How to cold call a hiring manager for a job opportunity

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 28 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

While cold calling can be challenging, it often provides an effective way of sourcing job opportunities. Calling hiring managers and introducing yourself can give you an advantage over other candidates and help you learn about job vacancies before companies advertise them. Learning a structured technique for cold calling can help you present yourself professionally to hiring managers, recruiters and prospective employers. In this article, we explain how to cold call hiring managers for a job opportunity, explain what cold calling involves and provide tips and techniques to help you succeed.

How to cold call a hiring manager for a job opportunity

When you do it confidently, cold calling can help you gain real momentum in your job search. A systematic and thorough approach gives you the best chance of connecting with someone who requires your work skills. Here are nine steps you can follow to learn how to cold call a hiring manager for a job opportunity:

Related: 15 Questions To Ask a Hiring Manager and The Importance

1. Identify appropriate contacts

Undertake detailed research into the company to identify the right person to contact about the role you're interested in. Human resources is typically a great place to start as they have oversight of hiring opportunities across the organisation. Even if a human resources professional is not intimately familiar with the role or department, they may put you in touch with someone who is.

2. Pick the right time to call

Cold calling is most effective at quieter times of the business day or week. For example, closing time on a Friday and early Monday morning are often busy times in workplaces, and employees may not have the time to talk with you. One of the best times to call is after lunch hour, as people are usually back at their desks and feeling settled.

3. Make a note of things to mention during the call

In a notepad, write down the important things to mention during your call. Useful information to have available includes specific skills, instances where you used your skills and your phone number if you haven't memorised it. It's also worth keeping your diary nearby in case you want to schedule a follow-up call or an interview.

4. Address your contacts by name

If you have the name of someone you want to contact, be sure to use their name when greeting them over the phone and throughout your conversation. This personalised approach can be great for building rapport and often helps to impress your contact. Addressing contacts by name also helps to keep the conversation relaxed and may allow the contact to be more open when speaking with you.

5. Be confident

A cold call is your first opportunity to positively impact an organisation you wish to join. Do your best to project confidence when contacting hiring managers or departmental heads. When speaking by phone, professionals can learn a lot about you from your tone of voice and manner during the phone call.

6. Introduce yourself properly

A confident introduction is the best way to start a cold call and help establish the conversation's tone. Clearly say your name and mention the person who referred you if appropriate. Prepare a concise opening statement to let them know why you're calling, for example, 'Hello, my name is Martin Smith. Phoebe in HR advised me to contact you about upcoming opportunities in your sales department'.

7. Explain your work experience

If you get the opportunity to share more about yourself, give real-life examples of your experience and skills in prior roles. Tell the hiring manager what skills you have, and go further by showing how they've helped you achieve personal or team goals. This can give hiring managers an understanding of the impact you might have if they were to hire you.

8. Schedule a second call

Sometimes a cold call may allow you to schedule a more focused conversation with a hiring manager. If your contact is too busy to speak to you at the time you call, remain courteous and ask if you can make an appointment with them to continue the discussion. This shows you're patient and understanding, and they may offer you an alternative time slot.

9. Remember to follow up

Treat cold calls just like you would an interview. Thank your contact for their time, ask for their email address and follow up 24 hours later with correspondence. Personalise it by mentioning something specific about your conversation and any plans to communicate further. Thank them for their time, and express again how interested you are in the role.

Related: How to write an email to a hiring manager (with examples)

What is a cold call?

Cold calls are unsolicited phone calls you can make to a prospective employer to ask about opportunities at an organisation. You can use them to showcase your ambitious and self-starting approach, which hiring managers may consider valuable to their organisation. While results from cold calling can vary widely, they can often help you secure an interview or meeting with decision-makers in the company.

Related: What is a telemarketer? A guide with responsibilities and tips

Is cold calling worthwhile?

Cold calling is a good way to get your CV in front of a hiring manager before they see other applicants. While it may be challenging, it may put you in contact with a decision-maker that could help transform your career. Additionally, managers are likely to remember you more positively when attending an interview or starting a new role.

Use your network for cold calling

Your professional network can be an excellent source of contacts for job hunting. Email or call your contacts to see if they know of any open or upcoming roles that may be suitable for you. Many people find success in their job searches through recommendations from a person the hiring manager has worked with before and respects.

Last-minute cold calling tips

With the right approach and some patience, you can find success when cold calling an employer for a job. Use every call as an opportunity to sell yourself and don't let unsuccessful calls discourage you. Here are some tips for calling a potential employer about a position at their company:

Forward your application to the employer before calling

Forward your CV and cover letter to the hiring manager prior to calling them. Leave time between sending your CV and calling so you can be sure that your email has arrived. Prepare the hiring manager for the call by mentioning it in your cover letter.

Practise your opening line

When you call someone unexpectedly, it's a good idea to have an opening line to explain your purpose for calling. This shows that you're respectful of their time, as it immediately provides them with an idea of what to expect and gives them reasons to stay on the call. Try writing out and practising an opening statement that provides a compelling reason for the other person to keep listening. To get your delivery right, practise speaking out loud or with a friend or relative.

Related: How to create a successful cold call script, plus examples

Express your personality

Engage your contact by allowing some of your personality to come across in the call. Avoid being overly formal, and instead, be friendly and warm towards them. Use the conversation to make them happy that they answered your call.

Practise your voicemail message

It's a good idea to practise what to say on a voicemail message, as you're more likely to reach a contact's voicemail on a first attempt. Leaving a well-constructed voicemail increases the chances of a callback. In your message, let them know who you are, why you're calling, your contact information and when they can expect you to call back.

Related: What is cold calling?: A definitive guide (with advantages)

Arrange a follow-up plan

If you're unable to get through to the hiring manager, prepare a follow-up plan for when you attempt another phone call. Consider emailing them if you haven't heard from them by a certain time. If they advise you to call back when they have more availability, create a concise plan for the conversation so you can make an impact.

Explore more articles