Voicemail - Phone Etiquette

Happy August.  Last month, I conducted a survey of my staff, other recruiters, and hiring managers throughout the Tulsa area.  I asked them to provide me with the top reasons they chose not to pursue a candidate or applicant.  Approximately 500 responded and every single respondent had a common answer:  poor phone etiquette.   I dove deeper to seek out some advice to pass along to you, and this is what I found.

  1. Your personal Voicemails: what does the message sound like?  Is it professional, is there even a voicemail? It is your brand- make sure it matches you!
  2. How you leave Voicemails: The telephone can be one of the most powerful tools in your job search when it's used correctly. But used inexpertly and it can sink you. Approximately 75% of the time, you will receive someone’s voicemail.  Great voicemails can get an e-mail response or a returned call, but poor voicemails can really hinder job seekers from getting a response.  Long-winded, wordy, winding voicemails turn off recipients and decrease your chances of success.
    1. Here is what you leave:

                                                              i.      Name (twice) – in the beginning of message and the end

                                                            ii.      Phone number (twice, slowly) – beginning and end

                                                          iii.      Reminder that you exist / have previously interacted

                                                          iv.      An upbeat message

                                                            v.      A pleasant reiteration of your interest or your question

                                                          vi.      A graceful exit

Here is an example of a best practice voicemail:

"Hi Carey, its Mattie Murley at 918-551-7767. I wanted to touch base with you to let you know how excited I am about the administrative assistant position you have posted on your website - Job 1326. As I mentioned when we interviewed, I have 10 years of administrative assistance experience, so I feel this could be a great fit. Thanks, Carey, and, again, it's Mattie [stop and tiny pause] Murley [stop and tiny pause] 918-551[stop and tiny pause] 7767 [stop and tiny pause]. I look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks, Carey!"

What's right here?
1. Its short and pleasant – about 30 seconds is the right amount of time.
2. Mattie gave her phone number and repeated her full name (slowly) twice. No need to replay the message to get this information.
3. Mattie is upbeat without being needy or pushy.
4. My advice on phone follow-up is: call one time per week for five weeks. That lets them know that you're consistently interested, without appearing desperate.

5. "I've spent 10 years" — she reminds Carey of her highly relevant qualifications without giving her whole resume and it also shows she knows the needs of the client.
6. She doesn't try to do things that voicemail can't — close the deal, set a time to talk, make long-winded arguments about her fit for the position, or push the timetable faster than it is going.


I hope these tips are helpful!  Enjoy what’s left of summer!