Phone Etiquette Reminders for the Modern Job-Seeker

In our current world where texts, e-mails, instant messages, and social medial communication have overshadowed, to the point of virtually replacing, voice interaction, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of basic telephone etiquette.  Phone Etiquette - image of 2 iphone screensWhen it comes to job searching, however, this protocol couldn’t be more crucial.

While the use of Smartphones has altered our phone practices from what they were even 10-15 years ago, there are still certain fundamentals which consistently hold true.


Be prepared.

The first imperative piece of advice is to always list your cell number as your main contact for potential employers and hiring managers, on your resume or online job application.  Naturally, listing your current work number is out of the question for obvious reasons, even if you have a direct line to your personal desk or office.  Besides being unprofessional, you have no guarantee you are speaking on a secure line, or you can’t be heard by others in the office.  Although many people do opt to include their home number, you are risking having others answer the call or even missing the call you’ve been waiting for altogether.

If you are in the process of job searching, this is definitely the time to make sure your cell phone is fully charged and within reach (barring use while driving, of course).  It may be best to refrain from answering during times when there is a great deal of background noise which could be distracting to you, as well as a prospective employer.  Just be sure to promptly return the call at your earliest convenience.

Additionally, you want to be sure that your outgoing voice mail message gives a responsible impression, should a hiring manager hear it when calling you.  It’s always best to assure that your message resonates as simple and courteous with your name clearly stated.  Pre-recorded novelty messages can give employers an impression of unprofessionalism.


Protocol in place.

Once the preliminaries are set, it’s time to make sure that your first interaction with a prospective employer goes as smoothly as possible.

  1. Have a memorized or pre-written message ready if you must leave a voice mail for a hiring manager.  It’s best not to “ad lib” on your first voice message recording.  When leaving your message, be sure to repeat your name and number twice, at both the beginning and end of your message, and speak clearly so they can write down your information without the message needing to be replayed.


  1. If speaking directly to the prospective employer, be sure to sound professional and ready for the conversation. The best way to initiate the dialog is to say, “Hi, this is (your name) calling about the (position) advertised in/on Phone Etiquette - woman speaking on cell phone(publication or website). Would this be an OK time to speak?”


  1. Once you have begun a conversation with the hiring manager, be sure to utilize that time to schedule an interview/meeting. Only speak in further detail if they wish to, as some employers use this time to screen applicants for interviews.


  1. Providing all has gone well, and you’ve landed the interview, be sure to maintain your level of professionalism by not using your cell phone while meeting with your potential employer. Many agree it’s best to refrain from the moment you enter the building.  In fact, turning it off and leaving it in your pocket or handbag, or even locking it in your car is a good way to avoid temptation.


  1. While a brief follow-up call a few weeks following your interview is not unacceptable, many candidates opt to utilize e-mail for this purpose in the form of a “thank you” to their interviewer. You certainly do not want to pester your prospective employer with countless phone calls, reiterating your skills.  It’s possible they may not have an availability that suits your abilities at this moment, but that doesn’t mean they won’t at a later date.  If you have followed the directions of the job posting and applied for a position that matches your skills, they will call you if they believe your qualifications are a match for the job.  Endless phone calls will not get you in the door quicker; if anything, it will hurt your chances.


Following these basic phone etiquette guidelines while job seeking, will surely boost your status among fellow candidates.  The contemporary job hunter who has not lost sight of the simple courtesies of the past will often find the most success in the future.


By Fred Coon, CEO


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