Better a return call when you're ready than a missed call when you aren't.
This is a guest post by Graeme Gilovitz.
This has to sound like the stupidest idea you have ever heard.
How can you get the job if you don't actually talk to someone?
Even today, when you can communicate via so many media such as email, SMSes, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Facebook Messenger and any other applications, the only way to actually get the job is to talk to someone on the phone at some point and then meet them.
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Two reasons to ignore recruiter calls
1) Get prepared
As a recruiter, we love to catch people off guard because then we get to see (or in this case, hear) the real you and how you behave. Your tone gives us a great insight to your attitude, personality, politeness and professionalism.
So when we call and you have no idea who we are, where we are calling from or what role you applied for, you are already on the defensive and the power is with the recruiter. Most likely, you have applied for a few jobs and after a while the calls all sound the same which makes it harder to answer any of their phone questions.
It would be funny if it weren't so true.
This little conversation is the first stage of the interview process and needs to be treated with as much preparation as a face-to-face interview, even if the call only lasts 5 minutes.
Not answering the call gives you time to gather all the relevant information regarding your application, find a quiet place to talk and focus on answering their questions as well as you can. You can’t do any of that when you are taking calls on the fly, especially in a noisy area.
So instead of rushing to take the call, call them back.
2) Play hard to get (a little)
When someone is a too easy to get hold of, it gives the impression that you are sitting by the phone all the time, which translates into “I am desperate for a job”. But if you play a bit hard to get, you can increase your “perceived value”.
You can always tell them later that you were in an interview, or a meeting, etc., giving the impression that you must be a valuable potential candidate because other people are already meeting with you (simple logic of supply and demand).
Alternatively, just say that you were “unavailable to take the call” – the most universally used excuse ever.
What to do after ignoring the call
When you actually return the call, follow these tips:
- Find a quiet place to talk and more importantly, where you can listen
- Have a copy of the recruiter's job ad ready – make sure that you have reread it and have notes
- Have a copy of your application (resume and cover letter) to reference, and especially selection criteria (if there were any)
- As you know the name of the person who called (if they left you a message) and where they work, do some background digging – try LinkedIn and Facebook. I wouldn't recommend you using this information but at least you'll know who you are dealing with
- Apologize for not being able to take the call
- Have note paper and pen in case they mention anything useful or ask you for an interview and they provide details
- Anticipate the questions that they might ask
What happens if they don't leave a message or you accidentally answer the call?
- You need to get off the call ASAP no matter what!
- Apologize and explain that it isn't a convenient time to chat “as you are expecting an important call” and ask that you call them back at an agreed time
- Take their name, company, phone number
- Revert back to the above tips
Ring ring – what are you going to do?
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About the author
Graeme Gilovitz is Director of Summit Resumes and Summit Talent (an Australian-based recruitment agency with an international reach and client base), & has worked in-house with the some of the largest companies in Australia. With a background in advertising and marketing prior to recruitment, Graeme possesses an unique perspective on communication, the recruitment process and how to ensure that you get the most out of your job search. He blogs regularly, focusing on his insights.