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I am currently looking for a job and posted my CV online, hoping to get some calls. It worked and I got some calls - in fact too many.

Just this morning, I had 15 calls, plus some e-mails. As I am working, I just can't answer every call, even if it's less than a five-minute call to plan an interview in my non-working hours, and e-mails basically saying "I couldn't contact you by phone so I send you this by email" make me uncomfortable.

On one hand, I'm afraid that ignoring calls and answer to emails in the evening will decrease my chance to get an interview/job, on the other hand, I still want to be faithful to my current company, and minimize the loss of productivity related to my future hiring.

How should I handle too many call from companies? What would be the best balance between not ignoring recruiters, and continue to work as usual?

For context, I work in France and it will be my first job after getting my diploma.

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    Don't provide phone number in your resume; or say you prefer email contact first. Reasonable recruiters understand you may not be able to pick up phone calls at work, it's perfectly fine. – Billy.Bob Jul 8 at 13:46
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    @Billy.Bob saying that you prefer email contact first is fighting a losing battle. In my experience recruiters won't even read that; I've even had them tell me "I know you can't take unplanned calls but I had to get you this right away" after I've explicitly told them not to call me without an email or text first. The only thing you can do to avoid getting these calls is to remove your phone number from your resume entirely. – alroc Jul 8 at 14:07
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    "On one hand, I'm afraid that ignoring calls and answer to emails in the evening will decrease my chance to get an interview/job" Unless the position was filled the same day and you had the possibility to interview the same day, your chances won't decrease. – sf02 Jul 8 at 14:32
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I resolved this problem in two ways:

  • I got a dual sim phone (but a second phone would work) with the cheapest plan I could find (approx £6/month for 200 minutes of calls which is more than enough). I use this number exclusively for recruitment.

  • I set my voicemail message to explain my situation.

In my case, I am a contractor, so when I am in a contract, my voicemail says:

"Hello, this is the voicemail for Nibbly Pig. I'm currently in a contract until 30th of February. Instead of leaving a voicemail, please send me an e-mail and connect with me on linkedin, and I will contact you when I am looking for new work."

In your case, you could explain that you cannot take calls between 9am and 5pm, so please leave your number and I will contact you back.

Then phone back after work, or early in the morning before work, or during your lunch break.

In my experience most recruitment agents begin work around 7:30am-8am and often do not finish until 6-7pm, so in general you can contact them before and after work. Otherwise, you can go to your car at lunch and spend an hour phoning them back one by one.

I would not advise limiting the agencies you use, because a lot of agencies have exclusive arrangements with companies and you would be limiting your opportunities.

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I understand where you're coming from - and I've had similar feelings myself.

I would say that you don't need to worry about it too much though - any half-way decent recruiter is going to understand that a candidate who is in an existing job can't just drop everything and answer the phone all the time. Voicemail is very much your friend in this scenario - many recruiters will be scouring the job sites for fresh CVs and will be shotgunning calls out just to make contact.

This isn't a bad thing - sometimes it can lead to mutual opportunities down the line but it does mean that the calls aren't particularly time-sensitive. If someone has a decent potential match for you then they'll usually leave you a voicemail or e-mail you and you can choose to follow up on those that interest you as time allows (e.g. at a lunch break), I'd say the vast majority of the time you aren't going to be at any disadvantage for taking an hour or two to get back to someone about a potential job, things just don't move that fast. If you're checking on any messages and responding at say lunchtime and an afternoon break then you're going to be giving timely responses without doing any disservice to your current employer.

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This is a common problem. Recruitment is a competitive business, and recruitment staff are all working to get their commission. I had a similar issue using online CV service. The new CV flags up to many automated searches and systems.

Ideally you want to work with one or two agencies exclusively, for your own sanity. This first stage has invited many of them to contact you.

First, switch your online CV to passive/not looking or take it down altogether for now. Consider putting it back up but with contact details where you are more in control at a later date if the current glut of contacts does not lead to anything.

Take the time to decide which of the agencies that have contacted you are likely to get you a good service. You want to find ones that look likely to succeed for you. You can immediately rule out any that offer you inappropriate work or interviews as they are probably just spamming their "best" offers (which may or may not still exist) without consideration of what you are looking for or would match.

This is much like interviewing your own candidates, you get to pick who you want to work with. Don't feel bad about rejecting agencies for any reason - if you find a particular agency's pushy style or job mismatch annoying, just thank them for their time and say you are looking at some other opportunity for now.

Cut your options in progress down quickly to maybe 2 or 3 agencies that you can get along with and that are putting real offers your way (beware that many will find the exact same positions for you and want you to apply via them, so you will need to track what you applied for and rejected and make this clear to them).

Also, feel free to explore other work opportunities directly whilst you speak with any agency. Any job offer that you discover by your own research is your own to manage and track. These are often more valuable to you in any case. The agencies should only get a look in if they truly have done more work than just trawling the internet and putting themselves in as middle man.

You may find in fact you prefer to reject all agencies and look more actively yourself. But that is your judgement call to make. Good recruitment agencies do earn their money by making good matches which would otherwise be hard to find.

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