By all means, don’t take the call if you aren’t ready

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Your phone is ringing, and it’s a recruiter.

It is perfectly OK to let the first call go to voicemail if you have your hands busy in the kitchen, are rushing to get out the door, or just feel like you need 20 minutes to calm yourself or regain your composure after a long workday.

Taking this extra time to ensure you have a great phone screen is very important. Trust us, if we miss you the first try, and you have a great resume, we will call you back, especially if you return our call in a timely manner.

We don’t expect everyone to be sitting by the phone awaiting our surprise phone call. Actually, this would be quite weird if you did and seem rather desperate.

It’s great if we catch you the first time around, but also just as good if you are able to touch base with us later that day or first thing the following morning.

A good rule of thumb: Try to call us back the same day we call if only to say you are tied up in meetings and would welcome a phone screen the next day.

The same is true, of course, if a potential employer is calling you, and you’re busy doing something that’s going to interfere with making that valuable first impression. Just do your best to return the call as soon as you can to schedule a better time to talk.

We seriously recommend not taking a call when you are driving. We find almost all candidates become distracted (as they should) when trying to answer interview questions and manage the challenges of the road simultaneously.

But if you do pick up, just let us know you’re on the road and if you have the time, pull over to a safe place to continue the discussion. Safety first, great phone screen to come!

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