Phone Numbers are Funny Things

Well, maybe “funny” isn’t exactly the right word. I mean, it probably wouldn’t be funny to a recruiter if he/she called you with a hot opportunity and your 3-year old picked up the phone, talked for awhile, and then hung up the phone. And actually, you might not think it was funny either … if you found out about it.

I returned a phone call today to a CFO prospect, and the person who answered my call was definitely not an interested party. That got me thinking about reasons why you should NOT use your home phone number on your resume.

#1 – You can’t control who answers the phone

Do you have kids? Teenagers? A spouse who works a different shift and might sleep during the day and answer the phone groggy and half-asleep?

If you aren’t home to answer your phone at all times, you can’t control who answers it or how it will be answered. When my youngest was … young, she used to answer the home phone “who is it?” Not exactly the first impression you want to leave with a recruiter or a decision-maker.

#2 – Your voice mail message might not sound professional

Kids are so cute on voice mail messages. To family at least. And it could cost you a conversation with a recruiters about a hot – and dream – opportunity.

If your voice mail message doesn’t contain a) your name, or b) your phone number to verify he/she has the right number, maybe the caller will just hang up without leaving a message.

#3 – Your unpaid “secretary” might not deliver the message

Ever had somebody ask you why you didn’t return their call, and you responded “I never got a message to call you.” If it isn’t important to the person who answers the call, the message might never make it to the intended recipient. See #1 again.

Using your work number on your resume is not a good idea, either. That sends all kinds of negative and wrong messages to the recipient. My recommendation … use a cell phone that only you answer and which has a professional voice mail message.

Share and enjoy

6 thoughts on “Phone Numbers are Funny Things”

  1. Excellent post as usual Cindy! You only have one chance to make a first impression – don’t take a chance that someone else will mess it up! Keep control of your search so you are sure that the perceptions they take away are what you want!

  2. Cindy,

    Having worked in Executive Search for a while, I do have some memorable stories. One in particular came into mind, and continues to make me laugh. Unfortunately, I can’t share it, because it is really embarrassing.

    However, let my story that can’t be shared be a note to those reading this blog posting that they should not be using their home number to be contacted about their career, or any other business purpose.

    Thanks for making me smile.

    Samuel Dergel
    Dergel CFO Search & Consulting

  3. Cindy, while I understand the jist of this blog message, I disagree with it to a certain extent.

    I guess what I am trying to say is: Has the job market gotten so bad that not only do employers lack a sense of humor, they also lack empathy? I think while we all are professionals and try our best to exude that image at the appropriate times, we are also human and have a personality and lifestyle commensurate with that, be it for better or for worse.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that while we indeed should exude our best self we can to a prospective employer, I think employers calling a home address should be empathetic within reason that their prospective recruits are human, have lives outside of work, and that sometimes “stuff happens”.

    Further, although the cell phone is all but a ubiquitous necessity for communicating in modern society, it is still a luxury item to some extent, and not everyone can afford one, or afford to keep their cell phone on (read: account active and in service) at all times.

    In short, just as we have done okay with employers calling our homes to follow up on job openings back in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s without us having cell phones, we should be okay today if they call our home, provided we set up reasonable parameters (keeping kids from answering the phone, training teens to take messages, avoiding outrageous voicemail/answering machine messages). A cell phone helps, but I don’t think it’s particularly necessary, even in today’s society.

    Just my 2 cents.

  4. To your point, Jason, if – IF – “we set up reasonable parameters (keeping kids from answering the phone, training teens to take messages, avoiding outrageous voicemail/answering machine messages)” then certainly, a home phone number would work. The reality is, that is a difficult situation to control.

    And while everyone may not have a Smartphone, the majority do have a cell phone. In fact, I think the trend is to trade in the home phone for a cell phone.

    But really, please take my comments as they were intended … if you’ve got a cell phone, use your cell phone number.

    Thanks for reading and for commenting, Jason. Merry Christmas.


Leave a Comment