Measuring Job Hunt Success: The Unsolicited Call

While on Twitter last week, an interesting tweet by recruiter and social media strategist Steve Levy caught my eye:

The measure of your job search success is not the number of resumes you send out, but the number of unsolicited calls you receive.

The first part of his tweet makes perfect sense and is something that I have talked about here, but the second part — the “unsolicited call” — intrigued me. So I asked Steve if he would be willing to share more on that topic. And he was more than happy to do so!

At the start of our conversation, he qualified his tweet by saying, “One measure of a successful job search is the unsolicited call… The ultimate measure is ‘Do you get the job?'”

That’s a good point — none of it matters if you don’t land a job. But, intermediary measures do indicate if you are heading in the right direction, and the unsolicited call can be one of them.

So, what exactly is an “unsolicited call?”

“It’s not someone calling you and saying, ‘I saw your profile on LinkedIn,” Levy said, “you should have a cursory connection.”

That connection, he explained, could be that you and the recruiter/hiring manager both participate on the same industry discussion board, or you follow each other on Twitter, or you have both commented on the same blog. And that is an important part to getting an unsolicited call; being online and contributing to the field through discussions show some initiative to have a presence, which facilitates the connection that leads to a job seeker receiving a call without having to respond to an ad or send a résumé first.

Is being online the key to getting unsolicited calls?

Not exactly. “There’s also the brick and mortar,” Levy replied. “Can you do something one night a week for your career? [With] so many meetups, you can find one.”

So getting out from behind your computer is a good thing because, according to Levy, the “social media tools for 2012 will be the telephone and the handshake.”

How does unemployment play into getting an unsolicited call? How can job seekers overcome that stigma?

Levy started, “Only a recruiter with backbone will say ‘You really need to talk with this person.'”

It’s more than hoping to find a recruiter who works to advise the companies they represent, however. Job seekers need to put forth some effort. “If they have been out of work for a year and done nothing but job hunt, that’s a problem,” stated Levy. “There are plenty of things to do [like volunteering or taking classes]. But they’re going to have to work extra-hard to do these things.”

Another way to get a call? Hit on the company’s pain points. Levy explained, “‘Can you solve the problems I have?’ If your job search is focused on that , you will do well.”

There are a lot of scams out there. When a person receives an unsolicited call, how should they go about verifying that it is a legitimate inquiry?

In a word: performance. “Ask the recruiter to get a sense of performance expectations. Ask, ‘What specific problems will I be asked to solve in the first 90-100 days?'” suggested Levy. “They should be willing to tell you more about the job beyond the descriptions. If they don’t know, tell them to find out and call you back.”

That is sound advice. And if you are actively job hunting, you should still heed it. If a recruiter can’t give you more information, “that’s a red flag. How do you effectively recruit if you don’t know?”

Here are some final words of wisdom from Steve Levy: “Start with the end in mind. Start developing relationships when you are happy. If you don’t, you are SOL. If you manage your brand well, people will find you.”

Thanks so much to Steve Levy for shedding some light on this metric of the job hunt!

About Steve: Steve Levy, as Principal of outside-the-box Consulting, is focused on recruiting, career counseling, social media, and organizational development consulting – and has been referred to as “the recruiting industry’s answer to Tom Peters”. Steve is an incurable blogger ( and among many others) and social media participant who is passionate about veteran issues. Steve has been a COI with Armed Forces recruiting for many years, a Navy volunteer “fitness consultant”; his family has a storied history of service to our country.

Steve is a Tau Beta Pi engineer from the University of Vermont (there is no such thing as a former Engineer, Marine or Jesuit) with his graduate degree in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University.

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