Communication with Employers
Below are some tips to help you communicate in a polished, professional way by phone, email or Skype.
General Guidelines for Communicating with Employers
Communicating with Employers by Phone
- Make sure you are calling from a quiet location, free of any potential distractions.
- Speak professionally, clearly and with confidence.
- Smile when you talk – it helps to make you sound more positive over the telephone.
- Always be very polite with administrative staff and assistants.
- Check and respond to all messages promptly (within 24 hours). You may need to call several times before you are able to connect with the employer. Be mindful of the time you are calling (what are the business hours of the employer you are contacting?)
- If nervous, create a phone script.
- Keep your call short and to the point. Always be prepared to take notes and have your schedule available in case they would like to arrange a meeting.
- End your call politely by thanking the employer for their time and wishing them a nice day.
- If you receive a call from an anonymous number and you think it may be a prospective employer, it's okay to let the call go to voicemail, especially if you are rushing to class or are at all unprepared to take the call. Check the voicemail and call the employer back when you are calm, collected, and prepared to speak with both your resume and the job description in front of you.
- If you are leaving a voicemail, speak slowly and clearly. Be sure to state your first and last name at the beginning of the message and state the number you can be reached at two times. ("again, that number is .......").
Communicating with Employers by Email
- It is preferable to use your Drexel email address, but you can also use a professional address (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Use professional business letter formatting, and avoid the use of colors, unusual fonts and emoticons.
- Include a subject line that is clear and concise. Do not use slang or short forms. Common short forms used when texting are unacceptable when emailing, and create a negative first impression.
- Use a professional greeting, avoiding the use of informal language such as "Hey", "Hi there" or "What's up". "Dear Mr. or Mrs." or "To the hiring managers at ....." are examples of professional greetings.
- Be precise and ensure your message is clear to the recipient.
- Proofread and spell check your email before you hit send. Consider having someone else read your email as a second round of editing.
- Check your email regularly and respond to new messages promptly. However, as with responding to phone calls or voicemails, respond when you have the time to be thorough and thoughtful.
- Create an email signature with your contact information and a link to your portfolio (if applicable) or LinkedIn profile.
Mechanical Engineering Student
Contacting Employers to Schedule Interviews
Scheduling Interviews by Phone
If you are nervous speaking on the phone to an employer, it is always helpful to have a phone script ready in advance. Have your calendar ready, and a pen and paper for any notes.
Carefully read the interview instructions before you call. Ensure you know exactly who you are asking for and what the job entails. Research the company briefly online. Have an idea of where they are located and how you are going to get to the interview.
Keep in mind that many employers or recruiters may be managing multiple job openings, so you want to be precise about the job title you're inquiring about. Also, have your resume handy. You may be asked a couple of basic questions, so be prepared to speak briefly about your experience.
Sample Phone Script:
Hello Mr./Ms. _______. My name is __________ and I am a Drexel University co-op student. I received notice that I have been selected for an interview for the __________________ position with your company and I am calling to arrange a time to meet with you.
Book time and ask any questions you may have, such as:
Is there anything you would like me to prepare for the interview?
Where will the interview be held?
May I ask how many people will be meeting with me?
Listen carefully and take notes. Confirm the time by repeating it back to them.
I look forward to meeting with you on Tuesday at 10 AM. Thank you for your time. Have a nice day.
If the employer is not available, leave a concise message and state your name and telephone number slowly and clearly.
Sample Voicemail Script:
Hello Mr./Ms. _______. My name is __________ and I am a Drexel University co-op student. I received notice that I have been selected for an interview for the __________________ position with your company and I was calling to arrange a time to meet with you. I can be reached at (phone number). I look forward to your call. Thank you.
If they call you:
Some employers will be calling you to arrange a time. When you answer, sound professional by saying hello and stating your name. Only answer your phone when you are in a quiet place and have time to talk. In case you miss a call, ensure that your voicemail message is professional and clearly identifies you. While you are waiting for these calls, make sure you have pen and paper handy at all times, as you never know when they might call. Return any employer phone calls promptly.
Scheduling Interviews by Email
Read the instructions carefully. Many employers ask for specific details in the subject line of the email, so be certain to follow those. If there are not any instructions, put the job title and the words “Drexel University Co-op Interview” in the subject line.
Subject: Drexel University Co-op Interview – ________________ Position
Dear Mr. / Ms. ____________:
I am a Drexel University co-op student and I received notice that I have been selected for an interview for the _____________ position with (company name). I am excited by this opportunity and look forward to learning more about your company.
I am writing today to arrange a time and location for the interview.
You may want to give some availability here. For example, if there are days when you know you are simply unavailable, you may want to state something such as:
I am available any weekday with the exception of Wednesdays, and would be happy to meet at your convenience.
Alternatively, you could provide a link to an online calendar, such as Google, Outlook or Doodle, which allows the employer to view all your available times and select one right away.)
I can be reached at this email address, or by phone at _____________. Thank you for your time.
Mechanical Engineering Student
Prepare for a Skype interview as you would an in-person interview by practicing questions, reviewing the job posting and researching the company. There are additional factors you will want to consider for an interview on Skype:
Before the Interview
- Ensure you have a quiet place to talk. Choose a room away from street noise, roommates and pets. Turn off the television, radio and any other media devices that may distract. Silence your phone, but have it nearby in case they call due to technical issues.
- Test your sound and video with a friend well in advance of the interview so you have time to resolve any issues.
- Double check the time of the interview and ensure you have accounted for any time differences.
- Check the lighting and ensure the picture quality is good. Select a spot in front of a blank wall, so the interviewers will not be distracted by what is behind you. Tidy any clutter that may be visible to the interviewers.
- Ensure you are logged on early and that they have your user name (which should be a professional user name).
During the Interview
- Once the call goes through and they can see and hear you, smile, say hello and thank them for meeting with you.
- Know the names of the people who will be interviewing you and use their names when addressing them.
- Give yourself time to answer the questions. There can often be a small delay on Skype, so pause, smile and then answer the question.
- Have all the same items you would have for a phone interview (paper, pen, glass of water, copy of resume) beside you, but out of sight.
- Focus only on the interview. Do not have other windows open, or have anything going on in the background.
- Dress professionally. Sit up straight. Look directly into the camera. Smile.
- At the end, thank them for their time. Within 24 hours, send a thank you email.
Prepare for a phone interview as you would an in-person interview by practicing questions, reviewing the job posting and researching the company. There are additional factors you will want to consider for an interview over the phone:
- Ensure you have a quiet place to talk, with no possible interruptions from roommates, family, pets or street noise. Turn off all electronic devices.
- Do not eat, smoke or chew gum while you are speaking with the employer.
- A cell phone is acceptable for a phone interview, but it is preferable to use a land line when possible. Turn off call waiting.
- Answer the phone professionally by identifying yourself.
For example: “Good morning, John Smith speaking.”
- Be prepared. Have your resume in front of you, plus a list of questions you have for them. Have a pen and paper ready in case you need to take notes. Have a glass of water in front of you in case you need it.
- Smile while you speak. Smiling helps to make you sound positive and upbeat.
- End the phone call on a positive note by thanking them for their time and wishing them a pleasant day.
- After the interview, send a thank you note within 24 hours.