Express Employment Professionals | 3515 W. Two Mile House Rd Columbus, IN 47201


Phone Etiquette as a Job Seeker: Don’t flush your chances down the drain…or toilet

In three years of working in the staffing industry, I’ve listened to more than one voicemail that left me confused, laughing, puzzled and more importantly, wondering why I should call the  job seeker back.  Recently, I received two consecutive voicemails that prompted me to share some advice on phone etiquette with job seekers.

The message that prompted this advice started off fairly normal and was going fine until it was interrupted by what sounded like a flushing toilet.  The job seeker paused and tried to finish the message, which was inaudible.  The next message, left just a minute later, was from the same job seeker and she provided the following explanation: “Sorry, I was in the ladies stall and someone was flushing.”

I racked my brain trying to find a scenario that would justify someone calling to inquire about a job while in the restroom.  Was she trying to prove she could multi-task?   Was it the only location her cell phone had reception?  Does she do her best thinking in the bathroom?  The only reason I came up with was that she didn’t know any better.

This leads me to the following three tips regarding phone etiquette as a job seeker:

1. Location, location, location.  Think about your setting.  Don’t call from a location with a lot of background noise: i.e. driving in your car, children in the background, operating a jack hammer and, last but not least, a public restroom! And if somebody calls you for a job and you are in one of these environments, politely ask if you can call them back at a better time. They’ll understand.

2. Don’t assume anything.  As humbling as it may be, don’t assume the recipient of your call knows everything about why you’re calling.  If it’s a live call, clearly state your first and last name, the reason for calling and ask if they have a minute to talk.  If you’re leaving a voicemail, clearly state your first and last name, the reason for calling, your phone number and a good time for them to call you back.

3. Be brief. Be brilliant. Be gone.  Have a plan for your call and be prepared to talk about your work history.  Have your resume, or detailed work history, in front of you, but don’t feel like you need to provide every last detail – leave them with a reason to bring you in for an interview.  Don’t forget to thank the Recruiter or HR Representative for their time and consideration.

Hopefully these simple tips will help during your job search and at least get you to think twice about your setting and plan before placing a call to a potential employer.  I’ll leave you with a final question I still have for my call-from-the-restroom messenger…how awkward would the conversation have been if I would’ve been at my desk and answered the call?


This was written by Jon Pickett, Commercial Employment Specialist for Express Employment Professionals in Greenwood. To contact Jon, please email