Phone Etiquette and the Job Hunt

Phone Etiquette and the Job Hunt

By Sarah Coyle

The telephone is a vital tool in your job search. Job seekers use the phone to contact employers and professionals about possible job opportunities, find information about a workplace, and set up interviews. In addition, you may receive calls from employers who want to conduct a pre-screening interview over the phone or schedule a meeting.

A phone call is one way to establish a personal connection with companies and independent professionals. Here are some tips to help you create a favourable impression over the phone.

Phone etiquette

•Make sure you’re in a relatively quiet area. If there is too much background noise, let the person know that you will call them back in five minutes once you are in a quiet space.
•Smile. A smile will create a bright, warm tone in your voice, which the other person will appreciate.
•Always be courteous and respectful.
•Have pen and paper handy in case you need to write down important information.
•At the end of the call, thank the person for taking time to speak with you.
•Keep a record of who you spoke to, when, and why for future reference.

Answering calls

•Answer a call in one to three rings. Picking up the phone before one complete ring may seem too abrupt for the caller, while answering the phone after three rings may make the caller impatient.

Making calls

•Identify yourself: “I’m John, an internationally educated engineer”; or, “I’m Lisa, from Company XYZ.”
•Promptly state the purpose of your call. By sticking to the point, you are acknowledging that the other person’s time is important.
•Ask the person if it’s a convenient time to talk. Let them know how much time approximately you are requesting for the phone call: “Do you have five minutes to chat? Is this time convenient for you?”
•Apologize if you have called the wrong number. Don’t keep the other person on the line or try to assert that you have the correct number. Say “I’m sorry. I must have the wrong number. Have a good day,” and end the call.

Voice mail

•Leave a short voicemail if the other person is not available. State your first and last name and the date and time of your message. Explain your reason for calling and give your phone number. Speak slowly and clearly so that it’s easy for the other person to note your contact details.
•Before calling an employer back, check your voice mail to see if they have left you a message. Check and clear your voice messages regularly.
•Make sure that your voice mail is set up with a clear short message that lets people know they have reached the right number and that you will call them back as soon as you can. For example: “This is Lin. I am currently unavailable. Please leave a detailed message and your phone number, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.”

By demonstrating your confidence, initiative, and professionalism over the phone, you can distinguish yourself from other potential candidates and gain valuable information that will help you find your dream job.

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