Some job seekers like to list their cell phone, work phone and home phone numbers on their resumes. For all intents and purposes, this isn't completely necessary. While listing your current work phone number is just plain unprofessional, putting your home phone number can be risky. Your parents, roommate or children might pick up the home line and while not necessarily intending to, they might ruin your chances of landing a job interview by saying something off putting. Therefore, I usually recommend just listing a cell phone number on a resume to play it safe. That being said, here are some basic rules to go by when engaging with potential employers over the phone.
1) Outgoing voice mail message - Make it basic and professional. While most job seekers let the generic cell phone company "voice" list the number only, I recommend creating a voice mail message that includes your name and quickly tells us you'll return our call as soon as you're able. Pronouncing your name on the voice mail especially helps recruiters and HR reps in the instance that we are unsure about how to say your name correctly. This ultimately translates in making us feel more at ease about engaging with you.
2) Answer the phone ONLY when you think it's appropriate – Just because you have a phone on you doesn't mean you should answer it whenever it rings, no matter where you are. Eager job seekers often make this mistake and it drives me nuts. What's appropriate? When you're in a quiet place where you can have a calm conversation and even possibly take notes. NOT when you're at your child's sporting event, checking out at the supermarket or driving in the car. Yelling into the phone at me, "What?!? Can you repeat that? I can't hear you very well over the noise!" with screaming, maniac parents in the background is not going to make a very good impression on me. Neither is answering the phone while driving in heavy traffic.
Because I recruit in the greater Los Angeles area, there's often gridlock or tense situations unfolding; it's just a part of daily life down here. This makes things especially dicey and actually makes me nervous for the job seeker when I can ascertain there is traffic noise in the background as I once heard a car crash over the phone about two minutes into a conversation with a job seeker. The phone immediately went dead and I was never able to get a hold of that particular candidate again despite my repeated emails and phone calls of concern. For that reason, I usually ask anyone that's driving to let me call them back at a later time as I don't want to be a distraction for anyone. Unfortunately, as much as I'm accommodating with a later call back time, as I'm the one to suggest it in the first place, it's cumbersome to me as its extra effort on my part. Job seekers should have enough sense to know not to inconvenience someone who is considering hiring them- just don't pick up the phone in the first place. Let it go to voice mail.
3) Do not bring your phone in with you to an interview – I can't stress this enough. Just leave it in the car. We've had instances where people actually have the NERVE to answer the phone while being interviewed. Once this happens, you get escorted out quickly. The more typical offending behavior, however, is when once a job seeker is in our presence sitting in the lobby waiting for the interview to start, they make the mistake of ignoring our company employees whom are trying to engage the candidate in polite "banter". Checking your friend's Facebook statuses is NOT something you should be doing while you're waiting the last six minutes before your appointed interview times because guess what? That back and forth chitchat about the weather you deem as annoying is actually helping us judge what kind of an employee you'll be for us. There are eyes everywhere once you walk into our location. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the receptionist has no say in whether or not you get hired. He or she might just be the first one the hiring manager goes to ask how you behaved in the lobby. Having them report back, "They were too busy scrolling through their phone to give me the time of day" is probably not the impression you want to make, right? Right. So leave the phone in the car.
Overall you need to present yourself as well as you can to possible employers at every turn. Consider any interaction you have with hiring managers and company employees as part of the interview process; never let your guard down.
Happy job hunting!