The call after interview strategy: can it hurt?

Developing your call after interview strategy

The call after interview strategy is an example of aggressive self-marketing. If you’ve been selling yourself as an aggressive journalist, calling the interviewer could be a good way to cement your relationship with him or her. Be aware though, that every recruiter is different. Calling one may be a great idea, whereas another might prefer to call you. Use your best judgement or ask around the newsroom.

Check out this excerpt from a question I received:

My cover letter is rather on the aggressive side, starting off with an anecdote. I end with saying I will be calling to see if we can set up a convenient time to meet for an interview. Is this phone call something I would actually follow through with, or is it just to get them to call me? I have no problem calling, but could you give me some advice on the right way to do that?

My answer:

Be aggressive. It is one mark of a good journalist. The point of a cover letter is not to land a job but to make it to the next step, which typically is an interview. Do say you’ll call them to set up some sort of visit — even an informational visit — and then follow up with that phone call. Many people tell me they will call, and they then don’t.

While being aggressive, also be polite and flexible, of course. Many editors will see the way you treat them as the way you will treat sources, so don’t be brushed off easily. You really want this job, and there is a lot of competition out there, so you need to do what you can to get your foot in the door — and to keep your name on their minds — ahead of other people.

Why did the recruiter lose interest?

Many behind-the-scenes circumstances can cool off what had appeared to be a hot opening.  A hiring freeze, for example, can ice things in a hurry. The application of a seemingly better candidate can, too. Sometimes an internal candidate, applying late, snatches away the opening. And there can be a botched handoff in which one person starts the process and then hands it to another who is not so attentive. We can give a hundred other reasons, but all lead to the second question: So why don’t the editors simply pick up the phone? Sometimes, the situation gets bogged down — say, with the appearance of additional candidates — and we wait for things to play out. The first candidate to be considered for a job will have to wait a lot longer than the last one for their answer.

What can you do? Calls and e-mails — to more than one person — should shake loose an answer.

Mastering the newsroom:

Want more advice on the call after interview strategy? These questions, answers and advice come from my book Ask The Recruiter, where I have collected years of experience from recruiting in newsrooms. The book contains popular questions and answers dedicated to breaking open the occasionally opaque nature of newsroom hiring, promoting and managing.

For more information, check out the following resources:

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