The phone is a bad first impression

Back to An Open Letter to Recruiters

When you are out of work, a call from a recruiter is very welcome. When you are employed, however, it is rarely a pleasant experience. You may think that people with jobs are called less than people without jobs, but it is quite the opposite. Recruiters place more value on a candidate gainfully employed, that one who – for whatever reason – lost their job.

The reason for this unpleasantness is as follows:

  • The time they typically call is during business hours, from a number I don’t recognize. If it is from a local area code, I will tend to pickup in case it is an emergency and someone is trying to reach me (I rarely if ever get social calls).
  • When I realize it is a recruiter calling me, my first priority is to get off the phone as politely as possible so that I can get back to work. Unfortunately, recruiters make this difficult to do, as they are trying to schedule a “better time” to call you. More than once I have had to hang up on a recruiter because they simply would not let me end the phone call politely.
  • They speak very quickly, and often sound exhausted or exasperated, which gives me the impression I am but one of hundreds of potential candidates that have been called for the position.
  • Recruiters typically don’t know me, as I am only a record in their internal database. They attempt to make their phone call sound authentic by following a script, which sounds stilted and phony.
  • When I say that I am not looking for a job, without skipping a beat they immediately ask for a recommendation for someone else they can call. This tells me they were never interested in me particularly, and are looking for anyone at all to fill the position.
  • When all else fails they ask me questions to update their internal database, such as “Are you still a full time employee at (company I no longer work for)?” They tend to sound perturbed when you politely decline to share personal information.

The take away is to never reach out to me over the phone, unless you know I am out of work – which you probably know because we already have been in contact. If you are cold-calling, the likelihood of making a good impression is next to none. Far better to focus on sending me a carefully crafted email or LinkedIn message.