I am curious as to what everyone's take is on leaving voice mail. This of course is only pertaining to cold calling passive candidates or clients. Do you leave a voice mail when you can't get a hold of them? Or do you find it better to have some planted as you call though your list?
Always leave a voice mail message if you want a call back. And it should be one that is understandable, friendly and is not too long, or too short...but is just right. Name, subject and call back info works best.
I've had messages that are rushed and end with a garbled name and/or a garbled call back phone number. Or it's a message that sounds aggressive, bordering on unfriendly--from complete strangers.
There have been times where I've had colleagues try to decipher what I cannot understand in a voice message...and it's not in a foreign language.
I'll try to reach a person I'm sure has the right skills for my opportunity at least a few days over the phone without a v/m. If by the 3rd-4th day I'll leave a brief message with my private line ensuring the call gets directly to me without the switchboard.
I've found caller ID does work against me as I have a blocked/private line, so they often won't pick up not knowing who it is using v/m as a screening device. If I call enough times without leaving a message often curiosity gets the better of them. Nothing beats repetitive phone calls as the message to the person is if you're trying that hard to reach them, start leaving a v/m every day to call you back, then eventually your hard work pays off and you'll connect.
I agree with all the responses here, especially Tim's
Joel, I also debated whether or not to leave voicemails. Messages left on a landline are the least likely message to be returned. That said, I've found that leaving voicemails is effective. It helps prospects recognize your name and provides a little bit of warmth to your cold call.
I have been leaving voice mail for 20 years now. If they are interested they will call back.