How To Handle The Situation The First Time A Recruiter Gets In Touch

The first time you’re called up by headhunter can be a bit bewildering. Even if being recruited is something you have hoped for, even dreamed about, when it actually happens it’s never the way you thought it would be, or at the most convenienttime. It never happens when you are brooding in your office after a disagreement with your boss or coworker. Recruiters don’t call while you are on lunch break, alone with your thoughts and dreams of adventure, a change of scenery or even more money. No—you’ll normally get the call when you’re surrounded by people, extremely busy, or after a successful project when goodwill and good feelings abound.

So how do you handle a phone call that could potentially change your life if it comes out of the blue and interrupts your day? Here are four ways of handling a recruitment call if it catches you unawares or you’ve never received one before.


 Most recruiters will ask up front if you are available to talk. It’s perfectly okay to let them know that you aren’t, by simply saying “right now isn’t a good time for me; could we set up another time to talk?” Don’t be fooled. If they contacted you, they want to talk with you. This is not a “one chance, so take it or leave it” conversation. This is a recruitment call. They are soliciting you, a “passive candidate,” and they will earn as much as 35 percent of your salary if you are hired. So they won’t mind waiting.

If we can think clearly, asking the question, “Did someone give you my name?” can give you a lot of insight into the job and the recruiter. Most people want to know that they’ve been chosen for a specific reason and not just randomly. If headhuntersare doing their jobs, they’ll have spent time tracking down someone like you. With this simple question, you might find out about people who have turned the job down and why, what skills they’re looking for, the type of company, and the type of employees that fit their culture.

To make a sound and informed decision, it’s best to have more than one form of communication so nothing can get lost in translation. The headhunter wants you to be satisfied with a potential job so their referral rate improves, but they are also carrying a sixty position workload, so the less they have to explain the better. Ask for an email and something in writing.

If your current job is perfect for you—you’ve always wanted to work in your field in Montreal, for example—remember to try to pass on the goodwill to someone who might actually be interested in the job.Dreamscan change, and so do work environments, so it’s best to keep communication lines and options open. You never know when you might need to tap into a new network, in Montreal or beyond. That being said, remember to explore recruitment scenarios by heading to and keep your options as open as possible.

So when the phone rings, and it’s an opportunity on the other line, answer well. It may change the shape of your entire career.