Situation: I have received a job offer(s) and/or interview related communication from a potential employeer. This has been communicated either in person, via phone, or through email (or some combination). It seems you often receive a phone call which is a "by the way, you will shortly receive an email containing information related to XXX."

I am never sure what communication medium is the most appropriate to respond with. I personally find email most convenient for most of my communication, so I normally respond with email - if I have received an email communicating details of next steps, offer, etc, but I am not at all sure this is considered most professional or appropriate.

Specific Questions

  1. Should you respond to all job communication in the form it was first communicated in?
  2. Are there situations where it is considered improper to use either email/phone?
  3. When is it appropriate to change the communication form?

Related to and derived from: Negotiation for Fulltime Conversion After Internship

3 Answers 3


In general, I would say that any communication mechanism is acceptable. Where a recruiter moves a conversation to email from phone, this is most likely to indicate the desire to send something like a job specification that is too involved to communicate over the phone. In other words, they are reacting to the circumstances and the communication in question.

Likewise, you will have circumstances that dictate which mechanisms work for you. For example, I sit in an open plan office, and it is thus rarely easy to have a full discussion with a recruiter over the telephone. Often I'll ask them to email me, so that I can email them any details I'm not able to say out loud. Alternatively, I may only have access to work email which could be monitored, so I may take a phone number and call them back when I've found a quiet corner or empty office. There are times when only one of the options will be available to you.

Talking over the phone is more immediate and personal, and so all other things being equal is probably to be prefered over email. If you have details to communicate that must be captured accurately, for whatever reason, then email is probably to be prefered over phone. But no recruiter worth their salt will mind a communication in any format - if it works, use it.


Make a phone call if possible. Most communications during the interview process are setting up interviews and asking/answering questions. You have a number and an invitation to call, take advantage of it.

Finding time to contact people during business hours can be difficult by phone, so follow their lead, and respond by email.

  • So...call if possible, but follow their lead and email them instead? I'm confused.
    – acolyte
    Aug 20, 2012 at 13:50
  • 2
    This doesn't really answer any of my questions as it seems to not present a coherent answer as written (it seems to contradict itself?).
    – enderland
    Aug 20, 2012 at 15:25

In general responding using the medium you were contacted with is a good rule of thumb. However if you get a phone call saying "you will soon receive an email" and the email contains the information then it is fine to respond by email (unless the email tells you otherwise, of course). For most companies email is the norm.

The only time it is inappropriate to use email is for formal offers and documents, where a signature is needed.

  • My last employer emailed me their offer and allowed me to scan the signed acceptance and email the resulting file to them.
    – GreenMatt
    Nov 26, 2012 at 4:01

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