Category: Job Advice

Professional Communication 101: Phone and Email Etiquette

For every candidate interviewed, a recruiter or hiring manager has a check list. Does this person have relevant experience? Check. Is their resume/cover letter error-free and clean cut? Check.

If you make it through this first round of checks, congratulations! But there’s more. Now they need to be impressed by more than just your qualifications – they need to be impressed by YOU.  It is important to be friendly, well-spoken and polite every time you communicate with a potential employer, including over the phone and via email. To master the art of professional communication, follow these rules of phone and email etiquette:

Phone etiquette

Speak clearly…

Not only is it frustrating to converse with a “mumbler,” but it also gives the impression that you lack a well-spoken, articulate demeanor that employers often look for in potential hires. Furthermore, mumbling and a soft tone of voice indicates a lack of enthusiasm.

Here’s a tip: Go to a quiet room to avoid loud background noises and disruptions.

Be polite…

We understand that finding a job can be a stressful and frustrating process. But using a rude tone or raising your voice is never a good idea. Recruiters might be far less willing to work with you or make accommodations when they sense any kind of anger. If you seem argumentative, this may cause recruiters to question how well you are able to handle stressful situations or conflict in the workplace. As my mom always says, kill them with kindness!

P.S. Try to be patient. It’s discouraging to feel like a recruiter/hiring manager isn’t following up with you in a timely manner, but they have not forgotten about you. Badgering them with phone calls and getting upset is not going to speed up the process. In fact, it might make them less willing to work with you!

Listen to your voicemail messages…

If you have a missed phone call, listen to the voicemail message BEFORE returning the call. Most of the time, your call will be answered by a receptionist. If you call back without knowing who called or what the call was regarding, it is difficult and inconvenient for the receptionist to connect you to the right person. You should enter every conversation with as much information as possible and a clear goal in mind.

Customize your voicemail…

Your voicemail greeting should be personalized! A custom voicemail will reassure potential employers that your phone number is active as well as give them an opportunity to hear how well-spoken and professional you are.

Email etiquette

Check for grammatical errors…

Sending an email with spelling errors and bad punctuation makes you seem unpolished and unprofessional. Proofread all of your messages before clicking send to avoid any embarrassing mistakes!

Follow instructions…

Do not respond to an email with a phone call unless instructed. Recruiters are on phone calls all day and it can be frustrating when someone calls unexpectedly, especially to discuss a matter that could have been easily and quickly communicated via email.

Avoid using slang…

You are not joking around with a friend over drinks. You are speaking with a potential employer who could make or break your chances of landing a job.

Use a professional email address and signature…

Avoid any use of “sassy” nicknames, innuendo, slang, or the like within your email address. Stick to the basics (first name, last name, numbers, etc.). The same rules apply for your email signature. Use your full name and relevant contact information.

Still not sure what employers are looking for in the ideal candidate? Check out this short video by Forbes about 15 sought-after traits in a job candidate. 

Did you know that you may be eligible for paid sick leave under the QSS Benefits Program? Current employees can track their available sick leave hours through their Employee Portal.

If you are an eligible employee and have accrued the necessary hours, follow these steps to take advantage of our paid sick leave:

  1. Notify your on-site supervisor AND Quality Staffing Supervisor of your absence by calling Quality Staffing BEFORE your scheduled start time.  The QSS voice mail system is available any time that the office is closed, so you can always reach us.
  2. Submit the ‘Holiday Pay and Sick Leave’ form found on our website.

Call (919) 481-4114 with any questions or concerns about paid sick leave and visit to view a full list of the benefits we offer.


Five Reasons the Holidays are a Great Time for Job Searching

The holiday season is a notoriously stressful time of year – overbearing in-laws, crowded airports, last minute shopping, and don’t forget about that pesky job search! Many people succumb to the temptation of placing their job search on the back burner throughout the holidays, but in doing so they are missing out on some great opportunities.

Tis the season…for networking!

