Back to Basics: Know When & Why to Go Low-Tech & Pick Up the Phone

Apr 17, 2023

We live in a time of rapid technological growth, with new developments taking place all the time that help improve access to communication and information. However, despite the plethora of communication tools at our disposal, sometimes it’s in our best interest to set aside our apps and other tech — and pick up the phone. This can be especially true during the hiring process, when timing and clear communication are a top priority.

Below, five of our consultants (Jerry Wilkins, Colby McCoy, Justin Wilkins, David Williams, and Jay Dubac) offer suggestions for when job-seekers and hiring authorities should make an old-fashioned phone call, and why other forms of communication might fall short in those instances.

Introductory Meetings

“Phone communication is where the relationship-building between the candidate and company truly begins,” says Executive Vice President Jerry Wilkins. When a candidate and a hiring authority first connect, speaking over the phone can help determine personality and culture fit, as well as clarify expectations and requirements for the hiring process moving forward.

First phone calls can also determine whether subsequent meetings will take place, based on the quality of the conversation. Colby McCoy, Recruiter, says, “These phone calls are just as important as any other kind of meeting, including in-person and video. This first impression can heavily influence the relationship moving forward.” To ensure you make a good first impression on the phone, Executive Vice President Justin Wilkins says, “If you focus on being upbeat and smiling, your tone and personality will carry through your voice, even though you’re not being seen visually.”

“Gray Area” Conversations

Text, email, and other forms of written communication can be very helpful and effective. However, they also have their shortcomings. “It’s challenging to identify what someone really means without hearing the inflection in their voice,” says David Williams, Market Leader. “If we communicate solely through written communication, we forfeit the opportunity to truly evaluate someone’s people skills, which is vital to accurately evaluating a company or a candidate.” Market Leader Jay Dubac adds, “Text and email can get quite a bit of work done — especially with yes or no questions. But for anything that may have a gray area, a phone call should always be the choice. Too many things can get lost in translation through emails and texts.”

Time Constraints

Despite the immediacy of text and email, there’s a lag in communication time that many people underestimate. It takes time to check inboxes, sift through an inundation of messages, and draft responses. If you’re not in a rush, that’s not an issue. But in cases where responses are time-sensitive, making a phone call can save valuable time and solve problems.

Jay Dubac says, “One phone call from a client to a candidate actually ended up closing a deal.” The candidate had another offer on the table, and the client wanted to submit a formal offer, but was stuck in a meeting. Even though the candidate would prefer to work for the client, he had to make a quick decision because of the other offer. By the time the client left the meeting, the candidate had already accepted the other offer. Jay says, “I told him to do what was best for him and his career, but that my client just couldn’t have left the meeting earlier. Fortunately, my client called the candidate while we were on the phone — and managed to work out the deal, just eight minutes after he left the meeting. There’s no way that, in that brief time, a text or email exchange could’ve gotten the job done due to the urgency of the situation.”

The rise in communication technologies has benefited the working world in a lot of ways, and each type of tech is valuable in its own way. However, in circumstances where candidates and clients are getting to know each other, when there’s a gray area in the conversation, or when there’s a tight timeline, picking up the phone and making a call is still the best option on the table.

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