Thursday, May 10, 2012

"You Hang Up!" ~ "No... YOU Hang Up!"

When seeking a new employment opportunity, it is often difficult to determine when you should pick up the phone and call someone or simply communicate through email.  For some people, it's also difficult to determine when to hang up the phone once you've gotten involved in a  conversation, but more on that later. 

Let's start with picking up the phone.  If you, as a candidate, have reviewed a job description that interests you... whether you received it through linkedin, or email or you noticed it on a job board you should NEVER engage in a lengthy back and forth over email.  ALWAYS include your resume with your initial email.  NEVER send a one question email without a resume such as:  "I am interested in your job posting, how much does it pay?" (or where is it located or how long is the engagement etc)
Once the recruiter has had time to carefully review your resume, they will either call you or email you back if they are interested in moving forward.  When you receive their communication; schedule a time to speak with them on the phone.  Make sure you write all your questions down so you are prepared to ask them when you get them on the phone.  Going back and forth via email is a waste of every one's time.  If a recruiter that you have not worked with before is willing to submit your resume to a position without speaking with you on the phone that should be a huge red flag.

Now... about hanging up the phone...we have all had conversations that feel like they may never end... by the time you're able to hang up the phone you are exhausted from the call and feel the need for a nap, or a stiff drink.  Those dragging, tedious phone conversations should not happen on business related calls, particularly in an interview type of situation.
You should never hesitate to ask all the questions you have to ask to determine if the position is going to be a proper fit, however you should avoid getting off on too many rabbit trails.   You should also avoid any negativity whenever possible.  Berating your old boss or a prior client location is never a good topic of conversation.  Once you have your questions answered and the recruiter has had their questions answers, and you are aware of the next steps (resume will be submitted or 2nd interview will be scheduled etc) you should end the call.  Sometimes it can be difficult to bring the call to a close when the person on the other end is barely taking a breath in-between sentences.  These situations are why I've always been a fan of the UP FRONT AGREEMENT or UFA..  The UFA goes down something like this:  "Ring... Ring... (candidate:) "Hello"... (recruiter:) "Hi Jane! I'm calling you for our scheduled 3pm conversation to discuss the XYZ position with you.  I have 30 minutes to talk to you today and I want to make sure I am able to answer all of your questions before we get off the phone, so lets get started."    Either party on the line can initiate the conversation with an UFA.  What the above example accomplishes is to provide the other person with the knowledge that you are interested in them and what they have to say, but that you only have a specific amount of time to take care of business.  [this also works well on personal calls... lets say Aunt Bonnie is calling, you see her # on caller ID... the woman just never shuts up, but you love her and feel bad when you don't answer her calls.  Just pick up the phone and say "HI AUNT BONNIE! I'm so glad you called, unfortunately I have to leave in 15 minutes for {whatever excuse will work here}.  I didn't want to miss your call, I'm sorry I dont have longer to talk this time....]

The flip side of a dragging phone conversation is hanging up too early, and admittedly this is normally done on the recruiter's part.  Frequently I have candidates thank me for taking the time to really talk with them and answer all their questions.  It appears to be a growing trend that recruiters call candidates, spew out information about a position they assume the candidate is a fit for and then ask if the candidate wants to be submitted, if not they hang up the phone.  I call this the "Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am" mentality.  Recruiters cannot possibly represent a candidate without having a good idea of personality, work history and skill set.  If you receive this type of treatment, find another recruiter.  There are just about as many recruiters in the industry as their are consultants/candidates now, no reason you can't find a few that will treat you with respect and integrity.

So... to sum it up:
1.  If you want answers about an opportunity, whenever possible pick up the phone, don't have a bunch of back and forth on email.
2.  If you are working with a new recruiter always send your resume in your initial email.
3.  When you do get on the phone, focus the conversation to business and try not to get off on too many rabbit trails.
4.  Use the UFA (Up Front Agreement) to set the tone and time limitation for the call.
5.  Expect respect and give it as well.

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