The Call That Could Get You Hired

If HR rings you, call back quickly. If you email or text, the gig might be gone.

The Call That Could Get You Hired

With the many ways we communicate today, a simple phone call could be all that it takes to secure that job you’ve been hoping for. Despite the simplicity of telephones, some Human Resource Managers are reporting they still see job applicants taking their dear sweet time to return calls. Or, even worse, not returning the call at all and instead emailing or texting back to the potential boss.


With help from some of those HR managers, here is a short phone etiquette crash course–for those looking for a job and for everyone else as well:

How promptly should a call be returned and why?
Calls or emails should be returned within 24 hours whenever possible. This shows the employer or potential employer you take your position in the company seriously and understand the importance of the employee & employer relationship.
Kevin Barrios, Human Resources Manager,

What does it say about someone who does not return a phone call within 24 to 48 hours?
Before assuming he or she is not interested, I try to ensure that this person is okay–no car accidents, no sick family members, etc. If that is not the case, then my assumption is that I am a ‘fallback job’ while he or she waits on a job offer from another company. If the passion and enthusiasm is not there pre-hire, it will not ever be there!
Lorraine Grubbs, President, Lessons in Loyalty

Will you still hire someone who has made the phone faux pas of waiting a few days to return the call?

If the candidate for the position has all the qualifications needed for the role, I would carefully weigh and balance this decision looking at the qualities and skills this candidate brings to the table, the reasons given for their delayed response, and their reaction to the job offer. I will, however, always choose a candidate with fewer skills, less education or lower certifications who has a get-things-done-right attitude over someone that has all the credentials but no gumption.
Kari Schoeffler, VP of Marketing Services, Energy Media Services

Is it okay to return a phone call with a text or an email?
There is actually a bigger issue with this–when I call and get no response, then text and get an immediate response, it infuriates me. Usually, when you can take time to text you can take time for a call. Or at least tell me in your text that you will call me back shortly. I cannot have employees dictate their preferred means of communication. I am in the communications business, client demands are high, and response time is short.
Doug Harris, President and Chief Creative Officer, Noisemaker Communications

Most agree that circumstances are often beyond our control and conspire to keep us from returning calls in a timely manner. With that said, you can almost always find a way to let someone know you are indisposed and that you will return the call at your earliest convenience. As long as you have a phone and give people your phone number, you must return calls within 24 to 48 hours.


It says a phonebook of information about you when you don’t.

Dayna Steele is a serial entrepreneur, success speaker, and the author of 101 Ways to Rock Your World, based on the Fast Company post 5 Things To Do Every Day for Success. Follow her on Twitter @daynasteele.

[Image: Flickr user Peter Morgan]


About the author CEO Dayna Steele is a success author, business speaker, and occasional golfer. Dayna spent years working with the greatest rock stars in the world