Answer the Phone Professionally
Mark’s phone rings. It wakes him up from a cozy deep nap in the middle of the day. He’s not quick-minded yet, but he answers his phone anyway.
Mark: (groggy voice) Hello, uh, hello? Yeah?
Caller: Hello, is this Mark Smith?
Mark: Ah, yeah, it’s me, uh, Mark. Smith, Mark Smith.
Caller: This is Bob Jones with 123HireMe. Is this a good time to talk, or did I catch you at a bad time?
Mark: Uh, no, man. This is a good time. I just woke up, so I’m, uh, hold on a minute…
Mark: (noises, coughing, dog barking in the background) Okay. Who is this again?
Caller: Bob Jones with 123HireMe. I am looking at your resume, and I wanted to talk to you about the opportunity that…
Mark: (interrupting) What? You got my resume?
Caller: Yes. I see that you have experiences in…
Mark: (interrupting again) Where?
Mark: Where did you get my resume?
Caller: Well, you posted it on GetaJobNow.
Mark: Oh. Man, that was a while ago. Uh, what do you need?
Caller: It sounds like I’ve caught you at an inconvenient time today. I can call you back, if you’d like.
Mark: Well, okay. Or I can call you? Hold on a minute. (more sounds, irritable phone static, mumbling) Just looking for something to write with here. Uh, hold on, okay?
Caller: No rush on that, Mark. I’ll just call you back at a better time.
Mark: Well, if you want.
Caller: Thanks, Mark. Bye now.
Comical, isn’t it? More like a sad comedy, because chances are the Caller will probably not make it a priority to call Mark back any time soon. Mark already made his very first impression when he answered the phone and attempted to communicate. The Caller is left with the assumption that Mark isn’t really a serious job seeker. Of course, Mark could be a very serious job seeker; but if so, Mark would have decided ahead of time to allow the call to go into his voicemail so he could return the call when he was wide awake and ready to talk about a job opportunity.
Anna is out with her friends eating lunch, and her phone rings. She answers it.
Anna: Hello? Shhh… you guys! Hello?
Caller: Is this Anna Sanders?
Anna: Yes, this is Anna. Shhh… hey, you guys… I’m on the phone, be quiet!
Caller: This is Bob Jones with 123HireMe. Is this a good time to talk a little bit about your resume?
Anna: Yes, it is! I’m just eating lunch with my friends. Go ahead.
Caller: Sounds like you’re busy. I’d like to call you back if I could.
Anna: No, no, no. It’s fine. Go ahead. Shh… give me a pen, somebody! (sounds of giggles and more sushing from Anna’s friends)
Caller: Okay. Your resume indicates that you’re interested in…
Anna: (interrupts) I didn’t hear you. Can you repeat that? Hello, are you there?
Caller: Yes, I’m here. Anna, I think I’ll call you back.
Anna: No, really, go ahead. I can hear you now.
What do you think the Caller did next? Speak louder? Speak slower? Unintentionally hit the call-end button? If you were the Caller, what would be your first impression of Anna?
Take to heart this wisdom nugget: When you are a serious job seeker, it is vital that you answer your phone from a recruiter or potential hiring manager when you are in the best situation possible to communicate effectively. You cannot do that when you are suddenly awakened, when the dog is barking or the baby is crying, when you are driving, or when you are in a very noisy place. It’s best to decide ahead of time to allow such important calls to go into your voicemail and not risk making a bad first impression. It is a gamble to answer the phone when something is competing for your complete attention. The Caller can tell if you are “connected” to the conversation or not. Of course, if you are qualified enough for that job and the Caller really wants to talk to you no matter what, it’s your decision if you are willing to roll the dice and answer regardless of where you are or what you are doing.
Consider doing these TOP FIVE strategies as you plan to make your first impression over the phone with your potential new boss:
- Make it Rule #1 that you will not answer the phone unless you are in a quiet and stress-free place, and let your family/friends understand that too.
- Only answer the phone if you have a solid ten minutes to devote to a surprise unexpected phone interview opportunity.
- Answer the phone if you are ready to talk about your job-search goals and what you included in your resume.
- If you are in the middle of a bad mood or in the car driving, let the call go into voicemail.
- If you are eating with family or friends, excuse yourself to a quiet area before you answer the phone.
Remember: Rewind is NOT an option! You might be given the chance for a Start-Over, but why risk that in the event that you aren’t?
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