Circumventing Gatekeepers Using Documented Voicemail System Features.

Voicemail Surfing: Circumventing Gatekeepers Using Documented Voicemail System Features.

Having trouble with gatekeepers? Do you need to speak to someone directly and keep getting the nth degree from the company receptionist or their administrative assistant?

I have read many articles with suggestions to resolve this problem. They usually involve rusing (aka lying), calling after hours and leaving a message for the person you need to speak to (wouldn’t you rather speak to them live?), or calling every extension at a company sequentially until you find them (who has time for this?).

What most recruiters and sourcers do not know, is that most voicemail systems have features that allow you to directly contact the person you need to speak to, without ever speaking to a receptionist or admin.

Over the years I have built ups a toolbox of tips and tricks that will allow you to “surf” voicemail systems and discover direct-dials, hidden dial-by-name directories, and generally avoid contact with gatekeepers to focus your efforts on the person you are trying to recruit.

I have written a white paper, which includes detailed instructions, as well as a quick reference guide to the different voicemail systems, that is available for download on our site. The paper is free and no registration is necessary.

To download the document in Adobe PDF format, go to the following link:
and click on the “Voicemail Surfing” link under “Download PDF”.

Please feel free to share the document (or the link) with your friends and colleagues.


Gregory Pankow
Candidate Development Project Manager
RW Stearns, Inc.

Views: 206

Comment by Slouch on January 28, 2009 at 2:22pm
Hey Gregory. You can embed the link to the document in the post. It's easy to do if you want. since phone systems hit the scene, it's much easier to get names of people at companies. Someone was on our side with that development.
Comment by Maureen Sharib on January 28, 2009 at 2:30pm

I read this article with interest this morning over on ERE.

I don't mind spending large amounts of time finding out who everyone is inside a company - at least at small to medium sized companies. As you said in the ERE piece:
The real gold behind an AudixTM system is its directory...With this, one could literally collect extensions for everyone in their voicemail system.
I agree! Now, here's my question. As a sourcer, I don't really care to talk to anyone on the inside of a company - I just want the names and titles for my customers. Collecting names off a Voicemail system is an invaluable tool for sourcers like me but leaves me challenged as to knowing what titles those folks might hold. How do you find out what titles those names possess?
Comment by Gregory Pankow on January 28, 2009 at 3:37pm

I just wrote you a lengthy reply, but accidentally nuked it.

Really the short version of my answer is this: Voicemail Surfing is a fantastic tool to get people you need to speak to on the phone directly. It is not, however, a substitute for good sourcing (phone sourcing is always the best.)

No voicemail system I have ever seen is going to be much help in getting titles.

I would also add a caveat that my article speaks about. Even if you have an extension of someone you know the title of, that is no guarantee that one extension up or down from that will be in the same department, let alone with a similar title.
Comment by Maureen Sharib on January 28, 2009 at 3:52pm
There sure isn't any guarantee. Thanks!


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