OS Journal / Blog

I have the perfect work experience – but, why do recruiters never call me back?

Surprise, surprise – this does not just happen to job-seekers who are lowly qualified. In fact, even graduates with years of experience are likely not optimizing their chances at being called by a recruiter. It has a lot to do with how a recruitment firm works, and in this post, we’d like to share it so you have a better understanding of how to up your job hunting game!

Accompanying slides found here, will provide an easier, pictorial read but here are some key points:

  • The recruiter only spends 30 seconds on each CV – formatting counts!:
    • With hundreds of CVs to go through daily, a recruiter will only scan your CV for 30 seconds before deciding to give you a call – especially so if the role is generalist (admin, marketing etc) with lots of applicants.
    • If you don’t format an important document like your CV well – can you be trusted to perform at work?
  • Ensuring your CV is a good match:
    • Match your CV to the job description and job titles:
      • Remember that your CV is only scanned for 30 seconds. Make sure that the job description is well matched (word for word if possible) to your CV’s work experience, and that you are not overlooked due to job title differences.
      • For example, if you are a Finance Executive and you are applying for an Accounts Executive position, include in your job title Finance Executive (Accounts – if Full Ledger / Payables / Receivables) as well. It might seem unnecessary, but you want to ensure that the recruiter immediately feels you are a potential fit.
    • Include all necessary information
      • Current / Expected salary
      • Notice period
      • Employment flexibility (open to temp / contract / part time)
      • Citizenship
      • Reason for leaving previous jobs
    • Explain your choppy work history (if applicable)
      • Have you only stayed less than 2 years in your roles? If so, employers may be concerned about your choppy work history. However, sometimes there are good reasons and you just need to present them well.
        • “I didn’t like my boss” vs. “I would like a job where the management style is a better fit – I would be happy to explain more at an interview”
        • “Childcare reasons” vs. “I left work to care for my son. I have found a caregiver and can now commit to full-time work”
      • You see what I mean? Giving more context to the reason makes it more palatable. More examples are in our slides.
    • Telephone skills
      • Too many times we’ve called candidates only for them to whisper a hurried “yah?” or “who are you?” or “um.. I-cannot-talk-now-sorry-call-me-later!”.
      • So..why did the recruiter not call back?
        1. The first impression isn’t that of a confident, pleasant person
        2. The recruiter may have forgotten to call you at the end of the day
      • So if you are job hunting and a recruiter calls at an inconvenient time, say “Hi! Sorry I can’t speak now, but can I call you back at this number in the evening?”
    • Follow ups
      • You sent the CV 5 days ago. No news. But the role is still advertised. Why?
      • The recruiter might have 70 applications to sieve through. He’s looking for someone who can speak well, but he can’t tell from the CVs received so he’s doing it chronologically, or just randomly looking.
      • If you give a follow-up call, he’ll hear your enthusiasm and possibly give your CV a quick look while you’re on the phone if you made a positive impression.
      • So, follow up with a phone call or email if you have the recruiter’s email.
    • On the job etiquette
      • Why are some candidates always only put on contract and never extended or converted? Hiring managers have told us that 3 things can make the difference:
        • Punctuality: Are you always 5-10 minutes late for work?
        • Initiative: Do you regularly ask for feedback on how you’re doing, and how you can improve?
        • Leave taking etiquette: Do you give advance notice on leave, and alert team members on important to-dos when you are away? Do you volunteer to come in early / stay late after when you take urgent leave?
        • Try it! It’s all about the attitude.

        Follow these tips and you’ll get more calls from recruiters! Remember luck is where preparation meets opportunity. All the best in your job hunt!