You're in a hurry, or sound asleep, or fed up with calls from telemarketers, so you grab the ringing phone and bark a rough "Hello" into it. Oops – not the best way to impress the potential employer on the other end. You've been actively engaged in a job search, so you should be anticipating these calls. Change your phone answering technique to convey a professional, mature tone so your phone manner doesn't undo the positive image you've already created with your resume. And if your voicemail message is cutesy, obscene or backed up by ear-splitting music, change that, too, at least for the duration of your job search.
Answer your phone calls in a neutral, calm manner in case it's a potential employer contacting you. Remain respectful and professional in both your tone and choice of words throughout the phone call. Express your appreciation at being called for an interview, but in a subdued and mature manner -- save the whoops of joy for after you hang up the phone.
Answer the caller's questions about whether you're still interested in the job and want to come in for an interview. If the answer is no, politely decline the interview and give a simple, short reason -- you've already taken another job, for example -- then thank her for her time and consideration. But assuming you're still interested in the job, get the information you need to follow up.
Write down all the details the caller gives you regarding the interview. If you're unclear on something, ask -- it's better to ask for something to be repeated than to show up on the wrong day or at the wrong time for your job interview. Before you hang up, be sure you know when and where to show up, who you're going to interview with and whether you need to bring anything with you to the interview. Thank the person who called and be sure the call is disconnected before you start celebrating.
Follow up the phone call with a short, hand-written note to the person who called to invite you to the interview. Thank her -- yes, again -- for the call and the opportunity, and tell her you look forward to seeing her when you come in for the interview.
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