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I'm looking for jobs on the other side of the country to where I'm currently based and, since uploading my CV to a few major jobsites, I have been receiving 10-15 calls/emails a day from recruiters.

Normally this wouldn't be a problem (I'm looking for a job after all!) but almost every single one of these recruiters is only offering me positions in my current area, rather than the area I'm trying to relocate to. This often ends up with me scheduling a phone call, and having a 10 minute conversation about the job details before finding out it's in the wrong location.

I want to be able to politely let recruiters know early in the conversation (before scheduling a call) that I'm not interested in positions in my current area, but don't want to put off recruiters who may be contacting me about jobs in the prospective location.

A few clarifications;

  • My current location isn't on my CV, but most of the jobsites I signed up for require a street address which is probably then passed on to recruiters.
  • It's a combination of emails to set up a call and getting direct calls from recruiters because I (rather naively) included my phone number on my public CV.
  • The distance between my current location and target location is around 400 miles.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

  • On another note, many websites allow you to specify the desired location. Have you checked if there are job boards specific for the area you are moving to? – algiogia Feb 13 '18 at 13:20
  • WHY isn't your location on your CV? The front page of mine, that is the one uploaded to the job sites, contains a page full of recruiter information (where I will work, where I definitely WONT work, rates etc). Recruiters will always edit your CV before sending it to clients, and most sites offer uploading of the full document, so why not? – Neil Feb 13 '18 at 15:29
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    This is actually a good way of filtering recruiters. Any recruiter who offers you a job, listens to the actual reason you don't want it, and comes back to you in the future with an appropriate suggestion based on your reason is probably worth your time. – jwg Feb 14 '18 at 14:55
139

I have a friend who is a successful telesales manager and he told me he likes clear yes and clear no because clear answers don't waste anybody's time.

For that reason I suggest you tell him in the first minute that you appreciate his call but don't want to waste his time. Is the job he offers in xyz? If yes, fine. If no, thanks, maybe next time.

The recruiter will like that because he is not wasting his time. And he will keep you in mind for jobs in xyz because you made clear that is what you want.

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    A sound answer. May also be best to politely insist they change their records if they have your 'desired location' incorrectly listed. There's always a chance the recruiter may forget / not assume to update this and move on. – user34587 Feb 12 '18 at 12:03
  • @Kozaky: I am not sure if that is necessary. I guess the recruiter will just try to "sell" the jobs he has to offer. I am sure they will convince some people who want to work in A to work in B instead. – Edgar Feb 12 '18 at 12:07
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    While I also like this efficient way of communicating and not wasting anyones time I find more and more recruiters will not tell you certain details and want you to get into a phone interview, presumably because they get payed for getting you onto the phone and think "if they hear how nice the job is they might take it" or similar. I have strong preferences for the location myself and find it increasingly difficult to efficiently filter out jobs. – PlasmaHH Feb 12 '18 at 14:06
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    I usually say something like "I am not currently considering any positions outside region X" – JimmyJames Feb 12 '18 at 15:26
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    Booking an interview, preparing from an interview, and attending that interview, even if by skype, takes time. I do not agree a booked interview does not waste anybody´s time. – Rui F Ribeiro Feb 12 '18 at 16:04
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Literally, just ask them.

This is not rocket science.

Them: Hi Cameron! Do you have a few minutes to talk about a potential opportunity?

You: Sure, why not. Just to check, though, is it roughly within <area>? As I'm not looking for work outside of that.

Them: No it isn't. It's in <place>.

You: Hmm, in that case, it's probably not what I'm looking for.

Them: Okay, no worries — I'll let you know if anything else comes up.

You: Great, thanks!

Them: Have a good day.

You: You too. Bye.

Why make it any more complicated than this straightforward conversation?

  • 6
    When is the last time you spoke with a recruiter? In my career I've found very few "professional" recruiters. Most of them don't even bother to read your CV and if you state something you don't like about the position they'll keep pushing – algiogia Feb 13 '18 at 13:17
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    @algiogia Then you stop talking to them, if they can't spend a minute to read about you then in my experience little good comes from it afterwards. – Riley Feb 13 '18 at 13:45
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    @algiogia: Then put the phone down. You're not beholden to anyone abusing your time like that. FWIW every recruiter I've ever spoken to has been professional enough that the conversation would go almost word-for-word as I've posted above. It's not in their best interests to carry on a fruitless conversation either: their time is better spent on tasks that may actually stand a chance of generating commission. But ofc YMMV. – Lightness Races with Monica Feb 13 '18 at 14:56
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    +1, tho IMHO, your answer is too long. I would have answered: "Tell them.". It's interesting that so many people somewhat feel like being obliged to recruiters or companies. And with "interesting", I mean shocking. – phresnel Feb 14 '18 at 9:31
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    @phresnel: Well I do have to appease the "not an answer" flag abusers ;) – Lightness Races with Monica Feb 14 '18 at 11:00
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What strikes me about your question is that there's no indication that you have provided any means for recruiters to become aware of what location you want to work, other than you telling them. That's something that should be one of the earliest things to filter on. You should look around on the jobsites to see if there's a place to say where you want to work. If you can't find it, see if the jobsites have a contact form to ask them. Something to consider would be to simply register with an address in the city you want to work, although there are downsides to that. You can also consider putting on your CV that you're planning on relocating.

You can also mention this when setting up a phone call. Just say something like "I'm looking for a job in New City, so if that's the job location, such-and-such a time would be good, but otherwise I'm going to pass".

