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Why it’s so important to talk to recruiters face to face; and how to go about setting up a meeting

Job hunting

You send your CV to a recruiter, you wait, you don’t hear back, or you only get a brief phone call or email. But what you really want is the chance to talk in detail about your career with a real-life person, perhaps over a nice coffee. Here’s our guide to making your candidacy stand out enough for a recruiter to want to actually meet you in the flesh.

Meetings matter

Recruiters review many CVs and they are more likely to remember faces than names on paper, says Michelle Lee, vice president, Talent2. “A meeting allows for a more in-depth discussion and for gathering more accurate information, which candidates may not be able to write in their CVs. It also provides the opportunity to express a positive attitude and enthusiasm more effectively through body language, facial expression and tone of voice.”

Most recruiters keep abreast with market development and they provide a good source of information for candidates. Moreover, face-to-face interaction means you get real-time responses from recruiters. “New ideas can be explored during the discussions and you have a greater chance of moving ahead successfully. Candidates can read non-verbal cues to determine whether there is real commitment that the recruiter will assist in the job search,” says Lee.

Convincing a consultant to see you: here’s what to do

Make your CV error free

Don’t forget to spell check your resume before sending it to a recruiter, advises Chris Mead, regional director South East Asia, Hays. “It is the first impression your recruiter will have of you, so take the time to get it right. If possible, get someone to check for any spelling, layout or typing errors. Despite this being stated time and time again it is too regularly ignored and will affect your chances of receiving a call back. If you don’t pay attention to details, it’s too easy for your recruiter to assume that this reflects your overall work ability.”

Be a tease

With recruiters getting inundated with CVs, a “teaser” email or phone call indicating your interest in the role adds a human touch, says Paul Lee, consultant, financial services and legal divisions, Robert Walters Singapore. “If you have the relevant experience and skill sets for the position, getting in contact before even sending your CV could potentially pique their interest.”

“An example of a teaser email would be an indication of the role at hand and your years of experience and what you can offer – but only a sneak preview. The same goes for a phone call. If the recruiter is interested, you can follow up by sending the actual CV,” he adds.

Be patient

Most recruiters work on multiple positions at any one time. They have back-to-back meetings with clients to take job briefs and interviews with candidates for on-going assignments. “Recruiters do not ignore candidates; candidates are important to them. Please be patient with recruiters about getting back with the time and date to meet you. Don’t call too often, but enough for the recruiter to keep you in view,” says Michelle Lee.

Be polite

There is no need to leave 12 messages about arranging a meeting. “A brief voicemail with your name, the position you applied for and a simple statement that you would love to talk to them further about the role is all that’s required. You will be surprised how far being polite to your recruiter will go. Recruiters will often get overwhelmed with calls and resumes, but they will respond to a relevant and considerate message,” says Mead.

Comments (2)

  1. Very useful. Thanks a lot.

  2. I tend to find recruiters in Hong Kong very inefficient and lacking in etiquette.

    Perhaps my CV and qualifications are worthless? but ever since I relocated from London to HK a few months ago, I’ve had more recruiters calling me from London asking me to attend potential interviews than I’ve had with HK recruiters. More surprising is that I have not contacted any UK recruiters and I have been contacting as many HK as I possibly can.

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