The Lawyers Career Blog

When Should You Pick Up The Phone During Your Career Search?

February 13, 2018

The phone is an obstacle for many professionals and is becoming more obsolete for younger professionals. There are scenarios in the search process where a phone call may be prudent and yield more favorable results for you.

The Initial Telephone Interview:

Whether it is a search firm, an outsourced company recruiter or a member of the hiring organization, once your resume has generated interest, someone will want to probe further into your background. Don’t avoid the call, embrace it. It’s much more effective to have a conversation than to be screened based just on data points. It’s your opportunity to tell your career story to weave the underlying messaging or common threads of your career. Practice it with friends and colleagues, ask for feedback and be ready to embrace the more challenging questions. This is your first opportunity to make a human connection and to convey your enthusiasm for the role. Practice, practice, and practice and then stand up when you are taking the call. Really, your energy will change and you will project more confidently.

Salary Conversations:

It is important that your salary conversations not occur by email. It is far better to discuss salary by phone (and later in person). Yes, salary is a screening tool, and it is a reality that much less compensation information is available about in house roles than law firm roles. A phone conversation with a prospective employer about salary provides context for both sides. You get the opportunity to discuss your current compensation, its components and how important a factor compensation is in your career decision making. The call can end up being less about screening and more about initial relationship building. If you keep the conversation to an email exchange, the conversation will be limited and short-lived. Pick up the phone and engage in a conversation if possible.

Salary Negotiations:

We have seen many different scenarios and many of them are a combination of phone and email strategies. As trusted advisors, we often counsel lawyers on striking the right balance when negotiating salary. Some key points: if you are genuinely interested in an opportunity, let the company know that you are enthused about coming to work for them. Saying thank you after a concession has been made during a negotiation builds momentum. Remember this is the start of a long term relationship. Ask yourself, how I would like to receive this message? By phone or email?

You’re Hired, Now What? The Initial On-Boarding:

Accepting a new opportunity is the beginning of a new relationship. Do you want to initiate the relationship by email or in-person? Even if you have to leave a message, a verbal message carries your enthusiasm and genuine interest in the company more effectively than an email.

General Guidelines:

Pick up the phone when you want to communicate emotional tone. Companies do hire real people.

Pick up the phone as often as possible if you are sincere about initiating a long term relationship.

Pick up the phone if you don’t want to be boxed in on a salary number or range vs. exploring “total compensation”. Have a conversation if you want to test the parameters of compensation.


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