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Call me! Why recruiters want you to pick up the phone


Monday, 19th August 2019 at 8:17 am
Marilyn Jones
Experienced recruiter Marilyn Jones advises job seekers to call before they apply, and always read the selection criteria carefully.


Monday, 19th August 2019
at 8:17 am
Marilyn Jones


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Call me! Why recruiters want you to pick up the phone
Monday, 19th August 2019 at 8:17 am

Experienced recruiter Marilyn Jones advises job seekers to call before they apply, and always read the selection criteria carefully.

I have advertised a number of roles in the last few weeks and there have been very few phone calls. 

Why am I concerned?

All of the roles have phone calls and good communication skills as part of the role. 

Particularly for human resources and sales roles – no one called for nearly three weeks.

I have my phone number there for you. 

So, why do you not call? I’m really interested to know why.  

  1. Is it because you don’t think employers will reply? All the other recruiters and employers don’t so you have given up. 
  2. Perhaps you don’t like using the phone? Email is less intrusive and easier anyway.
  3. Are you only pressing send in case you look okay for the role and the “gods” will decide if it’s your lucky day (along with the other 100-plus people that are wasting their time and ours)?
  4. Do you just get the bots normally anyway? It can be okay but you would rather deal with a person so you don’t bother as it normally takes half an hour to get an answer anyway. 
  5. Are there other reasons?

Because here’s the thing – as a recruiter, I still like a call. We will reply, eventually. If we don’t then let us know and we will at least send you an email in response.

I know I speak to many candidates and they complain that employers don’t bother calling them back or they can never get onto the person they need to. But if the number is there I do encourage you to at least try. 

It can make a difference. I often interview on the spot and have filled roles from those that call,  so be prepared for the interview.

I got the first call for one of the jobs I advertised on Friday, after three weeks. That person will be going for an interview. Not only did I assess his communication skills as being excellent, he was quietly confident and capable in answering all my questions. Tick, tick, tick. 

I do wonder whether one of the reasons that people don’t call, is because they don’t actually read the position description and so miss out on seeing that there is a phone number.

Not reading the position description is a whole other blog on its own, however there are a few points I would like to highlight for you today: 

I suggest that you take a highlighter, whether on your computer or printed out, and highlight the key words and key selection criteria. 

Make sure that you address each of the selection criteria with your expertise throughout your CV and also in the cover letter (see my last blog To cover or not to cover for more on this). 

I have had three people apply to my roles in the last week who have addressed it to the wrong job and wrong person. One was a competitive agency. Strike one against those soft skills that we have talked about with regards to “attention to detail” or lack thereof.

Do you also know, it’s often the last criteria on a position description that is the most important differentiator?

Many roles have criteria that seem fairly generic and essential and then there will be one or two near the end that say something like: “Expertise in x is highly desirable.”

Many people I speak to take that as being not important. It says “desirable” and all the others are essential, so how much emphasis should I place on that criteria? I believe, a lot. 

If there are two candidates with equally good expertise on the selection criteria, but only one has the highly desirable element, hiring managers will go with the one with the highly desirable. 

So next time you’re applying to a role, read the position description carefully. Make sure you articulate in your cover letter your experience against each of the selection criteria, and maybe start with the last criteria at the beginning of the letter.

Also, pick up the phone and ask a few questions relevant to the role, and make sure your CV can demonstrate it well. 

If you do all this, I believe you will stand a better chance of reaching your goal of getting an interview and hopefully your next career move, as you have demonstrated your communication skills. 

About the author: Marilyn Jones is an executive recruiter experienced in resourcing staff for companies and assisting individuals with their careers. Working for both niche and multinational recruitment organisations, Jones has worked across multiple sectors in many industry and business sectors both in Australia and the UK.

Each month Marilyn Jones will be exploring topics that are relevant to your career journey. She will be providing advice for job seekers entering and moving within the social sector. If you’d like insights into a particular topic, please email olivia@probonoaustralia.com.au.

Please note the views expressed are the opinion of Marilyn Jones and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pro Bono Australia, its staff or contributors.


Marilyn Jones  |  @ProBonoNews

Marilyn Jones is an executive recruiter experienced in resourcing staff for companies and assisting individuals with their careers.


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