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Hiring Rock Star Employees: The Voicemail Test

Hiring Rock Star Employees: The Voicemail Test
Laura Hatch

You’re more than halfway through the lengthy process of sorting through job candidates to find your newest rock star employee. After selecting a few applications that seem worthwhile, you might be thinking you’re ready to conduct a few phone interviews.


Hold on, not so fast!


Make sure that this step is getting the attention it deserves. The phone interview is by far the MOST important step in the entire hiring process.


Most hiring managers make the mistake of hurrying through a phone interview in their eagerness to schedule a meeting face-to-face. But, I urge you to take your time talking with every potential interview candidate on the phone. Believe me, you’ll avoid a headache later!


Now, many candidates will save you a lot of work by ruling themselves out without even answering the phone. Enter: the terrible voicemail message.



Think about it. These people know they are trying to get a job, and they know potential employers might be calling them any day now—yet you get a voicemail message that is unprofessional or inappropriate. Let this be an indication to you exactly how this person is likely to represent you and your office as a team member.


When I get a message that says something like, “Yo, I can’t take your call. I must be at the bar or doing something dumb, so leave a message and I might call you back,” I end that call with a very quick click.


The other possibility, which is a real pet peeve of mine, is that a candidate’s voicemail may not be available. In that case, you’ve just wasted your time placing a call and waiting for the voicemail message that never comes. Instead, a recording tells you that you are unable to leave a message because the candidate’s voicemail is “not set up” or is “full.”


Either way, it’s a clear message all right—this person does not care about potential employers trying to reach him or her. What to do next? If this candidate is absolutely stellar in every other way, try calling one more time (but ONLY one more time) 24 hours later. Otherwise, that application goes in the trash.


Don’t work hard to reach a job candidate who isn’t working hard to hear from you!


Stay tuned for the next installment of this series, when I’ll share the one thing that most hiring managers fail to do during a phone interview.


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