio silent may signify a “status in which all fixed or mobile radio stations in an area are asked to stop transmitting for safety or security reasons”. To single guys and gals, the term may describe the status of your relationship with the person with whom you were last Tindering. If you’re a nurse practitioner, it’s entirely possible that the term ‘radio silent’ best describes your job search (or maybe your job search and your last dating relationship?). Why aren’t employers calling you back?
Working with nurse practitioners in their job searches across the country through the ThriveAP Career Advisor Program has given me some new insight into why job possibilities suddenly drop off the map for NPs. Matching yourself with a position that’s a good fit for your needs is a delicate dance and sometimes you may loose your partner. Here are a few reasons why.
1. The position is no longer open
One of the worst things that can happen to a clinic or hospital department is that they find themselves understaffed. This puts stress on other providers and often results in lost revenue. So, the second an employer suspects a nurse practitioner may be leaving, they often post the position in search of a replacement. In reality, this NP may not leave, or the suspicions of HR may have been off mark.
Other times an employer may post a position with the intention of filling it. Then, a review of the budget, financial constraints, or career transitions of other employees make the hiring of an additional nurse practitioner no longer practical. So, while the posted opportunity may linger on job boards or you have already interviewed for the job, no one will be hearing the words “you’re hired” for the position.
The Fix: If you haven’t heard back from an employer or recruiter for several weeks in regards to a job opportunity, pick up the phone or send a short email asking if the position to which you applied is still open.
2. The employer is too busy to get back to you
People are busy. It’s as simple as that. Whether you’re applying to a solo practice or a major hospital system, hiring may not be the only thing your contact for a job has on their plate. Physicians are likely treating patients all day trying to review resumes while housing half a sandwich over a 15 minute lunch break. In-house recruiters at hospitals may be sorting through hundreds of applicants. You may very well be a qualified candidate for the job, but sometimes it takes a while to get a response. Be patient.
The Fix: Keep a spreadsheet listing positions to which you’ve applied. If you haven’t heard back one week after submitting your resume, send an email or call to make sure your application was received. If you don’t hear back, a few days later reach out with a different mode of communication. Some employers respond better by phone, others by email.
3. A more qualified applicant applied for the job
Sorry, Charlie. Sometimes you aren’t the right person for the job. Applying for positions to which you don’t meet 100% of the qualifications is fine. There’s always a chance, right? However, if a nurse practitioner more seasoned or otherwise qualified than you applies for the job you may never get a call back. Employers and recruiters get busy (or disorganized!) and don’t always remember to notify applicants that positions have been filled.
The Fix: If you haven’t heard back from an employer or recruiter in regards to a job opportunity, pick up the phone or send a short email asking if the position to which you applied is still open to get a definitive response.
4. The recruiter you’re using is working behind the scenes
The hiring process can be quite intricate. If you are working with a recruiter, he or she may be waiting on news from an employer before getting back to you. The HR department at the hospital where you applied may need to run prospective candidates by the physicians with whom they will be working before presenting an offer letter. Silence doesn’t always mean the job is no longer an option, arrangements may be in progress behind the scenes.
The Fix: Reach out to the employer, recruiter or Career Advisor with whom you are working and inquire about the status of the position. Ask if you are still in the running for the position or if you need to move on with your search.
5. There are multiple decision-makers for the position
In a similar vein, there are likely multiple individuals weighing in on your candidacy for a nurse practitioner position. Some positions may even involve your future (?) NP counterparts in selecting their next cohort. Other jobs may require that a collaborating physician and/or administrator be involved in the process. Involving multiple parties in selecting a nurse practitioner candidate take time.
The Fix: Be intuitive. If you can tell multiple parties are involved in selecting a candidate for an open nurse practitioner position, be patient. Asking a prospective employer about the timeline within which they hope to fill the position may give you an idea as to the length of process you can expect.
6. The employer isn’t sure what they are looking for
Sometimes, the person recruiting for a nurse practitioner doesn’t quite have all the information they need. For example, a recruiter for a large hospital system may be tasked with sorting through resumes for a physician looking to hire. While the recruiter has a general idea of what the doc is looking for in a collaborating NP, they may be in the dark when it come to which personality type would be the best match, or to specific procedural skills required by the position. If you land an interview or an initial screening with an employer but then communication ceases, it may be the result of a lack of internal communication.
The Fix:Be intuitive. If you can tell multiple parties are involved in selecting a candidate for an open nurse practitioner position, ask on the front end how many steps are involved in the interview process and who you can expect to meet with should you move on in the process.