Manners, Manners, Manners!

» Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in coaching, job search, networking | 2 comments

Manners, Manners, Manners!

It’s been a busy week of phone interviewing for me as I continue two recruiting searches. After what feels like countless hours on the phone, here are some tips for job seekers on phone interview etiquette.

  • Ringtone/voice mail. If you aren’t able to answer your phone, your voice mail message and/or ringtone should be professional. It’s great if you have a message that has your voice saying “You’ve reached Jane Doe” or something along those lines…otherwise, I always wonder if I got the right number or not. If you have not taken the time to set up a voice mailbox and I get a message saying “You cannot contact the subscriber because their voice mail box is not yet set up” that’s not going to help you land a job.
  • Energy. Do your best to project energy and enthusiasm for the position. Try standing up and smiling while you are talking – I’ll hear it in your voice.
  • Other people. Do not let other people answer your phone unless they have been trained to take messages and deliver them to you. If other people do answer your phone, do not scream at them “I told you not to answer my phone, you idiot!!” I can hear you and this is not the impression you want to make on me.
  • Call screening. A disturbing new trend has been occurring in the last couple of weeks. A job seeker answers the phone, I ask to speak with them, they say “Jane isn’t available right now” or something along those lines. When I respond that I have their resume and am calling them to talk about a job, they say “Oh hi, this actually is Jane! I was just screening my calls.” I understand you may get unwanted calls on your phone, and this is one way to deal with them, but it doesn’t make the best impression on an interviewer.
  • Call waiting. While we are talking you get another call. This happens, I get it. I can tell it’s happening because there is subtle noise/gap in conversation. That doesn’t bother me. What does bother me? “Hold on, I am getting another call.” What?!?! Let the other call go to voice mail and try your best to stay focused on our conversation.
  • Disconnect. If we get disconnected, the person who initiated the call is responsible for calling back. I learned this handy tip from Arden Clise of Clise Etiquette.

Since I like to focus on the positive, here are some things job seekers did to impress me this week! It made them stand out from the crowd…in a good way.

  • Confirm. Once we have a phone interview scheduled, send me an email a couple of hours ahead of time like this “I’m looking forward to our call at 2 p.m. Pacific. You can reach me at 206-555-1212.” I’ll be impressed that you’re being proactive and confirming all of the important details ahead of time.
  • Refer a friend. After you listen to me describe the job, you may realize it’s not for you. But, you think of someone else you know that’s perfect for the position. I’ll be impressed with your level of self-awareness and your willingness to help out others.
  • Be a sleuth. Even though I haven’t mentioned the name of my client prior to our call, you did a little sleuthing on your own and have identified a couple of likely candidates. When I tell you who it is, you impress me with your knowledge of them and the fact that you have already gone to their website and done some research.
  • Make me laugh. Phone interviewing can be tedious business for both the interviewer and interviewee! I always appreciate someone who has  great sense of humor and manages to find something amusing in our conversation.

Good luck on your interviews!


Like what you read? You can subscribe to this blog! Or share it with your friends using the buttons below.

Please visit my Expecting Change Facebook page for ongoing discussions about careers.

Andrea Ballard, Career Coach

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Such great tips Andrea. I am shocked people would take a second call while talking to you. Oh my. But then, I keep hearing of people answering their phones while in job interviews. Double oh my!!

    I love the positive things people have done that you mention. And, thank you for sharing my tip on who calls back when a call drops.

  2. Arden, thanks for the comment! There’s lots of things people do to surprise me…but they’re usually good.