In today’s world where people are hardly offline, it is easy to lose track of common courtesy when communicating. Business emails are exchanged well beyond office hours and social media makes friends accessible almost around the clock.

When being interviewed for a job, hiring managers are not your coworkers or buddies. And it is very important to be conservative when communicating with them regarding the job process or otherwise. Remembering the basic rules of courtesy in terms of respecting their privacy, time off and boundaries keeps you on the safe side.

That is not only because hiring managers wouldn’t want to get too close too soon, but also because the process allows you to demonstrate your professional side and ability to deal with business contacts. Here are few points to remember when communicating with hiring managers or future coworkers.

Check the clock

It is expected that you sometimes will respond to requests or emails regarding your hiring process after work hours, especially if you are working. What’s not expected is to reach out to hiring managers by mobile phone, texting or otherwise after office hours — unless you’ve been clearly asked to. Having the person’s cell phone number and an invitation to call if you have questions doesn’t mean you are welcome to intrude on the person’s private life.

In fact, even emails should be sent during normal waking hours. Remember, many people have their business emails activated on their mobile gadgets, and if the person typically doesn’t get late-night emails, you don’t want to be the one who makes that phone beeps and cause alarm.

That is why you should always keep the communication within office hours or immediately after. In cases when you have to spend several hours in the evening to prepare documentation or other materials to send to an employer, you can get everything ready and send it at once in the morning.

Leave messages

Don’t call on cell phone numbers unless you are clearly asked to. Otherwise, use the office phone and email address for all communication. If the person doesn’t pick up, leave a voice message followed up by an email immediately. If you do so, you have covered all the bases.

The person certainly will get your message when available, so don’t keep calling, set the number on redial or leave multiple messages. All of these actions can be taken as a sort of unnecessary nagging.

Your voicemails should be totally professional. State your name, the job being applied for, the reason for calling and your callback number. Speak clearly and professionally to make sure the person understand the purpose of the call. Don’t leave vague “call me back” messages. If you’ve been playing phone tag with the hiring manager and this is the second or third round of not being able to connect on the phone, ask for a good time to call back.

Professional tone

In all communication — verbal or written — remember that the hiring manager isn’t a friend and the entire hiring process must stay as professional as possible. With that in mind, ditch the emojis, unnecessary abbreviations and unprofessional expressions, exclamation marks and brief phone-style replies.

Instead, take your time to write proper, full-length emails. In fact, every email you write to the employer is an opportunity to stress your interest and demonstrate your professionalism ... don’t sacrifice this for the sake of speed.

One exception is when you are setting up an appointment. If you are exchanging emails back and forth to come up with the best time for a meeting, you better get back to the employer as soon as possible, especially if the meeting is planned for the near future. That responsiveness will be appreciated.

Still, your brief responses should remain as professional as possible — and definitely free of any spelling or grammatical errors.

Social media

Meeting for an interview doesn’t mean it is the start of a friendship. Sending a hiring manager you have only met in this context a Facebook friend request is less-than-professional. Some may even see a LinkedIn request too forward.

With that in mind, try to limit your personal social media requests as much as possible. But when it comes to company accounts, go for it. In fact, it shows you are proactively researching the company when you begin to follow its news on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. But be careful with any comments or mentions you make that involve a future employer.


The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.