Application tips

Want a job interview? Leave a compelling voicemail message!

08 Apr 2019
No matter how good your resume, your motivation letter, your reputation and your written communication skills may be, good telephone skills are critical for your job search.

In our previous blog post, we discussed the importance of having an inviting voicemail message. But what to do when you have to call (back) a recruiter? How do you leave a compelling voicemail message that invites a recruiter to call you back?


Want a job interview? Leave a compelling voicemail message! If you call (back) a recruiter, 4 things can happen:

  • The recruiter is unavailable and you end up in his or her voicemail.
  • The recruiter doesn’t pick up the phone but a colleague does.
  • The recruiter picks up the phone.
  • No one picks up the phone.

In either case, it is important to make a good impression. This can only be achieved if you prepare, rehearse and believe in yourself. Therefore:

  • Decide whether you want to leave a voicemail message before you call the recruiter! Some things can be better discussed in a one-to-one conversation rather than through a one-directional voicemail message.
  • If you don’t want to leave a voicemail, make sure you end the call before the beep. Don’t leave voicemail messages with static noise or -even worse- a vague message without a purpose and call to action.
  • If you want to be transferred by the colleague who picked up the phone, be prepared to communicate who you are, who you are calling for, what you are calling about and what actions you expect from the colleague who answered your call.
  • If you don’t want to leave a message with the colleague who answered your call, give your name, explain why you called, and say that you will try again later. In all cases: always be polite! Other colleagues’ opinions can seriously influence how a recruiter feels about you.
  • If the recruiter picks up the phone, make sure you can properly introduce yourself and explain the reason for your call. Try doing some research on the recruiter and/or the company he/she is working for! Try to ‘know’ the recruiter before dialing his or her number.

calling and leaving voicemail for job interviewTIPS FOR LEAVING A CONVINCING COMPELLING VOICEMAIL MESSAGE

If you decide to leave a voicemail message in a recruiter’s mailbox, the following tips may help:

  1. Divide your message into 3 parts: an introduction in which you introduce yourself, a body in which you name the reason for your call and an ending with a call to action and your contact details (if you want the recruiter to call you back).
  2. Make it super easy for the recruiter to find your details in his/her system and to call you back. End your voicemail message with your e-mail, phone number (twice), your name, the reason for your call and a clear call to action.
  3. An example ending may be “You can reach me at and 01-23456789. That is 0… 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8… 9… This was John Doe from Company X. I called you regarding the job opening for Marketing Officer with Company Y. I look forward to hearing from you”.If you are not fully satisfied with the voicemail message you just recorded, try again! This option may not be possible with all providers, but if you can you should do your best to improve your message as much as you can.

“Don’t underestimate the power of a good phone call!”


Sometimes you are not actively looking for a new job, but recruiters are maybe looking for you! Therefore:

If you missed a call: Call back! Always! Calling back an unknown number may take some courage, but you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime because you don’t have the courage to call back, do you?

Evidently, it is hard to prepare for such a telephone call. If you reach a recruiter and if you don’t feel confident enough to have a conversation at that time, try to schedule a new meeting in the near future. Also try to get as much information as possible (the recruiter’s name, the position and/or company and/or job description you are contacted about) to prepare yourself for your next phone call.

In order to stay in control of the conversation, you can indicate that you will call back at a later point in time. Leave enough room for the recruiter to call you in the meantime if he or she wants to, but secure your next point in the conversation.

Don’t call your recruiter every single day, and don’t expect an instant reply either. Don’t even expect a reply the same day. Recruiters are often on a tight schedule. Try to help your recruiter as much as possible by leaving your contact details and by giving him or her the opportunity to wait for your next call. You and your recruiter are on the same team. Help each other as much as possible!

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer