You may need to call the employer when you are looking for work. This may be for a phone interview or to see if you and the employer are interested in you continuing your application in writing.
There are some things that you can do before, during and after the phone call to make it a successful experience. This guide provides you with an outline of the key steps.
- It is important to be clear in your mind about the purpose of the phone call.
- Before making the call, find out as much as you can about the nature of the business you are calling and the job you are applying for.
- Before you call, you may like to decide whether or not you will disclose your disability to the employer. See our guide for information and advice on disclosure:
- Make some notes to help you answer any questions that might be asked and to prompt you about information you need to give. Keep your resume handy so that you can answer questions about your work history and provide details about your referees if needed. It is important to note your skills and the personal qualities that would make you the best person for the job. Some of the questions you may be asked include:
- What skills and experience will you bring to the organisation?
- Do you have any recent work experience in a similar role?
- What are your educational qualifications?
- At the start of the call, be sure to say clearly your name and the name of the person you need to speak to. If you do not know the name of a particular person, ask to speak to the manager or the person responsible for staffing or recruitment. If you are calling about an advertised position, clearly state the position you are applying for and where you found out about the job. An example of what you might say is, 'I would like to apply for the part time administration position advertised today in The Australian').
- Be prepared to reach an answering machine. Before the call, it is helpful to think about what you will say if this happens. It is good to have a short message prepared about your reason for calling and the number you will leave if you want them to call you back.
- Once you are speaking to the right person, be clear about what you have to say. If you feel that they are not understanding you or not responding in the way you expect, try to explain the information or question differently.
- Take notes while the person is talking. It is all right to ask them politely to slow down or to repeat something if you have missed it.
- When you have finished the discussion, it is useful to state a short summary of what you understand has happened in the conversation. This makes sure that you and the other person are clear about what has been said and that there are no misunderstandings. Some ways to start this part of the conversation are:
- I just want to sum up what we have talked about today...
- My understanding of what we have decided is...
If they agree with your summary, thank them for their time and finish the call.
- When you get off the phone, it is important to make notes about the conversation, especially the date and time of things you need to do. You might not remember them later.
If things get tricky
- If you begin to feel agitated during the call, take some deep breaths. If necessary be quiet for a moment and gather your thoughts.
- If the understanding does not improve, it is good to say things like 'I’m sorry that you don’t seem to understand me'. If the situation doesn’t improve, it is all right to say:
- 'This phone call is not working very well. I’m going to hang up now and call back when I have had some time to think. Thank you for listening to me'.
- If they do not agree with your summary, ask them to be clear about the problem they have. If you think more discussion at the time is not helpful, it is all right to say that you will call back later after you have thought more about the issue or talked with someone else about it.
- At the end of any phone call, it is important to thank the person for their time.
Our online checklist
The following checklist can help you prepare when phoning an employer: