2020 has brought a lot of change and has put many people into the job market unexpectedly. And as another year comes to a close, many students are graduating and entering the job market for the first time. With spam calls at an all time high this year, many of us are letting calls we don't recognize go straight to voicemail. But for those of us who are less discerning about answering the phone, it's important to remember that it only takes seconds to make a poor first impression on a potential employer. Should you answer calls you don't recognize or let them to to voicemail? Here are the pros and cons you need to know about both approaches:
Pros of Answering Calls You Don't Recognize
Just like in sales, if you can get a person on the phone it's always better than having to return a call later when circumstances and interest levels may have dissipated. If you answer calls when you don't know the number and one of those calls happens to be about a job, then you have the chance to speak to a live person and impress them. If you create a strong sense of rapport quickly this often leads to the next step in the interview process. The main 'pro' for answering calls you don't recognize is that you will be more likely to maximize every potential opportunity that comes your way. In a job search environment that is getting increasingly more competitive, this counts for a lot.
Cons of Answering Calls You Don't Recognize
The negative side of answering calls you don't recognize is that you won't be mentally prepared to have a professional job related conversation, and this can really work against you. If you've applied to lot of different positions, you likely won't remember the specifics of every job and every company. This can cause you to look unprepared and dismissive if you admit this to the person calling. Similarly, if you answer the phone and it's not a good time for you talk about a job, be mindful of how you come across when letting the hiring manager know this. Don't overshare why it's not a good time to talk, don't say you're busy and ask them to call you later, and don't admit that you've applied to a lot of jobs and you don't remember their company--and never act annoyed that they're calling you at a time that's not ideal for you (most hiring managers don't react well to this).
So, which approach is the best one? It's really a hybrid of the two. If you want to maximize your job lead potential by answering calls you don't recognize, then be mindful of where you are when you answer your phone.
If you answer your phone but it's a bad time for you to talk, remember it's always acceptable to let the caller know that you're excited to hear from them, but they've caught you in the middle of of something and you're not in a great place to talk. Tell them you're so glad they called and you want to be able to give them your full attention. Ask them when would be a good time for you to call them back (try to set a specific appointment time) and confirm that you have their phone number. Never tell a potential employer to call you back at a specific time of your choosing--this is a bold move that gives the impression that your time is more valuable than theirs and that you assume they'll be free when it suits your schedule.
Another bonus to answering calls and then asking to schedule a specific time to talk means that you can maximize the number of potential job related calls you receive, while also allowing yourself time to prepare for the call. If you say something like, "I'm not where I can talk right now, but I'm so glad you called. Is there a good time I could give you a call back later this afternoon?" --then this gives you time to get to a quiet place, review their job description and company information, and make a great first impression.
Ask us your career questions via the online chat box in the lower left corner of your screen. We’re passionate about helping job seekers and career changers find success and we love to share what we know.
Need A Resume?
Let us help you craft a resume that really grabs an employer's attention.
Don't Forget To Sign Up For Free Email Updates
Sign up below to make sure you receive the latest articles first.