What’s the point of speaking to a recruiter on the phone?

Finding a job can be a full-time job in itself and it is often not possible to target all the areas you need to cover. This is why getting the help of a recruiter could be invaluable. 

When you reach out to a recruiter it’s good to communicate to them first hand as well as by email. One of the best methods to get across your wishes and desires is to speak to them on the phone.

A telephone interview would often take place during the early stages of your registering with a recruitment company. Some recruiters will use this as a method of shortlisting; others as an opportunity to learn more about the candidates who are applying to work for them.

A telephone interview is often an effective way for a company to screen many candidates quickly and cost-effectively, without having to invest the same level of time and resources needed for face-to-face interviews.

Telephone interviews (and increasingly, Skype interviews) are usually straightforward, since the aim is to eliminate weaker candidates, rather than to test stronger ones. Often, all recruiters are looking for is a calm, confident telephone manner and an intelligent set of responses to common interview questions.

In some occupations, phone communication is an important responsibility. In this situation, the recruiter will be evaluating how well you can present yourself, convey messages and get your point across clearly and concisely.

Arrange a phone call

It’s now clear that you are an interesting candidate and someone wants to talk to you to get to know you better. No matter how busy you can be, you surely want to give the impression you are a sociable and highly organised individual, that you care and that you are available to share and listen anytime. It’s in your own interest, after all! Keep in mind that if you are a job seeker you must be methodical!

Why is it beneficial to share information with strangers and listen to what they have to say?

A recruiter will have questions about your resume, your jobs, skills and gaps in your resume also. When you speak to a recruiter you have the opportunity to explain everything on your cv. Remember: someone wants to talk to you to get to know you better!  

  • Maybe your resume is not very clear.
  • Maybe there is another opportunity that they want to consider you for but on your cv you have decided to highlight just some of your skills in order to apply for opportunities within one sector.

Most importantly, it could just be that the person on the other end of the line would like to listen to you! The way you sound, you describe yourself and your experiences, your interests and expectations for the future, your expectations and desires.

No matter if you are dealing with a recruiter or a talent acquisition specialist, get always ready to talk.

It’s is really worth a chat!

Would you ever give your trust and time to a person you don’t know? Not many recruiters will - you need to build up that rappour and relationship. Recruiters and talent acquisition specialists need to know what you truly want. They need to believe in your passion and skills because these are the people that will stand on your side while introducing your profile to a client or hospitality manager. A good recruiter can read between the lines and find opportunities you have never thought about, opening up other opportunities for you. They will also let you know if your profile is not suitable for an opportunity. They could save you time and advise you on your next move. So, is it worth it?

Your phone conversation

Your focus is important when having a conversation with the person who is trying to match you to a job you need to be present and fully engaged when you are contacted. Make sure you are in a quiet place with good phone reception; otherwise, have them contact you at a better time, as distractions and background noise can make or break a conversation, weakening the content of your conversation and your ability to focus.

First impressions count for a lot, so create a rapport with small talk and keep it friendly. A smile on your face is easily conveyed over the phone, recruiters will pick up on the positive energy. As well, using their first name shows you are interested in them.  Make sure you have good posture, as it can affect your delivery.  Keep the tone of your conversation upbeat, positive and cooperative. Avoid negativity – especially about previous employers. Be ready to discuss why you left a previous employer with a positive tilt such as ‘I was seeking a more upwardly mobile opportunity’ as opposed to ‘I hated my job and found it really boring,’ as this could be misunderstood as you not being the most proactive employee. 

Phone edict and attitude is especially important. When answering the phone while you are job hunting, answer it professionally, speak clearly, slowly and annunciate your answers – stay away from slurred speech and slang. If you need something repeated, a good way to reply is – ‘I am sorry, can you please repeat that’. Keeping your answers concise, as opposed to rambling, shows your respect for the recruiter’s time as well.

Should the recruiter ask you questions about your previous employers and job duties, keep your resume handy. Make sure it is accurate and up to date with current skill sets, software and timelines.  Speaking with a recruiter, have your resume work samples and references ready to present ahead of time so that you can provide what they need while the conversation is still fresh in their mind.  Sending this information to them immediately, shows that you are ready to hit the ground running.  Make sure any online profiles, such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter are up to date and ensure that these pages are clean and free of negativity and poor content.Be ready to talk about the position – do your research ahead of time and learn about the company. Be familiar with the skills and credentials that are required and make sure you are able to highlight any transferable skills you are bringing over from previous employers. Know the salary level of similar positions and what you are willing to accept. Find out all that you can about the job duties and where this career path may lead. Let them talk first – save your questions for the end of the conversation so as not to interrupt.


Mistakes candidates make when talking to recruiters

Although these may not seem like big issues, these are all red flags that will make a  recruiter move on to the next candidate.

1. Talking money right off the bat

Telephone job interviews are an important first step in getting the job. If you bring up money too soon it may appear that money is your only motive for a position.

2. Talking to recruiters in an inconvenient location

If a recruiter calls you and it is not a convenient time for you to talk, let them know and reschedule the call for a better time. This is better than to trying to have the conversation in a chaotic environment.

3. Saying that the answer to one of our questions is on your resume

It’s amazing how often people answer a question about their experience by telling us to look at their resume. This makes the candidate seem uncooperative. It also makes us wonder if the person is capable of talking about the technical aspects of their work.

4. Seeming desperate

We want you to be excited about the job. But, you’ll scare off a recruiter by appearing desperate and pleading because you need a job. This will not win any prizes and will make any recruiter question whether you are applying for the job for the right reasons. How do you avoid coming across as desperate? Don’t talk about why you need the job. Talk about why you are the right person for the job.

