Call Me! The Lost Art of Picking Up The Phone.


Gen X version:

“Call me (call me) on the line

Call me, call me any, anytime

Millennial version:

“Hey, I just met you,

And this is crazy,

But here’s my number,

So call me, maybe!”

Aside from the observation that Millennials are much coyer in their request for a call (“So call me, maybe!”) and those of us who identify with Gen Xers are sluts (“Call me, call me any, anytime“), what else strikes you about these lyrics?

Exactly. There is a request for conversation. “Call me.”

Not “Email me” or “Text me” or “Snapchat me” but pick up your freaking smartphone and talk to me.

I’m beginning to think conversation in general is on the verge of becoming a lost art.  And yes, I know I sound as old as my grandmother who wonders why my penmanship along with my ability to hand-write letters is crap.

I get it.  The most efficient (and at times effective) ways to communicate now involve 140 characters and emoji’s.  Certainly in recruiting, the ease and speed of text (and even Snapchat) is undeniable.

But do we really want a candidate to decline an offer via text?  “I’m out.  It’s been real.  L8R.”

Of course not.  In that spirit, I give you 12 times picking up the phone as a HR pro should be your go-to response:

  • You are 3 paragraphs into a response to a CYA email
  • Your hiring manager can’t text on his flip phone
  • Your employee screwed up “fill in the blank”
  • You are reading an email thread that could end up in a lawsuit
  • You have to cut a candidate loose
  • You need to get someone to your office to fire them
  • You need an immediate response
  • You want to apologize
  • You’d feel better if someone called you in this situation
  • You take customer service seriously
  • You want to surprise someone—in a good way
  • You just need someone to listen to you for a change

Clearly there are also times when another form of communication is the best approach.  As a general rule of thumb, if a 5-minute conversation will ALWAYS be at least 30-minutes with this person, email away!

Bottom line, you come out looking so much more professional, brave, honest, caring and competent when you know you should call—and you do.

Let’s not lose the art of communication.  Let’s amaze someone.  Let’s remember the human in HR.

Hit me in the comments with other times it’s the smart move to pick up the phone.

FOT Background Check

Kathy Rapp
Kathy Rapp is the President of hrQ, where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent or HR Consultants to drive business results.  Prior to joining hrQ, Kathy booked more than 15 years of human resources leadership experience working for such companies as Morgan Stanley and First Data Corporation.  A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent issues can be addressed via the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen  (David Lee/Sammy and sadly, Gary Cherone).


  1. I love this! I wish texting, like PowerPoint, had never been invented. The art of conversation is no longer just dangling, but fading away.

    • Kathy Rapp says:

      Thanks, Lewis! Texting has its place. Just don’t be my mom and text me an essay and expect the same detailed reply!

      I love my mom – dearly – by the way.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    Amen! I actually laughed out loud when I read the line “we who identify with GenXers are sluts”.

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