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What to Do in Your Job Search Before the Phone Rings

You’ve done your job search homework. You’ve adopted the 5 Habits of an Effective Job Seeker.  It’s time to reap the rewards of your hard work and move on to the next step – the phone interview.To help get you through this crucial step, today we’re sharing three simple must-do steps to prepare for the phone interview.

  • 1. Put the right phone number on your resume and in your contact information.

  • This is not just a correct phone number, but the best number for a potential employer to call. Make sure you think it through.

    Because many employers call – rather than e-mail – to set up a phone interview, you want to make sure that you use a phone number on your resume where you can be reached – and that will reflect well on you.Choosing the right number to list on your resume can be tricky:
    If you are currently employed, never list your work phone number on your resume. Even if the best place to reach you is at work, the impression you will leave is that you are comfortable using your current employer’s resources to look for a job – and that doesn’t sit well with most hiring managers.Only list your cell number if you experience good reception at least 90% of the time. That sounded like an interesting job but I couldn’t hear what it was through all the static.

    Landlines can be great as the reception is always clear, but coach anyone in your household on the way you’d like them to handle a call from a potential employer for you. If a child regularly answers your phone, you may want to use a different number.

    Alternative option: Create a Google Voice number that will ring where – and when – you tell it to.

    2. Invite people to leave you a voice mail.

    You know how it important it is to look good on paper; you also need a great greeting for your voice mail.

    If an employer calls you and receives a generic “this party is not available right now – please leave a message” response, they may wonder if they have the right number and choose not to leave a message at all.

    Create a simple message with your first and last name. Invite people to leave their contact information, and – ideally – give a window of when they can expect a response.


    “Hi, this is Jane Clarke. I’m not available right now, but please leave me your name, phone number, and your email address and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours. Thanks for calling!”

    Make sure your message is clear and that your tone sounds friendly and professional. 

    3. When the phone rings, don’t be afraid to say you can’t talk.

    Even if a hiring manager says, “this isn’t an interview” – all phone conversations are part of the hiring process, and many “first conversations” are also the last.

    If you’re in an active job search, don’t answer calls from strangers in sports arenas, bars, or other crowded venues. As soon as you say hello, you need to be able to respond in “hire me” mode – and if you’re not in a position to do this, you need to postpone.

    It’s always okay to say, “I’m not in a quiet place right now, can we set up a time to speak?” Make sure you have a pen and paper close at hand to get the details down. Even if your iPhone is amazing, you should never put your potential interviewer on hold so that you can take down details while you are talking!

    Give folks the right number, convey your professionalism on the other end of the line, and put our upcoming tips for phone interviews to work – and you’ll be all set to start talking about how you can do the job!

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