The Most Difficult Phone Call I’ve Experienced as a Recruiter Lasted 8 Seconds


By: Andrew Borresen


*Ring* *Ring* *Ring*

Quiet voice: Hello?

Me: Hi there, is Jack available?

Quiet voice: Jack passed away 2 months ago.

Me: (pause) I’m very sorry for your loss, ma’am.

Quiet voice: Thank you.



My job calls for telephone outreach… a whole load of it. It’s central to my role as a recruiter. True recruiting – at its very core, when done correctly – is taking the time to learn about someone, asking him/her difficult questions, and using the gathered information to help that individual – who made the decision to invest the time and energy in a successful, professional relationship with a recruiter – advance to a better place in their career. Many times in our day and age, this process plays out over the phone.

So when I say you get a chance to speak with people of all walks and backgrounds, I truly mean it. At JellTech, I could be talking to a Lead Software Engineer from Kenosha one hour, and my next dial out of the office will be to a Network Administrator from Sheboygan. And most days, that exact variety is what offers me so much enjoyment at my desk. I love meeting new people – albeit, over the phone – and hearing about all sorts of professional paths. It excites me, and I make it my goal to envision every call as the chance to potentially introduce someone to the next step that will alter their career path for the better.

That’s why the transcript from the call above, which happened yesterday, represents the most difficult phone call I have experienced in my time at JellTech. I can handle rejection. I can handle being hung up on. And in many respects, I can handle being told one thing and having another play out before me. We’re all human beings who have dealt with disappointment, frustration, and bad days before. Such is life. However, this phone call was different. This phone call resonated deep inside and forced me to pause.

On a personal level, I felt awful. I felt for the widow on the other end of the line. From 8 seconds of conversation, I could tell that the simplest of questions ripped the smallest of Band-Aids off a healing wound. I felt convicted in my chair. After taking some time to reflect, I was led back to one of the best life maxims that my grandpa instilled in my dad, who in turn passed it on down to me. “Be patient, and treat everyone with respect because you never know the hidden battle that someone may be enduring.”

On a professional level, I had to pause and recollect my thoughts after hanging up the phone. Put yourself in my shoes. Wouldn’t you be forced to feel how infinitely small your role is in the grand scheme of life, just as I was? However, in totally stopping everything around me to consider at a deeper level, I felt just the opposite. My mentality has been, is now, and always will be that my role as a recruiter is BIG. I get the chance each day to illuminate compelling, career-advancing, potentially life-altering opportunities for IT professionals in the Milwaukee area. This feeling is clearly demonstrated in the ethos and philosophy all around JellTech. We are a team that believes it’s all about the fit. We invest in building meaningful, lasting relationships with job-seekers, and we make it our mission to happily match the right individual with the right local client.

Perhaps the most difficult phone calls are really just opportunities we all need to gain a refreshed perspective.

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