Here at White Now! we receive LOTS of calls from candidates about roles that we have advertised and it got me to thinking…
“…Which calls do I remember?”.
The answer was simple. Not too many! I’d be the first to admit that my memory isn’t what it used to be, but I’m not quite ready to be shipped off to “a home” quite yet, so it got me to thinking about why I only remember a very select few calls and what is is about those calls that stick out.
Here’s a list of things in no particular order that come to mind about the calls that are worth remembering and those that fade in to the background.
1. The call has purpose and is not just being made for the sake of being made.
– “Hi, I just called to make sure that you received my application” needs to lead somewhere other than “oh and what’s the salary?”. We all recognise that as much as the message that the world would like us all to hear is “it’s not about the money”, Jerry Maguire had it right when he said, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!”, only that’s probably not quite the message that you want an employer or recruiter to walk away with. So, rather than making a call to check whether cyberspace has decided to randomly pick your electronic application to be THE one that doesn’t make it through, PLAN your conversation prior to making it and have a number of points that you want to discuss that happens to include (at the right moment), a question about the remuneration.
– Asking the “$$$ question” is always a difficult one, but it’s one that you need to get used to asking. Try to tie it in to your planned conversation and be prepared for the question to get turned back on to you – “I’m going to turn that question back on to you, what do you feel the role is worth in your opinion and I’ll let you know if you’re in the right ball park”. Be ready for this as it’s a great way for the person at the other end of the phone to establish if you have any idea at all about the size and importance of the role and where it fits in to the hierarchy of the organisation, not to mention if you are appropriate. This sounds a bit harsh, but if you’re looking for a job that pays $200,000+ and you’re applying for a middle management role that is paying in the $65-70,000 range, there is a MASSIVE mismatch before we even get to the point of interviewing…
2. Do some research PRIOR to making a call and map out what it is that you want to tell the person on the other end. Ideally they are going to want to know:
– Your name (state it clearly and if you’ve got an unusual/confusing name, maybe even spell it for them)
– The state of your application: “I have just applied” / “I applied yesterday/last week” / “I’m about to apply”
– Which role you’re applying for and ideally include a reference number if there is one
– A VERY BRIEF overview of your relevant experience & why you’ve applied for the role. This is actually a LOT tougher than it sounds, because standing out from the crowd is tough when all you’re doing is reciting your job roles. Try to make it interesting and more of a conversation than a presentation! And try to include words and phrases that aren’t cliched, but that show how articulate and capable you are.
– Use intonation as there is nothing worse than a monotone voice at the other end of a phone conversation. And speak from the heart as passion and drive will shine through over facts and figures during a verbal meeting.
3. PLAN two or three main points that you want to get across that you want the employer/recruiter to take away with them and if you can subtly recap them towards the end of your conversation, then do so. But try not to make it sound like it’s ‘revision’.
4. Ask well thought out questions that show that you have done some research and that you have thought about what you really want to know. Good questions will tell the employer / recruiter a lot about you – so put your best foot forward by phrasing questions that show that you’ve done some research.
– Some adverts contain a LOT of information and others don’t! So remember, we live in the age of high-speed internet and ‘Google is your best friend’. Type in some queries and see what you can find – there might be financials, YouTube videos, news articles, media releases and goodness knows what else out there. So let your fingers do the typing and start doing some research EARLY as it will all come in useful if and when you get through to the next stage.
5. Know when to STOP! Sometime less, is more! We’ve all heard it said, but often when we’re nervous or don’t have a plan in our heads, we end up prattling on and on and on, only to discover that we’ve lost our way and the whole point of the conversation. Make your point, move on to the next or shut up! It really is as simple as that.
6. Finishing up: make sure you thank the person for their time and try to finish up with something along the lines of, “Thank you for sharing your thoughts and providing me with all of that information. This sounds like a great role and one that I am ideally suited for, so you will see an application from me, <Your Name>, in your inbox by close of business today”.
7. When you send your application through, don’t forget to address the cover letter to whomever it is that you have been told to address it to in the advert (and if you haven’t been given a contact, jump on to the company’s website and find out the name of the President/HR Manager/General Manager/most appropriate person and address it to them) and then address the email to whomever it is that you spoke to. What I mean by this is that if you addressed your cover letter to John Doe, General Manager of ABC Leagues Club, but you spoke to Sarah Sitizen (intentional type) at the Recruitment Company, then address the EMAIL to her and thank her for her time on the phone earlier today / yesterday / last week and mention that ‘as per your conversation, you are forwarding your application’.
To wrap things up, there’s a time and a place to make a phone call and when done correctly, it can make your application stick out before it has even arrived – you then just need to back up how well you presented over the phone with a solid written application, one that is FULL of achievements and is NOT a long list of tasks…..but I’m now getting on to the subject of another blog, so I’ll leave you with this: if you’re going to make a phone call about a job, plan it and make it work for you!