5.1.7. Follow-up

Calling the recruiters after sending a cover letter, as well as after an interview, is extremely important. However, it is sometimes ignored by foreign students, especially because of fear of talking to the person (not comfortable speaking over the phone). The truth is calling people gets interviews and thus jobs. Some helpful hints:

– Have a script: Have a brief statement prepared and practiced. Something like “Hi, this is _____ from the _____ school. I sent my resume and cover letter _____ ago, and wanted to verify if you got it and to know if I can answer any question for you”. If you need to leave a message in their voice-mail, add “I’ll call back on ___” (and do as promised).

– Try e-mail: Most recruiters have e-mail, and some of them even use it! The problem is many people do not rely very much on it, so you should not either. Anyway, you don’t lose anything trying it.

– Don’t call more than two or three times: If you get no answer after two or three tries, the person is probably too busy or uninterested in you. Calling further may irritate the person rather than improve your chances. Remember that recruiters have other things to do besides talking to you.

– Call early in the morning or late in the afternoon: These are usually the best hours for recruiters to talk (unless you know for sure otherwise). Fridays afternoon are not either recommended.

– Have all the information at hand: When calling, keep a copy of your resume, of the cover letter and the recruiting brochures at hand. This will help you answer any question the recruiter should ask.

– Show respect for the recruiter’s time: When calling a recruiter, if you feel like asking questions or getting involved in a long conversation, always ask first if it’s a good time for him/her to talk. Volunteer to call at more convenient time.

– If possible, ask for an informational interview: If you can afford the trip, or you will be close to the recruiter’s office anytime before the on-campus interview, ask for an informational interview. Having visited the company, and talked to some of the people, will give you a strong edge over other candidates, as it will show your genuine interest, and initiative. Tips for the informational interview: make sure you give a good impression, never ask for or about a job, have a few dozen good questions to ask, and research thoroughly.