Make The King-Maker Crown You Prince
How to successfully handle recruiter’s calls:
At the point of initial contact we don’t know what in our background attracted the recruiter’s attention. So a great first question to ask is:” “What in my resume caught your attention?”
You may need to be persistent here because the recruiter’s tendency is to be dismissive or vague. They have a brief agenda; to call dozens of candidates with one opportunity in mind, so you need t stand out form the competition.
You may need to deflect from weaknesses and redirect their attention to your strengths. Fro example, you might not have demonstrated broad industry experience because you have limited work history or recently focused on one industry, i.e., healthcare, insurance, or technology. The recruiter needs to see that you have learned common management, tactical and business strategies, that ensures you are a good fit for their search.
If you don’t have time to talk, get their name, number, firm name and good time to follow-up. You should ask: Is this call for a specific search or just to touch base? If it is for a specific call, what is the title, industry, client type, etc.? What is the time frame for filling the opening, how urgent is the search? If their call was just to touch base (i.e. they might want to keep you in mind for future searches), ask: type of professional work histories are you familiar working with?
(2) Communicate Interest.
Recruiters are very sensitive to voice, tonal inflections or hesitation. Recruiters are not interested in your ”window shopping” for a new opportunity. The objectives of the recruiters are to screen out those who don’t convey serious interest or flexibility to changing their jobs. They eliminate candidates who vacillate, sound un-confident, negative, or unsure of themselves.
You should always communicate interest, at least at the beginning. You should see this as an opportunity to work with the recruiter even if the initial offer does not sound all that appealing. Often, after the recruiter meets with you or you meet with their client, the opportunity, salary, position description can change and become more palatable or another opportunity may arise. But if the recruiter’s impression of you is someone they can’t work with, you not only lose the current opening, but you may jeopardize future consideration.
(3) Confidence must always show through your voice!
There is strong tendency for all of us to hedge our abilities with undue modesty or insecurity. It’s OK to admit to friends that you have limited MS Word experience, but to a recruiter you should say: “I feel comfortable that I possess the knowledge and ability to navigate successfully within the business arena using Word as a tool.” While you might not feel confident about your education, you cannot admit it. The recruiter needs to see that you can overcome objections. “My education has been a key focus for me, and I would like to complete my degree, unfortunately, I’ve concentrated on my career and did not have the luxury of time to take the courses. Do you think (xyz corp) supports their staff’s educational goals?” Remember the recruiter didn’t call you because you had not completed the degree, something about your resume intrigued him or her and they are just probing to see how you will respond to difficult issues.
(4) Prepare to take detailed information.
- Get their name, company, and phone number (write this down)!
- Where does the recruiter see you fitting in the career market. i.e. a good title, industry or market fit. “From my background, Robert, where do you see my work history fitting in the job market?”
- Are there any weaknesses they can point out regarding your background?
- When will they call you back? (get a specific day if possible, i.e. next Tuesday or Wednesday).
- Try to set up an interview within that first phone call – eliminate phone-tag.
- If they don’t see you as a fit, ask them for a referral to another recruiter.
(5) You need a one minute Power Blurb about yourself and the career highlights.
This should tie into the resume. It needs to be written, memorized and practiced. Do not wait for the phone to ring in order to practice. The first few calls tend to be the best fit. You could easily miss the boat because you were not prepared to build a favorable impression.