I have never owned a phone, because I don't need it in my personal life. However it is time to start job hunting, and I have observed that companies expect you to submit a phone number with your application. For this reason I intend to buy a cell phone that I will use particularly for looking for a job. Let's say I get a phone number and I put this number in an online job application form or wherever else it is supposed to go, what will the company expect from this phone number? what are the type of calls that companies make to prospective employees? Do I have to carry the phone around and be available during work hours, or do I just need to look for missed calls once or twice a day? If I have a missed call, how fast do I need to get back to the company? Anything else I should know about phone calls and job hunting?

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    If you list your phone number and e-mail, they will often try both channels. They also may request a phone discussion for screening purposes. One way is to arrange a time with them that suits you, so that you don't have to have lengthy discussions while you're in a meeting, on the road, in the subway, etc.
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:07
  • @JoeStrazzere Well, they could also email me so this question can be interpreted as "for what type of queries will they prefer the phone" or just generally in the job application process what are the type of calls that companies make to prospective employees?
    – user33982
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 13:29
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    @Pickett A phone discussion is often better for a more of a "get to know you" situation, or when you have a notion of what you want to say, but don't know the specifics yet. They are probably the next best alternative to an in-person meeting.
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 13:43
  • @Pickett if you have worked previously, did you have a work cell phone? if so, treat it the same as that.
    – user29055
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 16:24

4 Answers 4


Most people calling about something important, like a job, will leave a message if you don't pick up, so you don't absolutely need to be available every time the phone rings. That said, for lower-level jobs with lots and lots of candidates, it's possible that they might just go to the next person on the list if you don't pick up. If you do get a message about an interview, you should respond as quickly as possible, certainly within 1-2 days.

Also, make sure your voicemail works if you're going this route - I once missed out on a job opportunity because my phone never notified me that I had a message.

  • Customize your voice mail greeting message stating your name and asking the caller to leave a message. This often forgotten detail creates a better impression for the caller. Plus there are so many generic voice mail greetings, that as soon as you start to hear the generic greeting, it is quite easy to stop listening, hang up, or wonder whether it's even the right number.
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:14
  • @Brandin Good advice for people who are eager for job leads. In my case I actually leave my voicemail unconfigured and I've found that it works well to screen out random recruiters who somehow got my number but aren't serious about contacting me specifically.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:28
  • I think there's an understanding that if you call a candidate about a job application during business hours, there's a good chance you'll get voicemail and have to wait for them to call you back. Certainly I've always expected that, as have people I've worked with who had hiring responsibilities. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 23:56

Worth pointing out that many employers have rules about cell pones and personal calls, so reasonable recruiters/potential employers shouldn't require an immediate response to all calls. That being said, there will be some that will think less of you for letting your phone go to voicemail.

Two points that I would make would be, as said above, ensure that your voicemail functions, and you either get notified of messages, or check regularly.

Second, I would avoid putting your new number on any broadcasted application. If you make an application to a role, then that's fine, but if you're posting your CV on a job board/site, then I'd avoid it. I've found recruiters to be somewhat persistent and obstinate as a general rule (not all, but enough to get to me), and tend to call you repeatedly about opportunities which are not suitable, or not desired.


Most professionals will make some sort of introductory contact and try to find-out when is a good time to call. If possible, they'll try to respect and comply to your wishes. You won't be the first person to not be available while at work.

Hopefully, your phone came with voice mail. I don't always expect working people to answer their phones when I call and am usually surprised when they do.


Just carry the phone with you and answer it when it rings. If you're using it exclusively for that then you won't get any other calls anyway, so every call will be related to the job search and therefore important if you want a job.

It's pretty much expected for people to be immediately contactable these days, and frustrating for busy people if they're invariably not available. So best not to be looking for missed calls.

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    "It's pretty much expected for people to be immediately contactable these days" - this is not true. People do leave messages if it's important. In fact, if they don't even bother to leave a message, you may choose to use that as a useful filter (not important to call them back).
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:11
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    Can't agree with this at all. For starters, my ownership of a cellphone is for my convenience and no one else's. It is not a signal that one should feel free to contact me instantly at any time. Second, always answering immediately when it rings simply isn't possible. You may be in a meeting. Have no privacy in your office. Driving. Third, answering immediately sends a signal of "I have absolutely nothing else going on that I can't drop for this, including performing job duties for my current employer." That's not always a good message to send.
    – alroc
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:21
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    It's worth considering that there is probably something to the fallacy here. I don't think callers actually expect you to be "instantly contactable", but it certainly seems that some think that callers expect them to be instantly contactable. On hearing a ringing sound, they instinctively drop whatever they are doing and scramble hurriedly through their belongings to find their ringing cell phone so they can answer it immediately. This is a self-trained behaviour that is better avoided.
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:32
  • @alroc Agreed except for your last point. I could be on a break, commuting (with a hands-free kit or on other transport) for instance. In many cases, the call interrupted my concentration anyway so I may as well answer it immediately instead of having to check the message later and call back.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:32
  • common sense please people, I wasn't saying you take one hand off the handlebars while cycling to get your phone out of your pocket or take it in the swimming pool with you.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:53

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