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JRL Executive Recruiters
Offices in: Liberty, MO & Altanta, GA

JRL Executive Search


Job Hunter Phone Etiquette

The internet has dozens of suggestions for interviews.  In this day and age more and more telephone contacts are made during the hiring process and many preliminary interviews are made on the phone. So we are providing a few tips on how to use the phone to your advantage in your Job search.


Make sure you have given a correct phone number..preferably in several places in your application paperwork. Keep your phone operational...charge the batteries.

Anticipate a call...be prepared. Keep a log near your phone with company names, key players, job title, and perhaps qualifications matching the job for which you applied. Be prepared with a brief recap of experience (1-3 minutes max). You don't want to be asking a lot of questions about "What job is this?" "I've mailed a lot applications can you give me more information about who you are?"   These kinds of questions indicate a disorganized and perhaps desperate person.

Be enthusiastic, speak slowly and distinctly. Phone interview killers are things like:

  • Silly or unprofessional answering device messages
  • Kids who don't get or give proper information and who sometimes make embarrassing statements, "Mom's going to the bathroom."
  • Horrid background noises: i.e. tv, vaccuums, fights.
  • Putting someone on hold while you take another call.

Carry the conversation. Ask about the company's immediate goals. How can you meet those? Ask the interviewer about their own background...this can be insightful.

If you miss a call, return it asap even if you have to leave a message and make a second call later. Leave your full name and the job for which you applied so the caller can identify you.

If the caller rings at a bad time, show enthusiasm about their call and regrets about your previous engagement. Try to arrange a fixed time for another try.

When the conversation is ending, ask for a person-to-person interview. i.e. "There is only so much we can cover on the phone. I know you are busy but I would like to meet with you. When do you think we can get together?" (Try not to leave the next step to chance.)

Immediately after the call, write a short thank-you note. Something likee "Thank you for taking time to discuss the engineering position today. Our phone conversation gave me a a better understanding of the job. I would welcome the opportunity for a face-to-face interview to discuss my candidacy in relation to your business requirements."

Telephone, and for that matter any interview, No-Nos.

Don't bad-mouth former bosses.

Don't volunteer skeletons but be prepared with an answer for uncomfortable situations in your work history.

Never discuss, Salary, Security, Benefits, Amenities, Hours and the like in an initial interview unless the interviewer brings it up.   Listen and if possible defer tactfully by stating something like, "Let's see if I am right for the job before we get into benefits and perks."