DAV Professional Placment Group
DAV Professional Placment Group


Johannesburg +27 11 217 0000

Cape Town +27 21 468 7000

JOHANNESBURG +27 11 217 0000
CAPE TOWN +27 21 468 7000

Talk the Talk


A couple of weeks ago I gave my insights into what could be potentially holding you back when it came to your CV and we went through a great deal to uncover some of the biggest blunders that candidates are making right now! Hopefully, after sitting back and pondering my blog, you have made the necessary changes and are on the way to compiling some amazing CVs.

Now usually, the process from here is that you send your CV through to the Recruiter to be assessed for a role that you have specifically applied to. After a couple of nerve wrecking days you get the much anticipated call. You know the one, the one where the Recruiter asks questions pertaining to your CV and starts his or her initial assessments of your background, skills and experience. But it is also here that things start to go horribly wrong!

This is the part where you actually need to speak and also the first stage where you get your initial opportunity to sell yourself. However, from my own experiences, this is also where a great CV falls apart because the person on the other end doesn’t communicate effectively and professionally. Do you want to know how?

1. Make sure you are in a quiet area and there are limited distractions.

So the phone rings, it is an unknown number, oh who could it be? You answer it and low and behold it is the Recruitment Consultant phoning you to discuss your background. Right next to you is your boss, who has come to run through a couple of things that he needs you to do. What do you do? Don’t awkwardly try and shield your conversation with your back and speak in a faint whisper. It is ok to say, that it is not a great time to speak and can you phone the consultant back. Yes, you are going to phone them back. If you want the job, then commit to phoning them back. Remember they have a pool of eager and willing candidates make sure you are one of them. When you say you are going to phone them back, do it. Don’t make empty promises. I promise, the Recruitment Consultant understands that it isn’t always convenient to speak.

In addition to this, make sure it is quiet when you are speaking to the Recruitment Consultant. There is nothing quite like trying to compete with the latest beats on a very loud radio or a barking dog or the hustle and bustle of a busy shopping center. If you are unable to remove yourself from the noise, rather ask if you can phone the Recruitment Consultant later.

2. Speak with Confidence

When a Recruitment Consultant phones you don’t answer the phone as if you are half asleep, even if you are! When I phone someone, I want to hear the excitement in their voices, the enthusiasm that usually drives a successful candidate. Your voice needs to be clear, powerful and upbeat. Nobody wants to speak to someone who sounds disinterested and disheartened.

Nobody wants to speak to someone who sounds disinterested and disheartened.

3. Don’t forget your manners

My mom always moaned at me when I didn’t answer the phone correctly, I was pre-programmed to answer the phone in this manner – “Hello Roxanne speaking”… an introduction that is welcoming, professional and polite. I have had my fair share of candidates answering their phones with a monosyllabic grunt as if we had been transported back into time and we were all Neanderthals. As soon as I hear that empathetic – mmmm – as a greeting, I am immediately put off as it becomes a concern as to how you will communicate to my client. So, address the person on the phone in a pleasant and polite manner no matter if you are talking to the receptionist (you never know how close they are to the CEO) or whether you are talking to the CEO. Sound like you want the job and not like you are doing me a favour by speaking to me.

4. Answer the questions in detail

Often Recruitment Consultants will ask questions regarding your CV that may be on the CV purely because they are trying to affirm the details. My advice with regards to this, is answer the questions no matter how silly they may be (often there is a method in our madness). It isn’t the best time to turn around to the Recruitment Consultant and cheekily say to them that it is already on your CV. They are trying to engage with you, make the effort to connect because it is this connection that assures that the Recruitment Consultant will remember you and in all likelihood will want to represent you and introduce you to his/her clients. Remember, this is your time to really convince the Recruitment Consultant that you are the candidate that they are looking for.

So go back to those hours spent in English class where you had to do those orals that required you to project your voice and annunciate every word because by doing this, you are laying the foundation of professional communication and ultimately bringing you one step closer to being considered for your dream job.


About Roxanne Portellas

Who am I? I am a daughter, sister, wife and friend (and a Dog Mom). You will find me tinkering around the house, constantly conspiring the next social get-together, enjoying lazy sunny afternoons and spending time outdoors. I like to live boldly, sip on a good red wine (like most Capetonians do), will try anything once (well almost anything) and oh yes, I do not regard myself as a shop-a-holic; I am merely trying to help the economy. I am a hint of crazy, dash of serious but a whole lot of zeal! Enjoy my collection of thoughts and ideas! Connect with me on LinkedIn

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