… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

You have the recruiter on the phone, now what?

Gir wants to know which App let’s him take over the world.

If you are looking for advice on how to get a job, now or in the future, be prepared to put your critical thinking cap on because there is a lot of advice out there and not all of it is good or helpful. Don’t blindly follow everything you read on the internet, my blog included, and don’t believe everything you hear “guru’s” or “experts” tell you either.

Sadly, some of the worst advice can actually start as something reasonable and effective. However, when not properly or fully communicated even the best advice ends up being a hindrance more than a help. Confused?

Take for example, calling the recruiter or hiring manager about their open position. The theory behind this advice is that by calling you can help set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants, demonstrate initiative, and create some name recognition. In theory, this advice should work. In practice, well, not so much.

Why? Frankly, most recruiters and hiring managers don’t like candidates calling them. Phone calls can be very distracting and your call is taking time away from everything else they need to do. And as a candidate, the last thing you want to be is an annoyance.

But let’s say that you call anyway and manage to get the recruiter or hiring manager on the phone. Now what do you do? The advice doesn’t talk about that does it? It gives you just enough information to get yourself in trouble. And this is inevitably when most candidates torpedo their own candidacy.

What happens:
1. Candidate calls, actually gets to speak to a real person and freezes. With no idea what to say they stammer out a few random questions before hanging up.
2. Candidate reaches the hiring manager but instead of having any questions, they start reciting their entire work history and background. And they won’t shut up.
3. Candidate calls to schedule their own interview, because of course you would want to meet with them as they are perfect for the job.
4. Candidate calls to complain about your application process but does not actually have a legitimate problem you can fix. For example, they don’t understand why they need to provide references now, or they hate computers and miss the personal touch, or they applied yesterday and want to know why they haven’t been called yet, and so on.
5. Candidate calls because they get a rejection email and want to complain and/or yell at you.

Yeah, you can see why none of those scenarios work out well for you when job hunting. All of them make you look rude, unprofessional, unprepared, and not anyone they would consider hiring.

So what should you do?
1. Don’t call. Seriously, you now know it annoys most recruiters and mangers, so why do it?
2. Call if you have a legitimate question that your own thorough research about the company or job cannot find the answer to. See the emphasis on legitimate; Don’t call about something trivial like the company address or if they have started interviewing yet.
3. Call if you have a special circumstance or information that is hard to express in a cover letter or application. I do NOT mean that you should disclose a disability, health problem, or any other protected bit of information. As long as you can do the job with or without reasonable accommodations, frankly, it is none of their business.

But here’s an example of what I do mean: I had a candidate call about his application because he lived in a different state and he wanted me to know that he was interested in moving. And by the way, he would be in the area the following week if we were interested in meeting with him. I sent that information on to the manager, the manager liked him and asked me to set up an interview. He was hired a couple weeks later.

Do you see how that worked? The candidate had information he wanted to make sure I was aware of, he was professional and polite when informing me, and the phone call got his foot in the door. Now, if he had been unqualified or wrong for the job he may not have gotten the interview, but since he handled the call so well, I would be more inclined to consider him for something else.

That is what it means to call and make a good impression.
That is what that advice is meant to convey but fails to.
And this is what you need to do if you plan on picking up that phone.

Now, the funny thing about a job search is that everyone’s experience will be a little different and thus each persons job search strategy should be a little different too. Just be careful of the advice out there, evaluate it carefully, and find what works for you. Best of luck!

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