If you want the job, DON’T answer the phone!

Ringing Phone
This has to sound like the stupidest idea you have ever heard! How can you get the job if you don’t actually talk to someone? Even in today’s technological age when you can communicate via so many mediums such as emails, SMS, What’s App, LinkedIn, Facebook Messenger and any other applications, the only way to actually get the job is to talk to someone on the phone at some point and then meet them.

So why am I recommending that you ignore the call or push it to voicemail? Well here are my two reasons:

1. Get the upper hand – be prepared

As a recruiter, we love to catch people off guard because then we get to see (or in this case hear) the real you and how you behave. Your tone gives us a great insight to your attitude, personality, politeness and professionalism. So when we call and you have no idea who we are, where we are calling from or what role you applied for, you are already on the defensive and the power is with the recruiter! Mostly likely you have applied for a few jobs and so after a while they all sound the same which makes it hard to answer any of their phone questions! It would be funny if it weren’t so true.

This little phone call is the first stage of the interview process and needs to be treated with as much preparation as a face-to-face interview, even if the call only lasts 5 mins!

Not answering the call gives you time to gather all your relevant information regarding your application, find a quiet place to talk and then focused on answering their questions as well as you can. You can’t do any of that when you are taking calls on the fly especially in a noisy area. So instead of rushing to take the call, call them back.

2. Play a little it hard to get

When someone is a too easy to get hold of it gives the impression that you are sitting by the phone which translates into “I am desperate for a job”. But if you play a bit hard to get (don’t over play it) you can increase your “perceived value”. You could tell them that you were in a meeting etc (then the person calling you now thinks that you must be a valuable potential candidate or future employee because other people are meeting with you: simple logic of supply and demand). Alternatively, just say that you were unavailable to take the call – the most universally used excuse ever!

When you actually return the call, here are some of my useful tips:

  1. Find a quiet place to talk and more importantly listen;
  2. Have a copy of the advertisement ready – make sure that you have reread it and have notes;
  3. Have a copy of your application (resume and cover letter) and especially selection criteria if this was required;
  4. As you know the name of the person who called (as they left you a message) and where they work, try to do some background digging – try LinkedIn and Facebook. I wouldn’t recommend you using this information but at least who you are dealing with;
  5. Apologise for not being able to take the call;
  6. Have note paper and pen in case they mention anything useful or ask you for an interview and they provide details; &
  7. Anticipate the questions that they might ask.

What happens if they don’t leave a message or you do answer the call?

Israeli’s are a strange bunch – everyone has voicemail yet no Israeli will actually leave you a message. And if you leave them a message they will never actually listen to it! Apparently it stems from their inability to have patience but instead they will call you several times or try you on what ever numbers you have provided them.  With this being said:

  1. You need to get off the call ASAP no matter what! This is the most important thing you need to do!!!
  2. Apologise and explain that it isn’t a convenient time to chat especially as you were expecting an important call and ask that you call them back (at an agreed time);
  3. Take their name, company, phone number; &
  4. Then revert back to the above tips.

Ring Ring – what are you going to do???

For a one-off free review of your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile, please email me at:

About the Author
Graeme Gilovitz has over 15 years Recruitment Industry experience & is a Director of SummitResumes, a job application specialist. Previously he was a Director of Summit Talent (a boutique Australian based recruitment agency with an international reach & client base) & has also worked in-house with some of Australia's largest companies. With a background in advertising & marketing prior to recruitment, Graeme possesses a unique perspective on communication, the recruitment process & how to ensure that you get the most out of your job search and applications.