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Why Smartphones Are Causing Recruiters Huge Problems

We all live on our mobile phones - in fact for many of us it is our primary communication device. This makes it a brilliant way for recruiters trying to reach candidates, because we know that they are likely to have their precious iPhone or Android device close to hand. BUT here lies the problem - they are called smartphones for a reason - they show you who is calling you.

What do you do when you receive a call on your mobile from a number you don’t recognise or from an unknown number? Do you ‘go green’ and take the calls or do you ‘go red’ and decline it and/or dump it to voicemail? I know what I do! If I am not sure who it is, I dump the call and do a quick search on the number on Google to verify the number. And obviously if there is a voicemail left I will respond accordingly. Sound familiar?

Many companies (in the UK at least) operate number masking on their outbound calls. As a recruiter calling candidates (who don’t know you) from these numbers you have a huge problem - it creates the dreaded ‘Unknown Number’ call screen on the recipients phone. I would like to bet a large number of these calls go to voicemail. So always leave a voicemail!
If you work for a large corporate then the chances are that if a caller I.D. number is shown, then it will be the switchboard number and not your direct dial or department’s number. This makes it difficult for someone to call you back specifically. I had two of these happen today - I missed the calls. I could see the companies that had called but it was just a switchboard number, so no good to me!

Even if you don’t have number withheld on your telephone system, if the person receiving the call doesn’t know who you are, and are not expecting a call from you, will they answer it? With the increasingly large amounts of mobile telephone spam we all now get, people naturally become suspicious of unrecognised numbers. If you don’t do it yourself, just take a moment to watch others on their mobile phones, and ask them why they didn’t take calls, and why they dumped them.
I have done this a lot over the last couple of months and the answer is the same - “I am not answering it , I don’t know who it is’.

So what do you as a recruiter do to get people to answer your calls - after all, they need to hear what you have to say, right?
Here are five things you can do that will help candidates (who don’t know you) take your calls:

  1. Call them from your mobile phone, rather than from a landline. I have seen great improvements in candidate call answering rates  when recruiters just change to calling from their mobile. At least then the recipient sees your number and importantly can call you / message you back personally.
  2. Send them an SMS first to let them you you will be calling them AND why. This could also have the affect of pre-warning them so you need to think about the text message.
  3. You could even try an email - we know that over 50% of emails are opened on a mobile phone so there is a good chance they will see the email while they are on their phone.
  4. Use social media to reach out to them first before you call.
  5. Use the power of the smartphone itself. What is great about mobile phones is the way push notifications work. Many people have notifications configured to appear on their locked screen and /or have different beeps, bells and other sounds for when they receive them. This way they get to see all their notifications - perfect for reaching out to candidates. Think of all the message and social apps you could use …….. Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, SMS, WhatsApp, Snapchat, iMessage, Twitter, Blackberry Messenger, LinkedIn (via the app), WeChat and many many more

I must point out this does not replace making the phone call, it simply helps you get to actually speak to people. So how many of the social or messaging apps are you using? They are all apps on a smartphone now so there is no reason why you shouldn’t have all of them on your phone for when you might need to use them - even BB Messenger! You can’t make assumptions as to which ones your candidates use, so you need to think about getting some accounts set up.

You may well think that this sounds a bit extreme just to make a phone call, but this trend is getting worse, with more and more people ‘selecting’ who they want to speak to, and unless they are actively job seeking, recruiters are not usually at the top of their list!

f you want to discuss / need help for any of the above further, just let me know. And remember if you like this post, don’t forget to subscribe to Sirona Says blog to ensure you don’t miss  the weekly posts.


  • Derek Gillaspy

    The email open rate on phones is dated. As of Summer 2014, I was already seeing 62% in large data sets (100M+ emails)

  • Bryan & Armstrong

    I think it’s important to make first contact via email or a social network before cold calling a candidate. It’s important to arrange a time that’s good for them as candidates don’t appreciate getting an unexpected call from a recruiter during their working day, especially if they sit near their current boss!