The Call


There's a great deal of information out there about how to do well in an interview. If you're in the market for a job, you should read some.

But what about “the call?”

Virtually every sourcer there is – a truly noble and challenging profession – and almost all recruiters begin every engagement with one simple act: a phone call.

If you don't often get past the phone screen to a full interview let's go back to the basics.


  • Your phone number has to be everywhere. Everywhere. Don't make it hard for me to call you. It should be on the top of your resume, in the header on every page of your resume, embedded in your signature, and on LinkedIn. Help me help you. Get your number out there.
  • Make sure your number is good. I've called disconnected numbers, wrong numbers (always my fave), numbers who had too much VM for me to leave a message and ones that never pick up. Oh, faxes too. I don't know why we still have faxes but some of you have me calling yours. Ouch.

The Call

  • Rule No 1: if you don't take my call we'll never speak. Some recruiters leave a number, some just leave a message and call back. Me? I'm the second group: I'll call you when I can. But hey, sooner or later (sooner actually) you gotta answer the phone. Answer the phone dammit, or we'll never talk.
  • Rule No 2: don't answer the phone if you're not ready. Unknown number pop up? Its either a bill collector or me: you decide, but don't pick up if you can't talk. You can't talk if you're driving in traffic and don't have hands free, you're in a meeting, you're asleep, you're drunk, etc. Pick your moments: this call means more to you than me. Just sayin'.
  • Rule No 3: This is a brief call: be quick. Know your top skills, know what makes you different, know what you're preferred role is. We won't talk long. I am trying to see if we should have an indepth conversation. If you don't have the skills, can't articulate them, won't track with me or otherwise appear or sound disengaged I won't be bothering you again.


  • Our talk lasts about ten minutes. Do you send a follow-up? No. Now, if you are one of those uber-nice people and you think you should let me be clear with you: at the screeing stage I am separating wheat from chaff: we have no relationship. In less than ten minutes I've decided whether or not we're going on. Is that fair? Yes. Should you send me a thank you? No. The decisions already been made.
  • If I arrange for a second call, now you send the follow-up. At this point you are in the mix, and it will certainly help me see you take things seriously if you drop me a note saying you're looking forward to it, etc. It would also help tremendously if you make note of the things I ask in the screening call: these will come up again. Pay attention.

Before you ever get to an interview, you've got to get past the call. Take these seriously, be prepared and be ready, and you can increase your conversion rate from screening to interview.

Keep doing what you've been doing and soon only telemarketers and bill collectors will be reaching out to you.

Gotta run: there's the phone!



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