For a recruitment consultant the telephone is an important tool. Communicating with clients and job applicants requires me to pick up the phone several times a day. My experience with faceless encounters and people's behaviour on the phone leads me to conclude I know a little something about modern phone culture.
Most of the responses to my calls during the working day are professional and show good manners, but there is always at least one grunter. Answering the phone with "Huh?" or just "Hello" still grates on my ears. The etiquette of phone calls is often lost. The way we talk on the phone is also changing.
It was not that long ago that the telephone was hooked up to the wall and shared by the whole family. Back then children were taught to answer the phone brightly and clearly with their full name. After all, not only good manners but the entire family´s brand were at stake. Introductions were also perceived to be important as one never knew who was calling - or who was at the other end. The importance of stating your name declined when cell phones made the caller´s information readily available and phones became personal property.
Creating a good first impression is a much discussed topic, but the significance of those first seven seconds is often connected with a face-to-face interaction. However the first impression begins to form as soon as the applicant answers the recruiter´s call for an interview.
I have not delegated the scheduling of job interviews to our talented Assistant because I want to see how the candidate acts in different situations. The interaction over the phone is one factor in determining a candidate´s suitability for the job. Those with good manners have an advantage and are on the path for a job interview. Recruitment consultant is not the only job where smooth small-talk and a warm approach have their place.
When I call an applicant the first impression is formed from the first breath they take. Am I met with panting, sighing, groaning or smiling excitement (this too can be expressed over the phone)? At this stage it is easy to create an energetic and excited first impression. Set yourself apart from the grunters! Answering brightly and clearly builds a good foundation for the upcoming face-to-face meeting.
During the conversation I might even to decide not to invite the applicant for an interview. Grunting does not give the impression of a desirable candidate. It is therefore very easy for a candidate to get a leg up just by answering the phone correctly. The best calls leave a good memory and a great first impression.
The phone culture in Finland has become more American in that it is now alright to answer the phone with "Hello." If the caller is familiar you can greet the person with their name. However with unknown numbers it is best to answer with your full name to be safe.
According to a guide to phone etiquette, the first rule is to "always answer with your name and greet the caller at the beginning of the call. " The guide encourages people to always share their own name, even if it is visible on the caller´s screen. This is just polite, and an easy start to any conversation! Good beginnings form a good foundation for future co-operation.
Pulkkinen speaking. Krista Pulkkinen.
A tip for job applicants! Save the phone number listed in the job advertisement in your contacts. Replace the contact person´s name with something that immediately reminds you about the position. Now when you get the call you are ready to brightly tell the recruiter why you are interested and why you should be chosen! You will be convincing because you do not hesitate to collect your thoughts.