My question is similar to this one.

I'm in a similar position as the OP there - I strongly prefer email to calls as calls can be disruptive (since I'm generally working on something else when they call, plus it's a lot more time-consuming than simply answering an email).

The answers there seem to indicate that dropping your phone number from your resume completely can be detrimental to your chances of being considered, which would seem to rule out that possibility.

I do state on my resume that email is my preferred means of contact, but a lot of headhunters seem to ignore that (or miss it completely). My contact appears in the following format:

xxx-xxx-xxxx (Cell)
[email protected] (Preferred)

Is there something else I can do to encourage them to email first without looking unprofessional or hurting my chances?

  • Your question starts with how to ask recruiters that you prefer email over phone and then gradually meanders into a rant about recruiters not reading your resume. Voting to close as unclear what you're asking. Please focus on one issue.
    – Masked Man
    Jan 13, 2017 at 6:38
  • 3
    As @MaskedMan said you have a semi-rantish two-parter here which distracts from the main question so I've removed that. You can check the edit log and copy it over to a new question if you can make it on-topic here and answerable. I've also removed a phrase about checking whether people agree with the conclusion drawn in the linked question: that's what votes are for.
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 13, 2017 at 7:16
  • Possible duplicate of How to cut down time talking to recruiters?
    – Xavier J
    Jan 13, 2017 at 20:52
  • @codenoir I disagree, my question's very different Jan 13, 2017 at 21:01

4 Answers 4


The only viable option I can think of is to simply screen your calls. Don't answer calls coming from unknown numbers and let them go to voicemail. Cold-calling recruiters or head-hunters will in that case either leave a voice mail which lets you control the timing of your call-back (if you call at all), or they'll send you an email or LinkedIn message instead. Most do both.

You run the risk of missing out on opportunities because of recruiters not following up either because they forget or they're incompetent, which is why this is an option not to be taken lightly. But at the risk of sounding old, I think this is a reasonable way to deal with the always available nature of the cell phone.

As for the call-back and the things to keep in mind before adopting this policy, have a look at alroc's answer. As he says, if a recruiter leaves a voicemail and didn't contact you by mail as well, you probably should call him back. Emailing about a voicemail is an option but can be considered somewhat rude.

  • 4
    Screening of calls has always worked for me. If you're in the position that you have to answer calls from numbers you don't recognize or you accidentally do answer one of the calls, simply tell them it's not a good time to talk and arrange to speak when you do have time, either on your break, during lunch or when you're off work.
    – DLS3141
    Jan 13, 2017 at 13:26

Expanding on Lilienthal's answer - yes, you have to screen your calls. Be consistent and ruthless about it. Send every call you can't identify as "must take immediately" to voicemail. If someone needs to reach you that urgently, they'll leave a voicemail, call again, or attempt another means of contacting you.

If you have Google Voice handling your voicemail or iOS 10, you can get the voicemail transcribed, usually within a few seconds so you don't even have to listen to it to get the gist of what's going on (these transcriptions are imperfect, but close enough).

When you do call back these recruiters (and you should, at least give them a chance to redeem themselves), tell them firmly, but politely, that you can't take unexpected calls due to privacy concerns. I usually say

I appreciate that you want to get in touch with me quickly, but from my desk there are no less than six people who can hear every word that I say (I wish I was embellishing) and I have no privacy anywhere in the building. If you need to reach me, please email or text me first and I'll let you know/call you back when I can get somewhere private.

If they ignore that advice repeatedly (I have one recruiter who even said "I know you told me you can't take unscheduled phone calls" in the voicemail he left me and the following phone call!), I start having second thoughts about responding to them at all. To me, it's a sign of arrogance and maybe even disrespect. But if you're in a tough market, you're going to have to work with these people anyway as there may not be a lot of jobs or recruiters available for you to pick & choose from.

  • Excellent points. I was wondering if should expand my post but I'll just link to your answer instead. :)
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 13, 2017 at 13:19

Add the range of hours when you accept calls to your resume, and make it small enough that recruiters will have trouble cold-calling you.

Using your example, this would become:

Email : [email protected]

Cell : 0123456789 (unavailable from 8am to 6pm for business reasons)

Some will still call you during these hours, but you can legitimately ask them to switch to email, as this is not a good time for you to take calls.

This doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of them calling you, but if they are interested enough to call outside of office hours, it is probably worth it to take the call.


Is there something else I can do to encourage them to email first without looking unprofessional or hurting my chances?

Instead of "preferred", put your email up first, then your phone below. Then put "scheduled calls only" or similar text behind it to make clear that random phonecalls are not welcome.

If you get called by an unknown recruiter, tell the recruiter you're blacklisting them for not reading the resume. After a while, you'll only be contacted by the good ones.

  • 1
    This is not good advice. Recruiters, at least in the technology field, will ALWAYS want to talk to a candidate before presenting to the potential employer. There is good reason for this, they want to be sure you can communicate effectively.
    – Neo
    Jan 13, 2017 at 14:45
  • I don't mean "never talk to recruiters", I said "blacklist the ones who can't follow simple instructions". The ones who can follow simple instructions will request a phone call after an initial mail.
    – Erik
    Jan 13, 2017 at 15:54
  • The thing is though, such an initial mail typically involves them requesting your CV and only after that do they have your phone number. So the first contact is made. Even in my recruiter-heavy industry I've only been cold-called on my phone a handful of times. And "preferred" isn't exactly the same as "don't call or I'll never talk to you again".Then you might as well leave the phone number off.
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 13, 2017 at 16:00
  • 2
    @Lilienthal Honestly, "leave the phone number off" would be my first suggestion, but the OP explicitly did not want that.
    – Erik
    Jan 13, 2017 at 16:04
  • Made the text a bit more explicit though.
    – Erik
    Jan 13, 2017 at 16:07

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