And if you still can't figure out how to tell recruiters that you're planning on relocating, the recruiters themselves are likely a resource to figure that out. Say something like "I've been getting a lot of offers for jobs in Current City, but I'm looking to get a job in New City. Could you tell me how I could modify my profile to help recruiters know about my location preferences?" Recruiters are probably even more frustrated than you at going to the trouble of setting up a phone call only to find out the person isn't interested in jobs there, and likely have some system for indicating location preference that they wish people would use.

11

Since you say you want to rightly weed these recruiters out before you even pick up the phone, you should filter these leads out as early as possible. Typically you'll get an email or a message through whatever job board you've published your CV on. That message invariably boils down to a basic "I have a position I think you may be suited for / interested in, can we set up a call?".

Instead of replying with a "Sure, here's my phone number." or planning a call, it's fine to just respond with:

That sounds interesting. Are you able to disclose which company you are hiring for or can you at least confirm the general location? As mentioned in my resume I'm planning to relocate and am only considering positions within the [X] area.

That sets up the classic double-question where most rectruiters may be hesitant to mention the company but will then be more likely to tell you the location than they otherwise would. But that's not even really required, you can keep it short:

Sounds good but I've had a lot of people reach out with positions outside my target location. Can you confirm that this position is within the [X] area?

Since you hopefully did the smart thing of keeping your actual phone number off any of the resumes or materials you've posted publicly, that means that a recruiter has to convince you to hand it over first, giving you a lot more leverage. Even without that, any reputable recruiter should be willing to give you a general idea of the location or at least confirm that it's within the region you mentioned. Any that don't or hide behind some imagined confidentiality clause should be rejected out of hand as there's something dodgy going on then.

While you're specifically focusing on the location, most other immediate deal-breakers can also be raised this early in the process. When you're being contacted you have more leverage and can ask hard questions up-front. This will rub some recruiters the wrong way so it's only a strategy I would adopt if you're being swamped with low-quality offers or otherwise spoilt for choice when it comes to employment opportunities.

6

I would send a simple email before scheduling the call

"I just want to check the position is in X location, where I am relocating to, there has been some confusion around this previously."

As once an agent has you on the phone they are sometimes hard to get off without being very rude.

Edited to add: If the agent makes a cold call, then remove your phone number

sorry i am busy right now please send me an email, it is listed next to my phone number.
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    Booking an interview, preparing from an interview, and attending that interview, even if by skype, takes time both for the interviewer and the candidate. This should be the correct answer. – Rui F Ribeiro Feb 12 '18 at 16:05
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    Except like other answers, it presumes/imagines a communication channel that does not exist IRL. And if thatt did exist, the idea of using it to clear up that issue there would be obvious. It's not like OP and receuiter are interchanging 3 emails and then speaking on the phone. OP is getting cold called and the recruiter won't shut up long enough to get a word in edgewise. That's how recruiters are. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 12 '18 at 23:00
  • @Harper, I presumed the scheduled call mentioned was with an agent, not the company "This often ends up with me scheduling a phone call, and having a 10 minute conversation about the job details before finding out it's in the wrong location." – WendyG Feb 13 '18 at 10:49
  • Quite right, he did say that, my apologies. This seems like maybe more of an attentiveness issue then, – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 13 '18 at 15:11
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Change your location (like on the resume and your linkedin) to the place you want to move. Recruiters are by and large pulling resumes from search engines and tools that filter on this information.

I've had the same problem as you and I've done this to good effect (actually, I seeded multiple versions because I had a handful of target cities). I just let them know after we've talked about the position and I've expressed an interest.

Also, don't worry about being polite to recruiters. It's a hustle, a numbers game. Just hang up if someone is wasting your time.

2

This seems so simple - not sure why someone has yet to answer quite this way:

If you don't know where the potential position is located, your first question to any recruiter is: "Where is this position that you suggesting?" I've done exactly that myself, many times.

  • If the answer isn't suitable for you, just say so, and politely end the exchange.
  • I would decline to deal at all with a recruiter who refused to divulge the location: Sorry, I need to know up front what we're dealing with here - why waste time? Thanks but no thanks - Goodbye.

By doing so, you take control of the situation immediately, and that is important: A recruiter is not working for you, no matter how interested and sincere they sound. They are working for themselves and their employers, or the people looking to hire. So you shouldn't let them lead you around.

When you ask 'is it in location X', as others have suggested, you are opening the door for the recruiter to yank your chain by pulling a bait and swap or lying and telling you it's in the place you want in order to get you interested, then twist things around with something like 'Oh - I meant their main office is in London, but this particular job is Antarctica... Yes, the winters are tough, but what a benefits package they're offering!' (No, recruiters not above such ploys.)

If the recruiter gets testy or becomes a pest because of your question, I echo @johnk 's answer: Also, don't worry about being polite to recruiters. It's a hustle, a numbers game. Just hang up if someone is wasting your time.

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I recently went trough the processes of looking for a job in a different part of the Country. Luckily I had put on my CV "Looking to relocate in New City". I too had my phone number but would not pick up (as I was working 9-to-5) but instead google their mobile or have Samsung's smart thingy tell me who's ringing, or just pinpoint their location based on their Area code.

If you're calling or emailing me from/for positions that are my current address, I wouldn't even justify you with a response back, you managed to find my phone number but not study my CV, how can I expect good service.

If you're calling or emailing me for a position in New City or region, good - you have my business.

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When posting a job, I often put these words

This is a full time position. You must be able to come to work in Arlington, MA at least three days per week. Sorry, we do not offer remote work, relocation or visa assistance.

It helps faraway applicants weed themselves out, and it gives me permission to quickly discard replies from those who haven't read it.

You can do the same on your CV or cover letter.

Objective: A challenging SaaS sales (or whatever) job based in Provo UT (or wherever).

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