With the five day public holiday coming up in April, I thought it would be a timely reminder for a trick I found a few years back when contacting some ‘potential candidates’ in Victoria on Melbourne Cup day (a public holiday for Victorians). Let me ask you, before you go on extended leave (or have a state-wide holiday, as was the case with me) what is one of the last things you do before you leave the office?…

Set your voicemail!

Let’s take a step back and ask why we do this? More often than not, it’s there to let your clients/customers/people know that you will be unavailable for the next few days (or for that specific day) and depending on the circumstance, also to provide a point of contact in your absence which is normally a manager or colleague in your team – complete with contact numbers and/or an email addresses. For a savvy phone sourcer, information like this is pure gold! As you know, the way to conduct a market map of any organisation normally involves speaking to or mapping out personnel at a level both above and below the intended target as well.

In either case, if it’s a global organisation or a business that has stakeholders overseas it is probable that they will set their voicemail to explain that there is a public holiday in their country/state/postcode and that they will be unavailable for x amount of days. If you’re lucky they will go one step further and state that “if the matter is urgent, then you can contact me on my mobile xxxx xxx xxx”… BINGO!

For the internet researcher, this trick also rings true for ‘Out-of-office’ auto responses although I would only contact a potential candidate by email if I have already left a voice message indicating that I will provide further information regarding my call. For a relatively junior position, you might get a point of contact, or what’s more likely with today’s new smartphones is that they’ll have direct access to their emails anyway. Either way, you’re in.

Disclaimer: I do not condone the use of sending spam in the hope of finding a direct number or mobile number of your intended target. A tactic like this will only work to bring your personal and organisation’s brand into disrepute and further ensure that spam filters are enhanced which contribute to causing more false positives.

[Photo by Earthworm]

5 Responses to “Voicemail and ‘Out-of-office’ trick”

  1. That’s not really a hint or trick. It’s just a voice message or the out-of-office auto response?…

    • I think Ken was subtly hinting at the potential exploit from people’s voice messages and out-of-office replies. Often they provide too much information but in many cases it’s a necessary exposure to maintain that ‘real-people’ touch.

      Either way, read between the lines – he prefaced the article with the up-coming public holidays.

  2. I don’t get the bit about Melbourne Cup day? Please excuse my ignorance, I’m a sourcer based in Macau.

  3. It may sound really simple and duh! to most people, but it remains one of the best and informative way to get into the organisation!

    Simply send a few hours to ring through the extension numbers (20 numbers before & after the phone number you know) and you could get loads of names. With names + employer name, you can then use Boolean to find out their title and soon develope an org chart =)

    I used that to map out the Google Singapore Office a few years back and I eventually got my own extension list which is as good as the receptionist’s!


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