Recruiting – Phone vs Email

It is one of the clichés of classic movie comedies: Whenever there are multiple telephones in someone’s office, eventually they will all ring at the same time, causing massive frustration for the office’s occupant. Of course, we don’t have that problem today—it’s just your cell phone that keeps buzzing with e-mails, texts, Facebook notifications and tweets! It’s important for recruiters to stay on top of the latest technology, but it’s equally important to remember the most basic of all communication devices, the telephone.

To understand why the phone is still a necessary component in recruiting, we need to realize the phone’s best virtue. Of all the communication methods mentioned above, the telephone alone allows simultaneous two-way communication. There is simply no substitute for conversation. It is the easiest way to build rapport and develop a relationship. The intimacy and flexibility of a phone conversation allows us to use a wide range of emotional degrees, all through changes in voice timbre. The voice timbres we hear on the other end of the line can help us discern how our ideas are being received, and allow us to make changes when necessary to keep the other party with us. And no matter how quickly you can send off a series of e-mail exchanges, there’s no quicker way for two parties to arrive at a mutual decision than by talking on the phone.

Of course, we all learned to speak before we learned to write. Every day, we speak many more words than we write. Consequently, the quality of our writing suffers in comparison to our speech. Unless you make part of your living as a writer, you’re not likely to examine every sentence you write for clarity. This is precisely why e-mail communication can be a problem. It is very easy for an e-mail message to be misunderstood. An incorrectly placed word or a poorly-worded sentence can cause the recipient to not get the proper meaning, or misunderstand your concept. In the worst case, it can be a deal breaker; in the best case, it leads to more e-mails trying to clarify the original one. And in the end, you might have to call the person anyway just to explain the point!

Finally, don’t forget the extra benefits you can get with a phone conversation. If there are lingering questions about a candidate’s experience or qualifications, you can get an immediate reaction by phone. Need referrals (and who doesn’t)? Ask during your phone call. It’s usually more convenient for the recipient to give referrals to you over the phone than trying to remember to tack them on to an e-mail. And unless you get a voicemail, you’ll get instant answers to your questions and concerns rather than waiting for a reply.

So remember your old friend, the telephone, and make those deals in the most efficient way possible! Happy hunting!

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