After 8 years of working in hiring departments with 6 years of those specifically recruiting for health care, industrial, and clerical positions I can tell you that many people sabotage their chances of getting a job they applied for without ever even speaking to the recruiter or hiring manager. No matter what position you are applying for, employers want to see candidates who can conduct themselves respectfully. This list may seem like common sense suggestions to some. However, these things happen, and they happen a lot.

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Leaving a message

Most places have caller ID. So instead of calling back and hanging up until you get who you are trying to reach, go ahead and leave a message. A good rule of thumb is that business calls should be returned within 2 business days. Wait until that 2 days is up before calling back.

When leaving the message speak slowly and clearly, and be polite. For good measure, go ahead and repeat your phone number. There were so many times I did not call job applicants back and not because I did not want to. It was because I couldn’t. People would leave rushed voice messages to where their name and number could not be understood.



It is easy and free to open an email account. Instead of using pimpdaddy24, meloveyoulongtime, or sexybeast85 on job applications and resumes, take a few minutes and set up and account with an appropriate username for job searching. Some variation of your name is always a safe way to go. Similarly to leaving voice messages allow 2 business days for a response before following up. Be sure you have proofread your email before sending it, and remember to list your name in the body.


Outgoing messages

What would someone hear if they called you back about a job? If a hiring manager is trying to get in touch with dozens of job applicants, they probably do not want to wait until an entire song is finished playing so they can leave a message. If you have anything like, “I’ll call you back if I feel like it,” consider changing it until after your job search is over. Furthermore, simply make sure your voicemail is setup. Several times I had been accused of not returning a call only to have to inform the person that when I tried I got a “this voicemail box has not been set up” message.



Before applying for jobs make sure you have contacted 3-4 people that you are not related to who have agreed to be references for you. This way they can think about what they will say about you ahead of time instead of being put on the spot, and they will be expecting calls from unrecognized numbers. I’ve been called pretty dirty names by references who assumed I was a telemarketer. Also that gives you a chance to make sure you have their current contact information to provide to employers.


The receptionist

When someone was rude to the receptionist before speaking to me whether it was on a phone call or before an interview, I always found out about it. Since the receptionists I have worked with have been extremely personable, helpful, and good at their jobs it never helped the applicants who did not treat them as respectfully as they did me. So go ahead and treat anybody that you have any contact with at a place that you have applied with courtesy.


Overall just keep communications prior to meeting face to face with a potential employer simple and polite.


Good luck in your job search!


Published by Lacey Hamilton