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To Call, or Not to Call. That is the Question.

11 Feb

I was reading a blog post by Debra Wheatman and it started me thinking. The post was about how to stand out from the crowd through an online application process. In this saturated job market, so many job seekers are looking for ways to stand out. It’s easy to either blend in or to get carried away and stand out for all the wrong reasons. Finding that happy middle ground where you’re making a statement that recruiters and hiring managers want to hear – now that’s where the challenge lies.

Follow-up is great, but when does it become too much? At what point do you stop being pro-active and start being needy and obnoxious? First off, job seekers need to be aware that recruiting is a collaborative process. If you call and get to speak with a recruiter, you don’t also need to try to identify and call the hiring manager – and vice versa. We all talk to each other, and we know what you’ve been up to.

Also, be ready with the reason that you’re calling. If you get me on the phone, I’m going to say “hi” and wait for you to talk. Please have something to say besides “I just wanted to make sure that my resume was received.”  You probably got a confirmation at the end of the online application, and then received a confirmation email telling you that your resume was received and will be reviewed. If you’re calling to reiterate your interest in an interesting way or to bring to light a specific point about your qualifications, go for it. But only if you are sure that you’re a great match for the position.

If someone calls who is right for the job in question, I want to speak with them.  If someone not remotely qualified calls about a position, it doesn’t present that person in a positive light. Be honest with yourself about how close a match you are. If you’re not sure, ask a friend or mentor. Think about how you’ll rank compared with the most perfectly qualified candidates. If you’re at the top, call or email. If not, don’t.

If the ad says “no phone calls”, don’t call. Period. Consider the instructions a test – if you ignore them, you fail.

In spite of how hopeless the online application process may seem at times, from a recruiter’s standpoint it’s the easiest way to find talent. All we need is for the right resume to show up in the in-box. When it does, be sure that we’ll see it. And we’ll call you.

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4 Responses to “To Call, or Not to Call. That is the Question.”

  1. Colleen Coyne February 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Hi, Dave.

    I’d also add that you need to be cognizant of the “job” you are applying for. A hiring sales manager might be more tolerant of [and even appreciate to an extent] multiple follow-ups than, say, an engineering manager.

    • HR Dave February 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

      Great point! Different jobs and hiring managers will definitely have different tolerance levels for persistence. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Leslie Herring February 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Hi Dave!

    What if you have applied for an internship and do not receive a confirmation? Is this normal? And what is the appropriate way to follow up after you have sent a follow-up Email?

    • HR Dave February 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

      Leslie – It’s different in every situation. If you applied through an online application system, you generally should have received at least an auto-generated confirmation. If you didn’t apply through an online applicant tracking system and didn’t get a confirmation, you were quite on track to send a follow-up email. If you still haven’t heard anything back, however, I’d mentally prepare yourself to move on. You still might get a call depending on the employer’s timing, but don’t put all your eggs in this particular basket. Fingers crossed that you hear some good news!

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