Friday, October 5, 2007

Phone manners

Yes, this is a rant.

I am sometimes outstounded at the rudeness and blatant lack of patience or courtesy displayed by some of the persons I call for background checks. I worked six years as a secretary and HR rep, and I never would have dared address callers as shortly as some of these women answer the phone. And it is always women who are rude. The men are polite and matter-of-fact. Oh wait, there was that one guy that thought he was in some kind of trouble or something that was a little weird and unprofessional, but he was calling me back to try to find out who I was after his employer asked him: he wasn't answering the phone.

True, most of the persons I call are professional and are your standard receptionists who transfer you to the right person, and most HR contacts know the drill and go through the standard procedures that we all use in the HR field: asking for releases when applicable, simply stating that something is against company policy to release, we all know the typical responses and go through the dance like it's been choreographed.

But it's that 5% that are just complete jerks, that treat me like I am interfering in their personal time and they can't be bothered ... and like 'how dare I call and ask such things! omg!' .... rrrrrrrrr! I want to reach through the phone and slap some of these women! If they would just be calm, state when something is against their policy to answer, and answer the basic standard pre-employment questions, the call could be over in like two minutes, or request/accept signed permission from the employee (I always offer at the first sign of hesitation).

But no, instead they want to act all offended and suspicious and blah blah blah ... and end up dragging out the whole process three days when they then avoid my follow-up calls. Ugh. Idiots. Then I try to use my best psychological tools on these people and talk to them at their level. I'm sure my dripping sarcasm doesn't help in some of these cases. I try to save it to address the telephone after I've hung up.

There was even one lady whose voice mail message stated "... and if you don't leave a reason for your call, I will NOT call back." And this was an HR rep at a fairly medium-to-big company. I was shocked. How could management tolerate such an anti-cooperative attitude? And the two times I did talk to her she was snappy and hung up on me before I finished my sentence. This lady gave the impression that my audacity for wanting to ask her a question was simply beyond bounds!

After the first time she hung up on me, I called right back - got her voice mail - and I left a message asking the rest of my question, and also saying I hoped her day got a lot better.

Somehow I don't think she fully appreciated my well wishes.

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