Tips for talking to recruiters on the telephoneI’m an IT recruiter. When I come across a resume that’s a good fit for a job I’m recruiting for, the first thing I do is pick up the phone and give the person a call.

This is the pre-screening call. If it goes well, I may invite them in for a face-to-face interview. If it goes badly it may be the last time they ever hear from us.

The purpose of our first conversation with a candidate is to make sure that they have social skills to back up the impressive list of qualifications on their resume.

We’re looking for more than technical skills and experience. We’re looking for people skills (aka soft skills):

  • Social skills to work well with others
  • The ability and patience to discuss technical topics in a way that non-technical people can understand.

Red flags are things the candidate says or does that make us wonder if they will be difficult to work with.

Big red flags are anything that indicates a lack of consideration for others, or dishonesty.

Mistakes Some Candidates Make When Talking to Recruiters

Although these may not seem like big issues, these are all red flags that will make us move on to the next candidate.

1. Talking money right off the bat

Telephone job interviews are an important first step in getting the job.

Video: Tips for Successful Telephone Job Interviews

If you bring up money too soon it may appear that money is your only motive for a position.

A recruiter needs assess your qualifications before discussing salary. Many positions come with a salary range that depends on experience. Your communication skills and people skills can increase your value.

2. Talking to recruiters in an inconvenient location

If a recruiter calls you and it is not a convenient time for you to talk, let them know and reschedule the call for a better time. This is better than to trying to have the conversation in a chaotic environment.

3. Saying that the answer to one of our questions is on their resume

It’s amazing how often people answer a question about their experience by telling us to look at their resume. This makes the candidate seem uncooperative. It also makes us wonder if the person is capable of talking about the the technical aspects of their work. Maybe they’re deflecting the question because it’s hard for them to explain what they were working on.

4. Seeming desperate

We want you to be excited about the job. But, you’ll scare off a recruiter by appearing desperate.

How do you avoid coming across as desperate? Don’t talk about why you need the job. Talk about why you are the right person for the job.

5. Making plans to talk with a recruiter outside of office hours then not following through

If you are in contact with a recruiter and you decide upon a set time outside of office hours to discuss an opportunity, make sure you follow through with the discussion. If you need to reschedule, or if you are no longer interested in the opportunity, make sure to let the recruiter know.

What did I miss?

Do you have any other suggestions or helpful hints to help job candidates be more successful when talking to recruiters? Feel free to post them in the comment section below!

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