Should You Follow Up the Interview With a Phone Call?

Phone calls for quick questions take up an inordinate amount of time.

Suzanne Lucas

I had an interview a week ago and was told they would be calling people this week to schedule second interviews. I'm comfortable with this being enough time to wait to follow up, but am wondering where protocol falls for using E-mail versus calling the person directly. I feel like E-mail makes it easier on both of us, but I don't want to come across unprofessional if that is something not to be done.

Please don't call. I know there are psycho recruiters out there who set up all sorts of rules and if you don't guess them correctly you won't get the job. Undoubtedly, more than a couple have made it one of their rules that you must "show initiative" by calling. A pox on their heads. The rest of us have too much to do.

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Phone calls for quick questions take up an inordinate amount of time. First, if you miss the phone call you have to listen to the voice mail. And I don't know about the people who call you, but the people who call me tend to ramble on, very slowly, and then at the end say their phone number so fast that I have to listen to it three times just to figure out the phone number. Then, you have to find the answer to the question, call, and hope you get a live human. (And, out of curiosity, why is that if I call someone back within five minutes of their voice mail they are never available? Do they call and then leave for Tahiti? I don't understand this.)

Now, once you've got the person on the phone, you have to do all the social niceties. "Hi, this is Jane Doe from Acme Corp, returning John Smith's call. Is Mr. Smith available?" Bah. It takes time. And both hiring managers and recruiters are busy. It's much faster to respond to an E-mail.

[See the trouble with blogging.]

So, do send an E-mail. A polite E-mail. And don't get all freaked out if the person doesn't respond immediately. That's the beauty of E-mail. You E-mail me when it's convenient for you, and I'll respond when it's convenient for me.

Asking about the status of a second interview is a question that can be answered in a couple of lines. If the recruiter (or hiring manager) has more questions, they can call you up and ask them. It's all very efficient.

And as for those recruiters or hiring managers who think you're a failure if you don't use the telephone, well, who wants to work with someone like that in the first place?

Suzanne Lucas has nine years of human resources experience, most of which have been in a Fortune 500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady.


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