Phone Etiquette for Job Seekers

It may seem silly that I am posting solely based on how to speak with potential employers via telephone… however, it is a skill that many applicants lack. They are nervous, unprepared, and not clearly giving or receiving the right messages. I hope to shine some light on helpful hints on how to effectively and professionally speak with potential employers to help you land the job you're after.

First and most importantly Speak Clearly!!!  It is important that you enunciate and if you're a “fast talker” take a deep breath and slow down when you are speaking. If you know that you are a soft-spoken person, try to turn up the volume so that you are well heard.

Secondly, you must always Be Professional. If you have a phone interview at 2 pm, call 10 to 15 minutes before 2 pm. Also be sure to have a professional demeanor, do not speak in slang terms to your future employers; that is the best way not to land a job. A professional demeanor shows you care about your appearance to others and shows you can be relied upon.

Always Be Polite! Even if the person you are first speaking with isn’t the person hiring, you should always be extremely polite. They are the person between you and a great job.  

Have a voice-mail set up with a professional message. Voice-mail doesn’t cost extra these days so there is no excuse to have it not set up or have a full voice-mail box. The message should also be a simple message that includes your name and asks callers to leave their information and you will get back in touch with them soon. Music, pranks, and slang have no place on your voice-mail if you are looking for a job. Think about it this way, this may be the only impression you get to leave with a future employer. I have known many employers that discard applicants because their voice-mail didn’t seem like a professional applicant.

No Ring Back Tones! I never got the point of these but none the less, please don’t use these while job seeking. Your future employer doesn’t need to know that you listen to rap or heavy metal when they call you. The only thing they should hear when calling you is a gentle but oh so familiar ringing sound.

Last but certainly not least, if you are job-seeking…..Answer your phone including numbers you don’t know. I know I’m guilty of letting an unfamiliar number go to voice-mail because I don’t want to waste my time talking to a wrong number etc….however when I was in search of a job I always answered my phone. From the perspective of a recruiter at a Staffing Firm, it is an advantage to answer right away because if you don’t answer and we are seriously trying to fill a position, we don’t wait for you to call back. We move on to the next applicant on our list. That missed call you have could be a missed job opportunity.