I Recruit, Therefore I Am

CTFO – The Four Most Important Letters in Your Job Search

CTFO is one of, if not the most, important acronyms to remember when engaged in a job search.

  • The C stands for Chill.
  • The T stands for The.
  • The O stands for Out.
  • And we’ll leave F to the imagination.


Remember it.


  • This is for the person who is told to follow up with their Recruiter in a week’s time and has left four voice mails in less than twenty four hours. Seriously? CTFO.
  • This is for the person who meets the Hiring Manager and decides to drop by the office to say hello the day after the interview. Don’t you have anything else to do? CTFO.
  • And who could forget the person who sends the same generic e mail every week asking to be considered for any new opportunities that they may be fit for. There aren’t any right now, but we’ll let you know when we have something. Why not CTFO in the meantime?

There’s really nothing more to it than that.


I get it. You’re sitting at home; you’ve sent 30 resumes to 30 different jobs this week and haven’t gotten any calls back yet, the numbers on your bank account keep going down, and everything around you seems hopeless. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there. Really. But instead of getting upset, anxious, or overbearing, step back, take a breather and CTFO. We’ll all feel better.


We live in a competitive economy and the risk of another recession seems to loom closer every day. It can be a worrisome, alarming and scary place to live, especially if you are in the unemployment line. But just like you were taught during fire drill at school, remain calm, collected, follow the standard procedure and everything will work out fine.

Truth told, the candidates who don’t know how to take a step back and CTFO during the Recruitment process are the first ones to raise red flags and get cut from the running.


If I call you about a job on Tuesday and come in Wednesday morning to five separate e-mails asking for updates, you don’t look ambitious. You don’t look eager. You don’t even look keen. You look Desperate. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never encountered a job description that listed Desperate as one of the key requirements for a job.


Don’t take this the wrong way. I am not suggesting you shouldn’t follow-up with Recruiters. You most definitely should.

A regular follow-up shows that you are interested in the opportunity and want to keep the dialogue on it open and flowing. It also shows the Recruiter that you have a degree of interest in the position and are not afraid to follow-up on outstanding items. At the very least, it shows that you have other priorities in life than sitting by the phone praying for my call.

Woman Waiting for Phone to Ring --- Image by © PNC/Brand X/Corbis

My general rule of thumb for follow-up is once a week. If you haven’t heard from your Recruiter in a week, give them a call or drop them a line. Ask what’s up. We get busy. Sometimes things slip through the cracks. Maybe your e mail will be the reminder we need to call that Hiring Manager and get an update.

Anything beyond a week gets excessive. Recruiters need to coordinate with Managers who need to coordinate with Directors who need to coordinate with VPs to get approval to get approval to get approval to hire you. Trust me; they want to fill the job as badly as you want it. But this stuff doesn’t happen immediately. You have to be willing to CTFO and accept that.


Instead of sitting at home and calling your Recruiter for the sixth update in two days, why don’t you go outside? Take in the summer sun. Take the dog for a walk. Enjoy the children playing in the park, being happy and free. Anything it takes to let whatever will be to be.

Recruiters hope that you have what it takes to do the job. All we need is for you to CTFO and give us the space required to do ours.

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Michael Lippert

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