By Justine Eden, Director – Eden Ritchie Recruitment
I’ve got a secret rule when I employ for a role at ERR. I will only consider those applicants who pick up the phone to talk with me about a role. This is for a few reasons – I’m of the opinion that it shows a level of interest in understanding whether an opportunity is for them. It shows an ability to engage over the phone and build rapport and it ensures a better understanding of the opportunity, rather than just reading an ad and hitting apply.
In recruitment the phone is a key work tool and if you aren’t able to effectively communicate over it then you have limited chances for success in the industry. Also, I really don’t want consultants who rely totally on email as their main form of communication. Call me old fashioned.
In these days of electronic job boards it takes minimal effort to lodge a job application, so how do you make yours stand out in a saturated candidate pool? Calling is an ice break, as humans in a digital world we still seek that human connection at a fundamental level – even at work.
So what should you ask when you call? Let me start by telling you what not to ask – Is there someone acting in the role? (more likely to be asked for a role in government but regardless don’t ask this), how much does the role pay? (leave this to second interview stage). Don’t use the call as an opportunity to talk totally about yourself. Use the call as an opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest in them and the role.
Your questions will be situational and will reflect the role, organisation, location and sector. Your questioning will be different if you are looking at a commercial sector role as opposed to a government role. Do your research before you call. Critically dissect the ad and or the PD and use that as a basis for any questions. The size and make up of a team or the scale and scope of operations could form the basis of your questions.
Any media releases or publications are also key research avenues and can inform questions around how the organisation is responding to current challenges. Where the organisation wants to be in 12-24 months could also form the basis of your questions. Whether they are in expansion mode or consolidation mode. You could also what they envisage the successful applicant will look like – experience, qualifications, industry experience, the scale and scope they have worked at.
This sounds like a lot of questions, and I would suggest you pick your top 6, keep the call short – 5-8 minutes and don’t impose too much on their time. Have a strong close, thank them for their time and let them know you look forward to the opportunity of meeting in person in the future. Good luck!!