Career Advice

When Did It Become Okay to Not Return Phone Calls?

Mark Smith Posted by Mark
min read
Lindsey Lamont A2g J Ql Rt Wr A Unsplash

I had one of my new recruitment consultants say to me the other day that he did not expect to have studied for three years and then start a career in recruitment where all he does all day is leave messages! It is true that, since the introduction of voicemail and email, the ability of anyone in business, not just recruiters, to have effective discussions has been severely reduced. It is just so easy to ignore people these days. Growing up, I must have been told over a thousand times, 'Where are your manners?' (Thank you, Mum, if you are reading this.) I would also hear 'common courtesy' and 'Show some respect.' It seems that in the 21st century, that freedom of individual choice has trumped these societal norms. I know that all sounds a bit philosophical, but what I am trying to say is when did it become okay for someone to not return your phone call? 

I know as a recruitment consultant that the reputation of the industry is not the best, and the industry has been built on the back of effective communication over the phone. I know that we, and also many others in the business development business, make numerous unsolicited phone calls in order to initiate business relationships, but why has it now become the norm to not return a call? Interestingly, we have a recruiter in our office in Sydney who recruits mainly for the South Island of New Zealand. He is subletting our office for a period of time, and, over a beer one Friday night, he said to me that one of the biggest differences he has noticed is that the Sydney team at people2people leave an inordinate number of messages. 

He went on to say that when he is reaching out to business in NZ, people answer the phone! I have heard so much recently about personal brand, particularly in relation to social media. I would like to suggest that there is nothing more representative of your brand as manners, common courtesy and mutual respect. Taking the time to return calls and, more fundamentally, do what you say you are going to do, can only enhance your brand... probably more than a selfie!