June 28, 2022

Who should call back when a call is dropped?


You’re on the phone, trying to impress a recruiter, when suddenly you realize there’s nobody at the other end any more. You call back. Voicemail. So you hang up, because maybe they’re trying to call you. . . and you wait, and sweat, and wonder: Who should call back when a call is dropped?

Is there an etiquette about this?

Recently when this happened to me, I finally realized I should look it up online (duh!). I found various answers, some better than others.

Words of Wisdom (?) From the Internet:

Poring over the Google search results, I found an approach I’d call “blunder onward with the best intentions. ”

In all cases, both should try. . . This is not a situation that should have some formal protocol. ”

This struck me as a non-solution. Next I found a more elaborate version of this plan, which I’ll call “blunder onward, but it may take a while. ”

“It does not really matter. . . The biggest issue is, of course, calling each other back at the same time and hitting a deadlock. In that case, wait 5 minutes or so and then call back. ”

Five minutes? In Recruiter Time, that’s a long stretch.

Come on, really, who should call back?

The most popular solution – endorsed by such notables as etiquette maven Margaret Page and the Chicago Tribune’s Mr. Manners – was (drum roll): the caller calls back. It makes sense, because the caller has the recipient’s number loaded up and can get things going with just a couple of smartphone taps.

And if they do not, how long should you wait? Recruiters are busy bees, so I would not wait longer than a minute.

You’re welcome. Now that you know who should call back when a call is dropped, you might also appreciate a more substantial (and less snarky) post, “5 Tips to Ace a Surprise Phone Screen Interview.”

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