Career Column: Follow-up Calls to Recruiters

Jun 7, 2002

CIO Update Staff

Executive career advice from Dave Opton, founder of ExecuNet.

Dear Dave:

After I respond to a job listed by a recruiter, I'd like to follow-up with a call to determine receipt of my resume, discuss my candidacy, and market myself for the position. However, many times the ad will not include a phone number, and if it does, my calls usually aren't returned. This is pretty frustrating. HELP!


Brenda W.

Dear Brenda,

Countless candidates share your frustration and unfortunately there is no simple solution.

Having worked with recruiters on a daily basis at ExecuNet for the last 15 years, and frequently in the 15 years prior to that, I've lost count of how many have said they make their living "making" calls -- not "taking" calls. So when a search firm (or a company for that matter) posts a job that specifies no calls or doesn't list a phone number -- it means they don't want to receive calls.

On the other hand, that doesn't mean that candidates won't find a way to get in touch, and in some cases, attain interviews and offers as a result of their persistence. But results are varied and there are no guarantees on whether a follow up call will help or hurt your candidacy.

More executive career advice
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Six Ways CIOs Can Polish Their Image: Enhance IT's reputation, and enhance your career, by putting a positive spin on your efforts.

Tapping Into the 'Hidden Job Market': When looking for a new job, connect with executive recruiters who may know about 'hidden' job opportunities.

Small Company vs. Fortune 500 Job Search : The fast pace, quicker decision channels, closer relationship to CEO are all reasons to consider a small company for your next job.

Prepare Now For Your Next Career Move: Five tips to follow that will prepare you for finding a new job.

Resume Writing for the Executive : Boiling down an executive career into a resume is hard work. Here are some tips to make it easier.

Unless your qualifications have piqued the interest of the recruiter, the likelihood of their remembering who you are when you call is very low, and about the best you could expect from the conversation is a request to submit your resume again.

The reality of the relationship is -- when recruiters are interested, you will hear from them very quickly. When there isn't an interest or fit with the position, you will rarely hear anything at all.

In an effort to help ExecuNet members improve their relationships with recruiters, here are a few tips we suggest:

  • Seize any opportunity to develop a relationship with a recruiter long before you're involved in a job search. Networking into the search community takes time and last-minute campaigns are often ineffective.
  • Develop reciprocal relationships by helping recruiters source candidates or sending them business.
  • Don't anticipate a response to every solicitation. Unfortunately, most search firms don't have the time to acknowledge every inquiry.
  • Be prepared to communicate what you envision to be your next career move and make sure you have a well-written resume that highlights your experience and skill set ready for immediate follow up.
  • Hope this is helpful to you.


    Dave Opton is CEO and Founder of ExecuNet, an online career services center for executives. For more information on executive career management visit Questions can be sent to Dave at, he can't answer each individually but look for yours in an upcoming column.


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