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I have a profile on LinkedIn which gets me contact with recruiters who often send me job specs. This works great as I can read the spec, look at the salary and the company and very quickly see if it's for me.

With some recruiters the conversation can go:

Recruiter: "Hi Tom, I have a great opportunity in [my broad area of expertise]. Would you like to hear more?

Me: Yes, can you tell me what it is?

Recruiter: Great, let's book in a call

Me: Can you tell me what it is?

Recruiter: Give me your number so I can call you

For me this is a waste of my time, as they'll generally ask me the stuff that's already on my CV and read out the job description from verbatim. So I have to spend 20 minutes plus an interruption to my day going through their fake friendliness when I could have said yes/no from a message in 1 minute. Other recruiters just send me a job spec, ask for my CV, which I do, and then submit me. Super easy.

What's the recruiter trying to get out of this? I can imagine some reasons, none of which really make sense.

  1. They think they can use their charm to get me interested. NEVER true!
  2. They are trying to weed people out by asking them questions. But I'm just saying the names of skills I have, which anyone could do and the recruiter has no way of knowing if I'm telling the truth
  3. Other recruiters put up fake profiles to work out who's hiring. But could they not also have a fake personality to answer the phone?

Because there are people sending me actual jobs without having to have a call, I often ignore them. Am I missing out? Or are they just fishing (again, for what benefit of theirs)?

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A 20 minute conversation with a recruiter should result in:

  1. You having more of an idea of what the role involves
  2. You selling yourself to the recruiter, so they're more likely to put your forward for the role (assuming you're still interested in it)
  3. The recruiter having more of an idea what your skills and interests are, so they can put more appropriate roles in front of you in the future.

If you're really managing to spend 20 minutes on a call and not managing to get or communicate any of that information, then either you're doing it wrong, the recruiter is doing it wrong, or both.

Because there are people sending me actual jobs without having to have a call, I often ignore them. Am I missing out?

Yes. As a hiring manager, any more information I can get is helpful. If a CV comes it with a bunch of notes from the recruiter which says "talked with Tom, he really showed his interest and knowledge in X, Y and Z", that's going to get my interest more than just another CV landing in my inbox (to some extent dependent on the recruiter and how much I've worked with them before).

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    This does not answer why the recruiter doesn’t want to send details on the opportunity so OP can decide if the call is even worth it. – AsheraH Mar 8 at 10:46
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As a hiring manager that is often deeply working with our recruiters, here's a few of the items I've observed.

  • Recruiters OFTEN have EXTROVERT personalities (They just like to talk to people)

  • Some are hiring for several positions, and when talking to you, they can think of potentially other roles you'd be a good fit for

  • Recruiters often take account of verbal and non-verbal cues to gauge how the candidate would fit into the organization.

  • They try to gauge a candidates aptitudes around potential effectiveness in working in a team, ability to get along with others, a candidate's interest in their own development, etc etc

  • They are trying to sell the organization to you (it's part of what's expected and you need to play along if you have any interest) and they want you to sell yourself to the organization

  • At the end of the day, unless they are hiring for something extremely niche, a lot of companies don't want to hire people with certain qualities: very quiet and shy, too cocky, selfish, arrogant, entitled, not open to feedback, defensive, needlessly dramatic.

  • They want people that are: fun, energetic, go getters, take critical feedback well, tolerate differences of opinion, work well with others, interested in team success and individual success, push themselves to be better

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    In my experience, some extroverts are so extroverted that they don't even feel like communication has actually happened unless they've "had a chat". (Of course, as @thieupepijn notes, it may also be their company policy to get potential hires on the phone, rather than their personal predilection.) – B. Ithica Mar 8 at 11:17
  • All of these make sense to me and seem most likely - mostly the recruiter wanting to try and make a judgement of me based on how I answer their questions. Though if they gave a bit more information they'd have a better chance of getting me on the phone in the first place. – Tom Mar 8 at 12:54
  • @Tom and that's totally up to you. Maybe you aren't the right fit for that company. The recruiter's persona isn't usually that far from the company's culture. – Austin759 Mar 8 at 15:54
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Just becaues you wrote it on your linkedin profile doesn't mean it's true - verbally discussing the CV with you allows them to verify if you actually know your CV. It also lets them know your verbal skills and a little bit about your personality, how you handle questions, your ability to think on your feet, etc.

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Are you actively searching for a job? If yes - take that phone call as an opportunity to sell yourself, along with confirming that the job actually interests you. If no - politely reply that you won't be available for a phone call and move on.

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    I am actively looking for work. The problem is if I took every phone call a recruiter wanted to have I'd spend all day on the phone, so I'd rather try and focus on the jobs that are actually of interest to me. – Tom Mar 8 at 12:53
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I read on a Dutch tech-site that the number of calls a recruiter makes every day is apparently sometimes/often a metric on which they are judged.

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  • "What gets measured, gets managed" strikes again! – seventyeightist Mar 7 at 21:06
  • Could be true for some, but a lot of the calls come from senior recruiters or directors of small agencies. – Tom Mar 8 at 12:55
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Firstly, it's quicker for them. They don't have to read you CV. They can ask you specific questions that they find important without having to go back and forth with emails.

Secondly, they can see how you verbally communicate. And some may want to assess how well you speak English etc.

The third reason, and probably main reason, is to weed out those people that are not really interested in changing jobs. If you elect to take a phone call, you've already shown you are somewhat interested because you have, as you've put it, wasted some of your time to entertain their advances.

In today's world, picking up the phone to make a call is considered a bigger effort that forwarding a resume.

Maybe back in the day, recruiters would insist on sending your resume by mail, as opposed to chatting on the phone for the exact same reason.

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  • I think your 3 reasons are valid (and would add a more abstract 'to get a feel of how the person is more than you can in writing' to the second point) so I upvoted it. Probably not so useful to compare it to 419-scammers though.. – seventyeightist Mar 7 at 21:03
  • @seventyeightist Deleted – Gregory Currie Mar 8 at 2:10

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