The Dreaded Call... What to do When a Recruiter Likes Your CV

April 22, 2021

It’s not an entirely unexpected call. You’re searching for a new job and have taken the next step by uploading your CV to an online job board. It’s guaranteed that you’re going to get phone calls from recruiters and internal talent teams. But sometimes you don’t know WHEN they’re going to call you. Calls from internal talent teams are slightly different to your standard recruitment calls. Internal recruiters want to get to know you more formally than a quick screening call from a recruiter who is trying to ‘woo’ you with their AMAZING opportunity...

So how do you prepare for a phone call from an internal recruiter, whether it has been planned or not?

After uploading your CV online, or changing your LinkedIn profile to be ‘open to opportunities’, consider the rule of three. Prepare the following 3 answers and consider 3 questions.


Prepare a mini pitch about yourself. In every recruitment call, job interview, first meeting you will undoubtedly be asked “so, tell me about yourself”.
  • Summarise your career experience in 2/3 sentences. Think of it as a mini bio that you might put on a website.
What makes you unique? Everyone is unique in their skills, strengths and experience so don’t overthink it.
  • Do you love a task that people often hate?
  • Are you part of a group? Do you attend conferences or talks?
  • Do you do anything at work that isn’t on your job description, such as fundraising, or championing mental health and diversity, or organising social events?
  • Do you study or research outside of work?
What is your area of expertise?
  • Write down what you are great at, and a story that backs it up. Storytelling is a skill that often goes under the radar, but can make the difference between a good conversation and an exceptional one.

When was a time you failed at something? Why did it happen and what were the consequences? Most importantly what did you learn from the experience? Again, write a short story that fits on a sticky note.

Please, and I can’t emphasise this enough, do NOT say you are ‘too organised’, ‘a perfectionist’, ‘work too hard’...

You’re probably wondering why right? It’s cliche, it’s over used, and I can guarantee being a ‘perfectionist’ is not your greatest weakness. We have always been taught to impress people in interviews, and stay away from the things that we aren’t great at. But the times I have impressed most, or been impressed the most by interviewees, is when they are humble and honest.

Humility is an admirable quality. No one is perfect, and employers don’t expect you to be perfect either. But demonstrating how you handle when you are wrong, and that you learn from your mistakes is one of the best skills of all. Gone are the days of turning “what is your greatest weakness?” into a positive.


What would it take for you to leave your current role?
  • Is it salary, location, industry, company, career growth, more responsibilities?
What do you want to achieve/ or where do you want to be in life in 5 years time
  • This could be focused on your career, lifestyle or personal aspirations. When a recruiter comes knocking, ask them AND yourself, if this opportunity will enable you to achieve these goals.
What is your current motivation in life?
  • What is your inspiration for getting out of bed and going to work every day, particularly when work is tough or you have stressful deadlines?

Write your answers to the above questions on sticky notes - they don’t need to be long, 2 or 3 sentences at most. Place them around your monitor so that they are always in front of you. This will help you to learn them, plus when a recruiter calls you will have them to reference. Perhaps don’t do this if you are in a shared office... If this is the case, have them somewhere at home where you look regularly, such as on the bathroom mirror where you can remind yourself of them whilst brushing your teeth.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to relax and don’t overthink it. If you're nervous, I can guarantee the recruiter on the other side of the phone is too, having been on both sides myself. Instead, focus on making a new friend or a connection. This takes the pressure away, and is also a useful approach for face to face interviews.

At the end of the day, the recruiter knows they are calling you out of the blue, and doesn’t expect you to be ‘interview ready’. A good recruiter is looking to get to know you and what you’re looking for in a new role, whilst hoping they might have an opportunity that’s of interest. The power is in your hands!

Written by Phoebe Blair

Providing you with Results Driven Bespoke Talent Solutions