Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Recruiter Tip #1: Don't Block Your Phone Number

(Part of a series I'm starting on how to be a better technical recruiter).

One of the things that's most annoying about dealing with technical recruiters is that they all (well, almost all) block their phone number when they call you. I'm not entirely sure the reason for this, except that maybe they think that if you know it's a recruiter you won't pick up. The problem is that at this point, the only people that ever call me who don't have Caller ID enabled are technical recruiters, so a Blocked number automatically triggers "this is a recruiter" in my mind.

If you want to stand out as a candidate-friendly recruiter, don't block your number. More importantly, have the caller ID you present be your direct line, not the main line for your company.

Here's why you want to enable caller ID:

  • If I'm actively looking for a job, I may field 5-10 calls from recruiters a day. Some of them I want to talk to, some of them I don't have time for (if I'm rushing to an interview, I want to take a call from the recruiter that put me up for that interview in case it's a change of plans; otherwise, I don't have time for you). Help me figure out whether I want/need to take your call when you make it.
  • When you call me, I can easily take your phone number and put it into my phone so that I can call you back easily. If I'm out and about, I don't have paper and pen handy, so just telling me your phone number is largely useless, since I can't take it down. I can call you back much more easily if you give me your number.
  • Many recruiters don't leave messages. I want to know who are being annoying and calling me 5 times a day without leaving a message so that I can put them in my bad list. Vice versa, if I get 5 blocked calls and one of them is you and you're thoughtful enough to leave a voice mail, you get kudos.
  • I have Visual VM on my iPhone. That doesn't help me replay your message when every single voice mail pending is from Blocked.
  • If I can't pick up the phone because I'm in a meeting or something, it makes it very easy for me to see it's you and email you back saying "hey, was this urgent or did you just want to check up on me?" Remember, in finance we have to plan on privacy in advance.
  • If I'm a hiring manager, I expect the vast majority of recruiters calling me are cold calling me trying to find out if they can recruit for me. I want to pick up the phone for the recruiters that I'm actively on a search with, while ignoring the ones I'm not. If you're working for me, I want to know that so that I can pick up the call while sending the others to voice mail. So if you have an agreement with my firm, you have no reason not to announce your presence before I pick up.
  • Rather than a main line, I want to be able to call you back directly. Particularly if I'm dealing with different recruiters from the same firm, one of whom I want to talk to and the other I don't.

If your IT staff tell you that they can't unblock your number or can't set it up so that your outbound number is your direct line, they're lying.

You have nothing to lose here if you're behaving ethically. So stand up with other ethical businesses and announce your caller ID.

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