Should I Call the Recruiter?

Last Updated Aug 24, 2010 4:41 PM EDT

Dear Evil HR Lady,

There is a position open for "IS Help Desk Support I" which I applied to just over a week ago. I have a friend in that position for the same company, and he is the one who showed me the opening. He was also nice enough to get me the name and phone number of the HR representative that he talked to when he was going through the employment process. After 8 days, the status of my resume still states they are reviewing my resume. I decided today that I was going to call the HR representative and ask for an interview, I figure I do not have much to lose. I could not get through to her, from the sounds of the message on her phone, I think she might not be in the office today, although it simply stated she was away from her desk. I ended up leaving her a voice mail explaining my situation and asking her to call me back. What I wanted to know was, is leaving her a voice mail or even calling her in the first place a mistake? Also If those weren't mistakes, and I do not hear back from her, would it be appropriate for me to try again in a day or two?

There are two schools of thought on this one: the call and the don't call schools. I'm firmly in the don't call school of thought, but I don't think it was necessarily a mistake.

Here's why I don't believe in calling the recruiter: It's annoying.

That's it. The big secret. People like to chat on the phone with their friends. They don't like to get phone calls asking about the status of their application, especially when they have a website that you can check yourself and see that it is still being reviewed. You don't need to ask the recruiter for an interview. The recruiter knows you want an interview because you applied for a job.

However, I don't think it was necessarily a mistake to make the phone call. Why? Because some recruiters honestly still believe that making a phone call shows "initiative." And all recruiters get this type of phone call, so unless you were especially obnoxious, it goes in one ear and out the other.

Now, I realize the irony of this is that you're dying to make a phone call and the recruiters rarely seem to want to make phone calls. For many jobs, they do get many more applications than they can reasonably personally respond to. Now, if you've made it to the interview stage and the recruiter isn't getting back to you, first e-mail and then (after a reasonable 24 hours wait), follow up with a phone call.

But, stop stressing about the phone call. It's not big deal one way or the other. Just keep in mind that the best way to get the job is not to be the one who makes the phone calls, but the one with the great cover letter and easy to read resume with all the relevant qualifications noted.
Photo by Nicholas_T, Flickr cc 2.0

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