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Whether you've been searching for months or have just begun the process of seeking a new job, a call asking you to come to an interview can be exciting -- and a bit nerve-wracking. In your haste to return the call, it's easy to forget basic phone etiquette or to become so overwhelmed that you're unsure of what to say. Keeping it short, friendly and professional can help you make a positive first impression.
When to Call
Call during regular business hours, particularly if the interviewer gives you her cell phone number and not an office line. Return the call as promptly as possible, but if you get the message over the weekend or at night, simply call first thing the next business day. Take a few minutes to gather your thoughts about the job and the contact person before you make the call. Make sure you're in a quiet location, not in the midst of traffic or while your dog is barking.
Introductions and Whom to Call
Call the person who called you, unless she tells you to call a different person. When you call, ask to speak directly to the contact person. Say who you are by stating your full name, the job you're applying for and anything that might jog the interviewer's memory from previous discussions. For example, you might say, "Hi, I'm John Doe. We met at the career fair, and I'm returning your call for an interview for the receptionist position."
You might not get the person you called on the first attempt. If you get her assistant, be friendly and polite. Spell your name and provide a phone number, as well as information about why you're calling. Specify that you're returning the interviewer's call so that your call is given suitable priority. If you leave a voicemail instead, speak slowly and clearly, providing your name twice and giving your callback number.
Talking to the Interviewer
If you get the interviewer on the phone, view the call as a mini interview by striving to make a positive impression. Be friendly without being overly familiar, and avoid asking an endless stream of questions or entering into a long monologue about the job. Instead, express your interest and say that you're looking forward to the interview. Wish the interviewer a good day or week, then thank her and let her get back to her day.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.