Ask Carla: Cell Phone Etiquette for Job Seekers

Dear Ask Carla: 
I am currently in the market for a new job. I haven’t had much luck in getting interviews. It seems like all is well when I initially call, but then things don’t move forward. I also am getting a lot of missed calls from unavailable, but no message. My mom said that when people call and hear my ring back tone it paints an unflattering picture of me. I disagree, what does my music have to do with a job?


When an employer begins to consider bringing someone into their organization, they must create a profile of the person based on information that is readily available to them. Yes, a resume or application tells us where you have worked, gone to school and a few of your accomplishments and acquaintances, but your Facebook profile, voice mail message, email address and ring back tone (if present) gives us a candid profile of who you are. Consider the following:

Usually the songs that are popular ring back tones don’t glorify behavior attractive to a potential employer. Simply stated, if the song talks about partying, having sex or getting drunk, what kind of picture does this paint of you to an employer? (remember, they don’t know that you are a multifaceted intelligent, hard-working human being, they just know what you are advertising via your song choice)

Secondly, some people may mistake the ring back tone for a wrong number and hang up before your voice message begins. Translation, you could miss an opportunity because the hiring manager calling you for an interview, is of a prior generation and doesn’t know what a ring back tone is.

Finally, I will go out on a limb and say for hiring managers and recruiters everywhere, who have to call 20 – 30 people a day to schedule interviews. RING BACK TONES ARE ANNOYING!!!! Whether the employer doesn’t like your taste in music or if yours is the 11th time they have had to listen to ________(fill in the blank), it is likely that when that first note, of that song they have heard all day hits, they just hang up and go to the next applicant with a normal ring instead of listening to ____________(fill in the blank).

So here is my answer, in a job market like this one. I personally advise you to get rid of the ring back tone and exercise your right to be the uniquely, creative music loving person you are, elsewhere. Why do anything that could impede you from getting your next great opportunity?

Carla Lane is President and Chief Executive Officer of LaneStaffing, Inc. a multimillion dollar employment solution provider headquartered in Houston, TEXAS. She is also founder of This Woman’s Work, Inc. a non-profit organization that empowers women and girls by giving them access to career opportunities, programs and long-lasting mentoring relationships. Send your questions to carla@askcarla.net.

The statements in the preceding article are for informational purposes only and are the opinions of the author they are not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.