The holiday season is the perfect time to mingle and reconnect with old acquaintances. Many people tend to be embarrassed about their job search. Don’t be! Take control – be the first to bring it up in conversation. Be open and honest about your trouble with finding a job. You never know who could end up being a useful connection. According to LinkedIn, nearly 85% of jobs are found through networking. So this holiday season, leverage that dreaded small talk as a tool for landing a job!

Pro tip: Send a holiday greeting or thank you card to the recruiters you have worked with in the past. Remind them of who you are in a friendly, approachable way.

Employers are rushing to fill positions for the New Year

Carve out an hour each morning and evening to browse job boards and submit resumes. Employers are looking for candidates to start in the New Year and might be more eager than usual to hire in those last few weeks of December. Therefore, taking a break in job searching during this time could lead to another few months of unemployment.

Less competition, more opportunity!

The holidays are a hectic time. Many people feel too overwhelmed to apply for jobs while juggling all of their other responsibilities, which means less competition for jobs. With fewer applications for employers to sift through, you are more likely to be considered for a position.

Seasonal jobs could turn permanent

Companies need extra hands during the holidays and sometimes make those temp jobs permanent for those who make a good impression. Not only is this a great opportunity to make some extra cash during one the most expensive times of the year, but it could also lead to a long-term position!

Spread the holiday cheer through volunteering!

Nonprofits and local charities are always in need of support during the holidays. Volunteering looks great on a resume and is an opportunity to make new and helpful connections. But more importantly, volunteer work provides comfort to those who need it most and is a reminder of what truly matters this time of year.

The Ultimate Check List for Job Seekers: Steps to take BEFORE submitting a resume!

The process of searching for a job can be complicated and stressful, especially when it seems to lead to one dead end after another. You have all of the right qualifications and necessary experience, so why aren’t they calling you? Even the smallest of details can make a hiring manager cross your name off the list. So before you click submit on that application, go through this simple checklist of job-seeking do’s and don’ts. It could mean the difference between landing your dream job and spending another day trolling job boards.

Update your resume:

I know this seems like an obvious first step, but giving your resume a little makeover can make a big difference. Your resume should contain all of your recent employment, including the length of time spent at each position and bullet points outlining specific responsibilities and accomplishments. Think of a resume as your first impression – clean, polished, professional, and perfect for the job! Keep it simple and avoid busy fonts or funky designs.

Reminder: Make sure the contact information on your resume is current! You may be a great candidate, but if an employer can’t contact you, they’ll move on.

Write a cover letter to impress:

A resume tells an employer the Who, What, When, and Where.  A cover letter tells them WHY! Why do you want this job? Why are you qualified for the position? Why are you unique? This is a great opportunity to elaborate on points made in your resume and add some personality.

Read this for expert cover letter writing tips.

Make sure your email address is professional:

I’ll be the first to admit, I would not want any future employer to see the email address I created when I was thirteen. There is nothing professional about Sassygirl13@yahoo. Do yourself a favor and create a new email address using only elements of your first and last name.

Personalize your voicemail greeting:

If you are actively looking for a job, you should have a personalized and professional voicemail greeting. A faulty voicemail sends the wrong message to potential employers.  If your mailbox is full, you sound unorganized and flaky. If your voicemail greeting is silly or snarky, they may doubt your professionalism or question your seriousness about finding a job.

Here’s a simple script to avoid a bad voicemail impression: “Hi, you’ve reached [Insert name]. I’m not available to take your call right now, but leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!”

Clean up your social media accounts:

According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. Check out this article by CareerBuilder for more insights on what employers are looking for on social media.

When you are presenting yourself to potential employers, every detail is a method of branding yourself. What is the lasting impression you would like to make? How do you want employers to remember you? If you follow the tips above, you are sure to make a favorable first impression and come one step closer to getting your foot in the door.


Ten Ways to Blow a Job Interview… and How to Avoid these Traps!

