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Why Do You Have Unprofessional Voicemail Instructions?

Right now, if a recruiter or hiring manager were to dial your phone number and be instructed to leave you a voicemail, what would be heard?  If you are using any one of these examples below, let’s talk about it:

  1. “Hey, you know what to do!” BEEP
  2. “I’m not at home right now, but…(321 words later).” BEEP
  3. Loud Music Only; (heavy metal, country, hip-hop, orchestra, etc.) BEEP
  4. Celebrity Voice; “Here’s an Offer You Can’t Refuse –  leave me your number, or else!” BEEP
  5. Cartoon Voice; “Helluuuuu, boys and girls! Leave me a message!” BEEP
  6. Multiple Family-Member Voices; “Hi, this is Jen, and this is Matt, and this is…(list continues down through the sounds of the baby gurgling)..” BEEP
  7. “This is Bob, I’m not a slob, I want a job, don’t be a snob; leave a message!” BEEP
  8. Profanity; “#+&$68%@1##” BEEP

Unprofessional Voicemail Instructions | AGI Hospitality Recruiting When you’re a job seeker, your voicemail instructions must be professional.  This goes in conjunction with having a professional email address and answering the phone in a professional manner.  This is part of the three-pronged strategy that you need to balance the entire “professional you.”  It will take a conscience effort to make sure that you are increasing the odds in your favor, and not being “passed over” simply because of any negative first impressions.

These are two examples of a professional voicemail message:

  1. “Hello.  You have reached Sarah at 555.555.5555.  I’m sorry that I am missing your call.  Please leave me a detailed message, and I’ll be sure to return you call as soon as I can.  Thank you.”
  1. “Hello.  You have reached 555.555.5555.  Your call is important to me, so please leave me a detailed message so I can return your call. Thank you.”

The two main points of your voicemail instruction message is 1) to help the caller confirm that the correct number was dialed, and 2) that they only have to wait just a few seconds to hear the BEEP that will prompt them to leave a voicemail.

Keep it simple, quick, and precise.  Pay attention to how your voice will sound to the caller.  Are you speaking too fast, too slurred, or too incoherent?  Decide on three sentences you will say on your voicemail instruction and practice speaking it until it sounds professional and like a natural speech pattern.  Remember:  the voicemail instruction isn’t to display how cute or clever you are – the purpose is to invite others to leave a voicemail so you can call them back.  If you are hearing more hang-up-clicks when you retrieve your voicemail rather than actual voicemails, then that could be the hint you need to consider why that is happening.

Do you have other professional voicemail instruction ideas that you are using that you would like to share?  We’re interested in hearing about them!  Comment on this post, or email us at recruitment@agimanagement.com .

TAGS: hiring manager, job seeker, recruiter

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…

Caller:  Sure.

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?

Caller: Pardon?

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.

Answer Your Phone Professionally | Top 5 Strategies | AGI Hospitality Recruiting

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Only answer the phone if you have a solid ten minutes to devote to a surprise unexpected phone interview opportunity.
  3. Answer the phone if you are ready to talk about your job-search goals and what you included in your resume.
  4. If you are in the middle of a bad mood or in the car driving, let the call go into voicemail.
  5. 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?

Need some help in this area?  We can help you!  Email us at recruitment@agimanagement.com with your questions, and we’ll be happy to help you find a solution!

TAGS: hiring manager, Interview, recruiter