A Recruiter Called Me. What Should I Do?
If a recruiter calls you, it's likely a positive reflection on your abilities as a professional. Maybe you have a special skill or background, or maybe you've been targeted for your unique experience. Whatever the case, listen carefully, because the door to this opportunity might only open briefly.
But why do recruiters call me at work?
Unfortunately, the workplace is often the recruiter's only option for reaching you to conduct an introductory call. If you aren't in a position to talk, give the recruiter a time (drive home from work or evening hours) and number (cell phone or home phone) when you will be available, and be available when you say that you will. Recruiters do not want to jeopardize your current job, and will be very flexible, if you are interested in talking.
But I'm not really interested in changing jobs at this time.
If you aren't interested in other opportunities or can't move, simply be honest with the recruiter. He will probably ask for a referral to a candidate with similar qualifications. It's a nice gesture if you can provide that, and a recruiter will remember you if he comes across a position you simply can't refuse.
If I'm not in the market for a different job, why should I even talk to a recruiter?
Even if you have the world's most perfect job today, positions, companies and management change, and it might not be as good six months or a year down the line, if not sooner. The recruiter who called you today might be your best professional ally, if things start to sour in your current position. Recruiters often work in specific industries, and if he works in your industry, he'll probably be aware of good jobs that you might want, and he might be your best bet for career advancement.
How do I know that the recruiter is legitimate and not just my company testing my loyalty?
Though I'm sure that it happens, I've never seen nor heard of a company going through such drastic measures to test an employee's loyalty. That said, if you are still nervous, a legitimate recruiter should be able to provide a company Web site or e-mail address for you to check for verification or at least a number for you to reach him at work.
What if I change my mind after agreeing to a callback?
Go ahead and take the recruiter's call, and simply explain that you had a change of heart. Again, a recruiter doesn't want a candidate who isn't truly dedicated to evaluating an opportunity. Lukewarm candidates usually just waste a recruiter's time. If that describes you, do a favor for all involved and just be honest.
Can't I just ignore the recruiter's call?
Again, the best approach is the professional approach. Keep your commitment and be honest. The recruiter doesn't want an uncommitted candidate, and very well might reward your honesty with help down the road somewhere.
If I am interested, what is the next step?
The process sometimes varies slightly with each job order, but generally, after the introduction call, you and the recruiter should have a good idea that you are qualified for the job and interested in pursuing it. Of course, that can change in the subsequent steps of the process. The next call will be much more thorough. The recruiter will probe deeper to make sure that your qualifications make you a good candidate for the position. Be honest, because you don't want to pursue a job that doesn't fit your qualifications or professional goals. The recruiter will also likely tell you more about the company and position, before setting you up for a phone conversation with the hiring authority.
Is this going to cost me anything?
Nothing but a little time. Any reputable recruiter will not charge you for his services; his client is footing the bill, hoping that he finds a quality candidate like you.