For every job interview opportunity, there is a way that an applicant can effectively sabotage the process. If you find that you interview and interview without an offer, perhaps you are inadvertently committing one of the following “cardinal sins” of interviewing. Here is a list of everyday errors applicants commit. If you can avoid making them, you stand a better chance to get the job you really want. So, for your next interview, do not….
Get lost/show up late:

This is a surefire way to tell a company you are not going to be on time for work and you don’t allow enough time to get where you need to go. Do yourself a major favor — take a trial run past the location the day before the interview, and allow more time to get through rush hour traffic, if applicable.

Dress inappropriately:

Remember…in a business casual environment, appropriate dress for the actual job may not match appropriate interview attire. Wear formal business clothing: suit, dress, jacket and slacks. Do not interview in the more casual clothing the dress code might allow you to wear once you’re working there. If you want a company to think you are employable, look the part. Dress only in professional business attire on an interview.

Take your child with you to the interview:

While a company cannot by law ask you if you have any children, bringing one with you to the interview not only tells a prospective employer you have children, rightly or wrongly it also implies you do not have appropriate day care for the children and you might not be as reliable an employee as they want.

Negotiate a salary outside of the range initially quoted you by your staff supervisor:

When you are matched to a job by a QSS staff supervisor, part of that person’s task is to screen your salary requirement to ensure what you want is what the company can pay. If you tell QSS your money requirement is suitable for the client’s budget, we share that information with the client. When an interviewee tries to negotiate a higher salary directly with the company, it appears you either did not listen to the information offered to you, or QSS did not do their job in finding the right person for the client’s position. Negotiating a salary outside the range quoted does not put you in the best light to land the job.

Talk about personal information not pertinent to the position:

Similar to #3 above. The company with whom you are interviewing has no reason to know your cousin’s mother’s friend’s sister was in a car wreck and you had to leave your last position to take care of this person. This may be the real reason you left the job, but it will convey a more stable tone if you simply state due to compelling family reasons, you had to stop working and now the situation has been completely resolved.

Talk about past experience that has no bearing on the job for which you are interviewing:

All of us have experience that is not used on every job we perform. If you are interviewing for an entry level position in an industry new to you, do not talk extensively about the duties that could be perceived as “higher level” work. It will make you sound as if you will not be satisfied with the duties on the new job. Rather, look for links between your past work and the new job duties and push the point that your background has uniquely qualified you for the position. Remember all jobs offer learning experiences — don’t let the interviewer perceive you as “overqualified”.

Change your interview time:

Every now and again, we all have illnesses or emergencies that cause us to reschedule appointments. Whatever you do, try not to have this happen when it’s interview time. You run the risk of sounding either unorganized or disinterested in the position. If you set an interview time, make sure you don’t give the company reason to wonder how committed or interested you are.

Talk negatively about past employers:

If you had a bad experience on your last job with a difficult supervisor, do not bring this up in the interview, under any circumstances! No matter how dissatisfied you are with a past employer, it’s much more acceptable to say you were/are looking for a new opportunity than it is to bad-mouth your last supervisor.

Oversell the “advancement” issue:

Most employers hate the interviewing and recruiting process. If you come on too strong about wanting a job with a lot of advancement potential, you run the risk of making the interviewer fear they will be going through the same recruiting process next year because you have moved onto a new position. It’s fine to say you want a position with growth potential, as long as you define the concept correctly. We all want to be able to learn new tasks and to master new challenges, but it doesn’t mean you expect to be president of the company within the next 6 months. Be careful how you broach this topic! You may be giving the message that this position will be boring to you.

Talk extensively about time-consuming hobbies:

If you are active in your church, an avid cyclist, or participate in any number of community activities, you could be a considered a valuable member of society. However, you don’t want a prospective employer to wonder if you are so over-committed you wouldn’t have the time to work a full shift or to put in extra hours, as needed. Once again, tread lightly. If you are asked what you do in your spare time, respond, but don’t over emphasize the time commitment. While some employers seek staff that are involved in outside activities, make sure the interviewer knows the job would absolutely, positively, come first!