What to do when a recruiter calls you

jobseekerseries 14


At this stage of your job search you have sourced the suitable jobs to apply for, tailored your CV and cover letter appropriately for each and submitted your applications. Now you play the waiting game for the screening call. The screening call will often be the determining factor on whether you are called for an interview, by this time the recruiter has decided your experience meets the essential criteria and your cover letter has suitably impressed them. Below are some guidelines on how to set yourself up with the best chance of being called for an interview:

  • Answer your phone professionally and articulately, especially if you do not recognise the number where the call is coming from. This can be as simple as “Hello, Mary speaking”. If you have recently submitted an application for a job then there is a chance you will be receiving a call from a recruiter or hiring manager so always be prepared to answer in this way. 
  • Ensure you have a professional voicemail. It takes only a few minutes to set up and then you don’t need to worry about missing an important call from a recruiter. It’s understandable that you may have something else going on at the time of the call and all recruiters will happily leave a message requesting for you to call them back. If for whatever reason you are not always able to listen to your voice messages leave an instruction in the message for the caller to text or email you instead. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the roles you have applied for. It’s perfectly fine to apply for a number of jobs at one time but try to maintain a good knowledge of what these roles/organisations are. It’s likely that one of the first questions you will be asked is “why did you apply for this role?” and it’s not a good look to admit you’re unsure of what the role or that you can’t remember applying for it. 
  • Be prepared for answering general questions like:
    • Tell me about yourself and what your current work situation is?
    • Why did you apply for this role?
    • What are you looking for in your next role?
    • What is your salary/hourly rate expectation?

  • Show enthusiasm with your answers. Avoid giving short blunt answers, for example indicating that you applied for the role “because it’s close to your house”. You need to come across like you are excited about this career opportunity in order to secure yourself an interview.