A major part of a successful recruiter/consultant relationship, is building a connection that lasts. Afterall, when a recruiter and consultant are working together, it often takes a couple of opportunities and submissions before a placement occurs.
During this process, many forms of conversation need to happen, via both email and phone. Having been leading recruiters for a number of years now, I commonly hear "I can't get in touch with Joe," or "Sarah won't confirm her interview availability." On the flip side, consultants provide feedback like "I never heard back about my submission," or "Nobody ever called me about a possible interview."
Contract opportunities often come in fast and close even faster. A major challenge contractors and recruiters have throughout the process is being sure to communicate back-and-forth quickly, as new information becomes available. And after all of that rush, the hiring manager is sometimes slow to review and feedback on submissions seems non-existent. This causes anxiety for both recruiters and consultants.
Trust me when I say that recruiters LOVE getting feedback from clients about submissions. And there is nothing more that we would love than to let you know that feedback, in detail. No feedback is as frustrating for everyone.
But a client's hiring process is not simple and they are also dealing with many unknowns. There might be a delay for any number of reasons beyond their control, meaning it could be another week before the resumes even get to the right hiring manager. We've also seen hold-ups happen because the client wants to hire two people instead of one person for the role and interviews get pushed for another week. So many things can happen behind the scenes.
Still, it's understandable that delays, lack of feedback and too many "no update updates" would cause a consultant to disengage with their recruiter. Sometimes this results in contractors "ghosting" their recruiter - completely ignoring emails or phone calls and not responding at all. This, however, can send the wrong message and may have negative effects.
As noted, clients' hiring processes timelines can vary and be delayed for many reasons. Sometimes, the recruiter only hears something a couple weeks later, when they receive a notice that the client wants to interview the consultant. If you've already ghosted them due to a lack of feedback, then the recruiter is going to be forced to tell the client that you are no longer interested, and a new search begins to find somebody else for the job. Furthermore, it decreases their confidence in considering you for future submissions.
Communication, or lack there-of, is a common reason we see job opportunities fall apart. I recommend working with your recruiter to make a communication plan upfront. Let them know how often and when you prefer updates to be sent (even if there is no update), plus if the recruiter doesn't offer the information, ask them about how the client works so you can set your own expectations during the process.
Patience is something that both the recruiter and the consultant working together must understand. Certainly, great recruiters must check-in with job applicants, even if there is no feedback, so the consultant is aware of what may or may not be coming down the pipe. And at the same time, as a consultant, you should trust your recruiter and have confidence that if there is information or feedback, you will receive it.