5. Making plans to talk with a recruiter outside of office hours then not following through

If you are in contact with a recruiter and you decide upon a set time outside of office hours to discuss an opportunity, make sure you follow through with the discussion. If you need to reschedule, or if you are no longer interested in the opportunity, make sure to let the recruiter know. Otherwise this could shut the door on you completely, if you place no value in their time.

6. You don’t know your A to B.

In other words, you aren’t clear about where you’re at now and you’re even less clear about where you want to be. A recruiter’s job is not to create your entire career strategy for you. It’s your job to be able to sell yourself with specific highlights.

Take the time to understand the needs of the industry, and learn to sell yourself. When you have a wide array of skills, only a portion of them will be utilized in any one role.

7. You’re one of the extremes.

Every conversation with recruiters and managers is an evaluation. Additionally, agency recruiters are sometimes the only ones that have access to roles which could be your entry into the industry or your dream job.

Recruiters get three extremes: overly-professional, over-appeasing, or irritable job applicants.

Overly-professional is by far the most common.

You need to show them your personality. An extremely professional candidate limits the manager’s ability to assess cultural fit with their team, which weighs heavily on their decision to hire.

If it’s not a fit and you take the job anyway, you’ll be searching to escape that environment within a month.

Over-appeasing is the most frustrating to recruiters.

They know exactly what to say to make recruiters excited  to represent them, but when called with a phone interview request they will respond, “Oh, I’m actually not interested”.

Be sincere, and be diligent.

If you’re interested in a role, pursue it like it’s the last job on Earth.

If you have hesitations, voice them early on in order to initiate the conversation well before you get an ill-fitted offer or waste anyone’s time.

Irritable candidates just think all recruiters suck.

But that cynicism can spill over onto well-meaning recruiters that actually want to help you get the job, outside of their metrics, and ruin your chances completely.

Don’t forget that recruiters, whether you like them or not, are sometimes the only way to an opportunity.

They are masters in staffing and they know what works

Treat every conversation with value and build the partnership and working relationship to get the best outcome. However, if they say no, you are not suitable for that particular role, accept it – it’s nothing personal.

8. You’re not transparent.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a recruiter who follows up with you and lets you know every step of the back-end process the moment it happens?

Recruiters wish the same from their candidates.

What you put in, you get out. The Recruiter is dealing with 1000’s of candidates on a weekly basic and sometimes there are not enough hours in the day.

The more diligent you are in asking for follow-ups (within reason) the more likely you are to get some insight.

It’s also important to let them know if you are interviewing for other opportunities.

They don’t care that you’re working with other recruiters — in fact, they know you are.

If you’re pursuing two roles and your #1 choice just invited you for a phone interview, but your backup just gave you an offer with limited time to respond,what do you do?

Rather than dodging both or playing games to buy time, keep your recruiter in the loop.

They can speed up the process on the slower opportunity so that you may get two offers in the same week with a weekend to consider each before making a decision that’s right for you.

This takes a great deal of stress away from you and your recruiters by staying transparent about where you’re at and staying on the same page to all work together.

9. You’re unavailable.

Timing is a major component of the hiring process, so make it work for you, not against you.

Some of my clients require submissions the day the role comes out. If you are as serious about your job-hunting as you should be, keep an eye on your phone in order to respond within a half-business day. Recruiters would rather work with you than have you miss the opportunity of a lifetime because of timing.

Similarly, a candidate that will do anything to make themselves available will be seen as more diligent and determined than one that requests to reschedule.

You have to make this easy on the recruiter and the hiring manager.

If you want the job you’ll be responsive and available. Make this a priority and make the timing work for you.

10. Bro-dude chatter

Some recruiters are more casual than others and try to build a rapport with candidates by acting in a buddy-buddy manner and even cracking jokes. While it’s OK to adjust to the signals you’re getting and loosen up a bit, precision of language is paramount regardless of how well you seem to be getting on with the person who controls the hiring decision.

11. Being a complete pest

Calling daily, even stalking employers are other problems that are more common than you might think.

Limit yourself to following up in a reasonable time frame, ie weekly, if they say they will keep you posted and they don’t. However, they should let you know as its in their best interest to do so.

12. Going AWOL

Don’t reach out to a hiring manager or recruiter for help and assistance only to go AWOL. If you cannot get the documents required straight away, say so. If you cannot make the interview or have changed your mind, whatever the reason, do not just go off the radar – you might need their help in the future and you will not often get a second chance to burn a recruiter. So, the best policy is communication.

13. Being a multitasker

Your communication style can support or sink your candidacy. Don’t answer your phone (when the recruiter or hiring manager calls) if you are truly unavailable. The hiring managers or HR executives who want to hire you will leave a voice mail, and it’s better for you to collect yourself and find a quiet place to return a call than to accept a call in the middle of a busy restaurant, when you at work or you are not alone.

14. Do not lie as it will come back to bite you.

From the beginning of engaging with a recruiter, be honest and open about your situation, including the status of your relationship with your current or most-recent employer, as well as salary information. Concealing red flags or the fact that you’ve already applied to the company or hotel is a big no-no and will ultimately undermine your relationship with the recruiter.

15. Being cocky or stretching the truth

If there was a particular deal that you were a part of and you list on your resume, it’s natural to want to make yourself sound good. However, if you claim an important role in a transaction but can’t talk through the strategy or many specifics, then you will be found out in the phone screening or in-person interview – if you do eventually make it that far. Recruiters serious about hiring a candidate will always do a thorough background check that will expose any egregious truth-stretching.

Finally, be yourself

In addition to the right skill set, recruiters are also looking for the right personality fit. Make sure to have some canned answers so your personality can shine through. Believe it or not, if your resume is great but you aren’t friendly and personable on the phone, you may be passed over because the recruiter knows the particular client likes a bubbly personality.

Good Luck - hope this information helps