Agreeing to Disagree

Folks do not always agree on what is acceptable business behavior. Sometimes, you just agree to disagree.

Last week I was calling candidates for an open administrative position. When I called one number it rang, then it sounded like it went to voice-mail but there was not an outgoing message. I hung up and decided I would try again later in the day. Within a few minutes my phone rang and the person said, “Someone called me from this number.” 

Naturally I asked who was calling. Instead of answering she asked, “Who are you?” The conversation went on until she figured out I was calling about her resume. This exchange bothered me. I think it is poor etiquette to call back a number you do not know and investigate who called you. Please know this happens to me as well. I figure it this way, if the person really wants to speak to me he/she will either leave me a message or call me back. 

A friend of mine is a receptionist at an office with approximately 25 people. She said she hates it when people call and state “someone” called him/her. Should she ask each person until she tracks the right one down?

On the other hand, my friend Steve weighed in with another point of view. Steve told me that he is in sales so he calls back because he might lose an opportunity. Further, he said that it sometimes takes a few minutes for the voice-mail to come through. OK, fair enough.

Segue to an unrelated topic. A colleague and I were recently discussing a position she was looking to fill. I shared that I knew someone who might be a good fit. I had this person send over her resume. My colleague called and asked, “Why does she only have years for her work history?” I answered that I wasn’t sure, but why did it matter?

She told me that she is always leery when people leave off the months on a resume. “I think they are trying to hide something,” she told me. This does not bother me. I understand that, especially the last few years, candidates may have had a few months in between jobs. I feel gaps of years, not months, might be a red flag.   

A few weeks ago I received a resume that was formatted in blocks similar to a newspaper. I hated it. However, I read through and noted that the person had the skills I was looking for. I sent his resume on to the manager and wrote in the email, “horrible resume format but looks like he has some good experience.”

The manager called me to discuss the person’s qualifications. He started out saying, “Why don’t you like his resume, I think it is very creative.” I felt it was difficult to read and looked crowded. No matter, we both agreed on what was important, the content. The gentleman came in for an interview. We’ll see if there is a headline stating he got the job. 

Deanne Wernicke September 16, 2012 at 04:46 PM
As far as the "call-back". I personally SCREEN all my calls through my answering machine. It annoys me when ppl call 2 or 3 times and just hang up without leaving any message. It is only natural to want to find out who is doing this without having to engage in a conversation if you wish not to. Many, Many ppl SCREEN their calls this way. SO....for goodness sake, stop complaining - and just leave a message!
Rich S. September 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM
With all the robo calling these days I don't answer the phone at work or home if the ID is blocked. I certainly wouldn't call anyone who didn't leave a message.
Kathy P. September 18, 2012 at 10:10 AM
I agree that people should leave a message. I frequently have to cover phones at my job and find it difficult when someone wants me to just find the person who called them. What would help is if the phone ID also included the extension that the call was made from. On that other topic, what is the consensus on formats for resumes? I was told by a co-worker that the limit is no longer one page, and that using those resume templates that come with Word programs is no longer considered professional.
George Datino September 18, 2012 at 10:50 AM
If I know the number, I generally will call back a missed call. Otherwise,if they didn't leave a message, I just figure that they will get back in touch with me when they have the opportunity. @Kathy, I have screened my fair share of resumes over the years. With me it is always substance over style. Keep it short, remove all redundancies, and make sure your grammer and spelling is correct. There is nothing that turns me off more than a resume filled with spelling and gramatical errors. I have even gone back to some "head hunters" telling them they are failing to do their job in screening resumes. Your resume is the first example of the type of work you produce to a perspective employer and you don't want that to show that you didn't even take the time to correct errors. With all that said, make sure you provide concrete specific examples of work you have done in the past. I hope this helps.
Kathy P. September 19, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Thanks...glad to hear that spelling and grammar still count.


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