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Voice Mail Etiquette

Tags:  Looking for work

What is it about the telephone and voice mail that gets people so tongue tied or relaxed that they trip over their good manners and wind up leaving messages that ramble, stumble and ultimately embarrass them?


It doesn't matter if you are meeting a recruiter or hiring manager face-to-face or if you are speaking to them over the phone, if you want to leave a good first impression, you should follow these Guideposts.


1. Leave Coherent Messages


When you call and leave a voice mail for someone who has contacted you for a potential employment opportunity, you need to be sure that regardless of the situation you always act like a professional.


Leaving disjointed, interrupted, incoherent and muffled messages that leave the recruiter or hiring manager scratching their head, will only wind up getting your name scratched off the list of candidates to consider.


Before you ever leave a message for a potential new employer be sure you know who you are calling and why. Plan out the message that you want to leave. Be sure to speak clearly and slowly including your name and phone number. Never assume they know who you are or how to reach you.


2. Be Prepared; Know Who You Are Calling


It's easy to make a fool of yourself if you are not prepared when you return someone's call. Be sure to have all the details about who you are calling and why before you ever pick up the phone. You never know if you will be able to reach the person or not, so you should be prepared for either situation.


If you do find your call going to voice mail, then be prepared to leave the type of message that is clear and succinct. Don't ramble on needlessly or provide useless additional information. Have a purpose for your call and stay on point.


3. Speak clearly; don't race or mumble.


If you've  ever received a voice message where the person spoke so quickly that you had to play it over and over again to try to figure out who it is, what they are calling about and how to contact them, then you understand. Have some sympathy for recruiters who see a lot of candidates over the course of a week and therefore receive a lot of phone messages.


Don't race through your message like there is some place you would rather be. Take your time. Take a breath or two and think about what it is that you need to say.


4. Don't hunt down or stalk the recruiter


A cardinal rule when calling about an employment opportunity: never let them see (or hear) you sweat. Realize that people do get busy and many times cannot return your call as quickly as they (or you) might like. No one is sitting around by their phone waiting for you to call.


Your best avenue, if you find that your call is not being returned as quickly as you would like, is to provide options. This way when the recruiter calls back – and you're not available – they can choose an option.


The fact is that even though you are interacting by phone instead of in person, you still need to be professional and courteous. Don't forget that this is still about an employment opportunity and you always should be on your best behavior.

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