Communication Channels

There are too many ways for us to connect with each other. There. I said it – apparently I’m getting old because I am starting to get annoyed with all of the available communication methods, devices, channels, and the etiquette for each one.

Or should I say the lack of etiquette?

Communication Method Guidelines

1. Texting is NOT ok.

Unless you are my friend or I have specifically asked you to text me, don’t text me (or the hiring manager or the recruiter). Seriously, don’t do it. Texting is for quick conversations, back-and-forth interaction, last minute communication. It’s not for following up on a resume, or application submission, or for expressing interest in working with me.

Use this rule of thumb: Never text a potential hiring manager, recruiter, or other professional contact without expressed pre-approved consent.

2. Telephone

Most recruiters these days, loathe getting unsolicited follow-up telephone calls. Think about it from their perspective: they sit on the phone talking to candidates all day long; they have the potential for a zillion “follow-up” phone calls; and have to fit in their own work/calls in between. Getting one more can easily spiral them into a free-fall.

For positions at the manager and above level, you should follow-up – and phone is a viable option. However, remember these things:

  • Leave ONE message – speak clearly, provide your name and the position you applied for, along with your phone number, and a short “wanted to express my interest” sentence. Then hang up.
  • Do not keep calling until you reach a live person. Companies have caller ID – they see you calling every single time you do. And they are probably hoping you leave a vm. So call once, leave a message, and move the heck on.
  • When you reach someone live, keep the call under five minutes (I’d say ideally no more than three, but for all of you talkers out there…). The intent is to follow-up, get your resume at the top of their pile, and reaffirm why you are awesome. Think of this call as your elevator speech on why they need to interview you. Say your piece, let the person talk, then hang up. Short, sweet, simple.

3. Email

Glorious, glorious email. Obviously this is my favorite communication method, and many recruiter’s favorite as well. They can read it when they are able to carve out time for it; they can take instant actionable steps post-reading your email; and they can easily follow-up with you if needed.

Your email follow-up should be different than your original application. In other words, don’t resubmit your cover letter and resume – especially if you applied with those via email. Instead, your follow-up email needs to be short, concise, and provide either additional information that was not included in your original submission, or strongly highlight a significant attribute/skill set that you have that the position is seeking. Think of it as a flashing billboard of one particular accomplishment – pique the recruiter’s interest in you.

An email also makes it easy for the recruiter to click on certain things of value. If you have a website or a hosted version of your resume, add that link directly into the email.

  • DO: Hi, I’m Sally Smith and I’ve applied for…
  • DON’T: Hi, I’m Sally Smith and you can read more about me here: http://entersomerandomlonglink (dot)com.

4. Twitter

I saw a new technology of application through Twitter this morning, and I almost screamed. I’m sure I’ll be eating these words in a few years, but people – do not follow-up with a recruiter via Twitter. Seriously? How many things do you miss in your Twitter feed? And that was the only work-appropriate defense I could add in this post.

Other reasons include… it’s not as effective/impactful to the majority of corporate recruiters out there; Twitter is blocked as a service at many companies; it can be seen as “lazy” – or not really applying your people-interaction skills to follow-up; I’m not sure how awesome you can be in 140 characters or less; what else is in that Twitter stream of yours; and so on.

5. LinkedIn

I am a fan of LinkedIn and the capability it allows all of us to connect for work. When I see an awesome resume or get off a phone interview, I absolutely look someone up on LinkedIn. So use that to your advantage. Some people will only accept people they know personally, others like to expand their network to include potential candidates.

Bottom line – if that person is applicable to you, as in – you are not collecting friends, then send a request to connect or a LinkedIn mail message. No harm, no foul people – stop wasting time thinking if it’s “appropriate.”

6. Facebook

See number one and number four above. No, do not do this. This is never ok – the end.