Monday, August 01, 2005

Phone Courtesies – Basics

As a recruiting industry professional, I spend hundreds of hours on the phone. Some people get that phone etiquette is important. Others act like they never had a parent teach them basic courtesies, one of which is how to use the phone to the advantage of everyone.

When I was trying to get my first job out of college as an eager college student, I had the privilege of networking with a busy lawyer, Mike Sullivan. Mike was and is known for being whip smart, well connected and friendly. I called Mike’s office and left him a voice message early in the morning. Late in the day, his administrative assist called me to let me know that Mike’s schedule was hectic and while he wanted to return my call, would be unable. She went on to indicate alternative times when I could expect to hear from him. Efficiently within 48 hours of my first call to him, he did call during one of those “time windows” proposed in the call with his admin. I was impressed that he thought enough of my call to let me know that same day he couldn’t call back promptly. That interaction has always left a lasting impression on me. By the way, Mike went on to have a very distinguished career including being Governor of Wyoming, an Ambassador to Ireland and continues to be an excellent attorney. (

My point is this: being prompt in returning calls sends a message that the caller and their message are important to you. If you don’t call back – especially over repeated attempts to establish a connection then you are sending a message about you. Keep that in mind as you choose or don’t choose to follow up on calls in your voicemail box. As a client or as a candidate, being prompt in your response sends a message like no other behavior. Think about it.

Have an awesome August.