What to Do When a Recruiter Calls
If you’re a professional, you can expect to get an occasional phone call or an email from a recruiter.
If you’re a startup executive, it might even be from me.
That call or email might change your life. Or it could be a total bust. You’ll never know, though, unless you answer it.
Here are some things to do when the recruiter calls or emails.
Talk to them.
Even if every previous recruiter was a waste of time, this could be your big break. If the phone rings out of the blue, it’s perfectly fine to ask to return the call at a time that works for you. If you get an email, respond as soon as possible. Never just blow it off, though.
Treat it as a networking call.
Even if you’re not open to a new job, it’s worth talking because you might make a new contact who will be there to help when you are. Or they might be someone to call the next time you have a job to fill. Recruiters can be good people to know, you know.
Check them out online.
Sometimes you are contacted by a research person who is sourcing candidates, and sometimes you may be talking to a high-level headhunter. They might be an employee of the hiring company, or a third-party recruiter retained to fill that position. Check their company’s profile and find their profile on LinkedIn so you know who you’re talking to.
Have your resume or LinkedIn profile handy.
It’s easier to talk about your experience when you have your resume or LinkedIn profile right in front of you. That’s probably what the recruiter is looking at and what got them to contact you in the first place. Keep one where you can get to it quickly to refresh your memory.
Be gracious and professional.
Treat a recruiter with the same respect you would a hiring manager. Rudeness is never appropriate. Again, think of it as a networking opportunity with someone who might be a great long-term career connection.
Be warm and energetic.
You are making a first impression, and no matter how tired or busy you are, you have to sound interested and interesting on the phone. Stand up and smile during the conversation. A little small talk first will make the rest easier.
Ask the recruiter to tell you what they’re looking for.
A good recruiter will know what the job requires. Take notes of everything they say, so you’ll be able to do some research later or refresh your memory in a later interview. Listen between the lines, and make notes of questions you might have. Ask if they can send you a description or link to a posting.
Balance honesty with discretion.
Don’t give away any confidential, proprietary or personal information to a recruiter you don’t yet know. If you’re not interested in changing jobs, say so. Don’t be coy and don’t lie about your expertise.
Recommend someone else if it’s not for you.
If you’re not interested, and think the job sounds interesting, I bet you know someone else who could be right. Recruiters love and appreciate your suggestions. You can stay anonymous if you want, but it’s never a bad thing to be someone who connects people together for good things.
Follow up right away.
After your phone call, reinforce the good impression from your call with a follow-up email. Include a copy of your resume if you’re actively looking, or send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
Don’t miss a perfectly good networking opportunity. Be open and share ideas. Make a new contact. Who knows… the next job that recruiter gets might be exactly what you’ve been waiting for.