7 Tips to Impress Your Recruiter on the First Call

Your resume has captured a recruiter’s attention, and you’ve scheduled an intro call, either on the phone or over a conferencing tool, such as Google Hangouts or Skype. Before you can wow the hiring manager, you have to impress the recruiter.

The pressure is on, and heat is turned up high. Don’t let your nerves ruin the call that could set your career on fire in a positive way. Use these seven tips to make a great first impression on your recruiter.

1. Show You’ve Got the Basics Covered

The recruiter is interested in how your experience meets the basic duties of the job during this call. Will you meet the needs and expectations of the company? Will you be a good fit?

Just as you tailor a resume to the job description, you should also tailor your verbal statements to the advertised duties and requirements. Look over the job description with an analytical eye, and come up with a few strong and concise statements that illustrate each point, making a note of both job-related and transferable experiences. Play to your strongest skills reflected in the keywords mentioned. Print out a copy of the job description to have in front of you with notes about what you want to say.

2. Show You Actually Care About the Position

While a prospect may meet expectations of performing a job well, it’s bad when the level of interest you show during the intro call equals “meh.” The recruiter will notice.

Let your enthusiasm for what you do show. Communicate your strong and earnest interest in learning more about the position. No one wants to waste their time. You’ll be more likely to delight the recruiter and passed onto the next phase of the interview process.

3. Fit Into the Company’s Culture From the Start

To be a successful candidate and employee, you have to fit into the work culture. Every company has a distinctive personality and vibe. While you won’t be getting the grand in-person tour yet, it’s possible to get to know the company culture with a little Internet sleuthing.

Check out the company’s website and read over their mission statement. In their news section, read about the company’s biggest milestones and employee successes. Look up those names on LinkedIn and Twitter to get a feel for how you fit in with these personalities. How do the mission and goals of the company align with your professional personality and goals for development?

During the call, the recruiter will see you a true fit and eager to pass you onto the next phase.

4.  Realize the Recruiter Is on Your Side

The recruiter’s special skill is going out into the world and finding the perfect fit for the company that’s hired them to conduct the search. The recruiter is already on your side and wants to help you put your best foot forward.

Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter for advice. You can make a great first impression on your recruiter by asking some simple questions. Ask about the typical hiring process for this company, compared to others. What stood out about your profile or resume that caught the recruiter’s eye? Get to know the recruiter’s qualifications, and if they’ve contacted others at your current place of employment — this way you know an inexperienced recruiter isn’t list building instead of searching for talent for a real job. Still, for the right recruiter, it’s good to be on their shortlist.

It’s important to interview the recruiter, too, and ask brief questions at appropriate times. You’re the star here. When you land the job, they’re successful, too.

5. Only Share Timely and Relevant Information

During the call, the recruiter may ask you questions about the company you currently work for, but you should only respond to relevant questions. Ethical recruiters won’t pry into your personal life or try to go on a scavenger hunt for information that only benefits their position. For example, an ethical recruiter won’t leave you high and dry after asking about your salary level — they’ll ask about your salary requirements and set you up for real interviews if you make the shortlist.

Similarly, sharing timely and relevant information applies to your professional responses to an ethical recruiter, too — don’t overshare too early. Don’t ramble about your personal life or how you hate the company you work for, which are obvious professional faux pas that put off recruiters. Answer the recruiter’s questions accurately and concisely, and only hand over information as needed.

6. Sometimes There Are Tests

Some screening processes do require a brief test before or after the initial call, such as for typing speed, industry knowledge or personality analysis. Always be timely and thoughtful with your responses.

Some tests only take an hour of your time and eliminate an extraneous step in the interview process early on. This way, you move through the process more quickly, and no one feels like they’ve wasted their time.

7. Follow up With the Recruiter

Follow up as you would with any role you’d apply to yourself. After the call, send a thoughtful thank-you email that references a specific point from your conversation. Say you’ll email or call about the status of the interview process after one week passes.

Even if you don’t get the job, ask to stay in touch with the recruiter, who will likely keep your information on file should they run across a position they see as a great fit for you.

Remember, the recruiter is automatically on your side during the first call — so let your enthusiasm shine over your nerves. Get to know the company culture online and show you care about the position. Always concisely share relevant details — playing to your strengths — and turn in any tests in a timely fashion.

Once you’ve rocked the interview, send a thank-you email citing a memorable fact from your conversation with the recruiter and state a time you’ll follow up again. Want a tip to impress a recruiter? Stick to your word and burn brilliantly like the rock star you are.

Ever been on a call with a recruiter? Share your tips for success or avoiding a bad call in the comments, and subscribe to Punched Clocks for more tips on acing the interview process.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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