Can’t Talk Now. I’ll Be in Meetings All Day

UN democracy fund graphicCaller: “Hi, can I please speak to John?”

Secretary: “Sir, John is not available right now. He is in a meeting. Can I take a message?”

Caller: “Do you know when he will be in?”

Secretary: “He is in meetings all day.” … click.

Bummer. I missed John again. That is one hard guy to get a hold of.

Wait! John just tweeted: “At work, is it Friday yet? Leaving early for H-Hour with the crew””

What the &*()&)(?  What kind of meeting? What’s going on here?

Yes, John has left his window open, again.

It is true, social media has changed the way the world now communicates.

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And it will probably get better … or worse, depending on your viewpoint.

But one thing is for sure, and it’s something that many people forget about: social media acts as a window into each of our lives. Sometimes we forget that the window is left open — wide open — and the world is watching. And what do we see when the window is open? Everything! We have seen employees fired for bad mouthing their bosses. We have seen prominent law students lose high profile job offers due to personal misconduct. We have seen friendships destroyed because of trash-talking and sadly we have seen cyberbullying and harassment.

The point is, I am not wronging John for saying he is in meetings all day and avoiding his phone; rather, I am advising John to be careful of what he says and when he says it.

Furthermore, the Internet is now becoming a large part of one’s resume as well — perhaps an electronic version, if you will. Yes, you have your paper copy which details your professional background and accomplishments and then you have your Internet resume which details perhaps your personal life, what others think about you, what you think about others, and so on. And regardless of what is said, who said it, and whether there is truth behind it or not — the fact remains that it is out there and people can see it.

With all these social media tools, you never know who is watching and you surely don’t want to look like a fool. Remember: the Internet never forgets.

Morgan Hoogvelt currently serves as director, global talent acquisition for ESAB, a leading engineering company. Drawing on his expertise in human capital strategy, executive search, RPO, essential hiring practices, candidate sourcing, Internet recruiting, and social networking, he provides organizations targeted, best-of-class solutions, and employment branding strategies that help his clients meet the challenges of recruiting, technology, and retaining and rewarding top talent. He is also passionate about delivering excellent customer service and building positive, productive relationships. He can be contacted at


4 Comments on “Can’t Talk Now. I’ll Be in Meetings All Day

  1. Ha ha!

    You highlight one of the hardest things in sourcing/recruiting today – getting someone on the phone!

    You also highlighted one of the not-much-talked-about facts of corporate life – those poor Gatekeepers who must lie on their bosses’ behalf.

    They should pay them a whole lot more money to do so!

    But they won’t.

  2. Lie is a strong word Maureen- its more of a polite social fiction- everyone knows that “meetings all day” means that at the moment, your call is not worth that person’s attention but that person does not know enough to totally blow you off with a “dont call again” or “he is not interested”.

    I have a squad of great gatekeepers who have learned over the years what I might be interested in- and it’s pretty easy to get past them. The golden ticket (for me anyway) is: “great, can I have his email address so I can let him know what’s on my mind before I call again” ? You will always get it. If the email then says, “hey, I spoke to XXX, your gatekeeper, and he/she was very nice, and here is what I want to talk about” I will almost always either call you back or answer your email.

    People use social fictions in many instances to not hurt feelings or to not close-out unknown opportunities, so in some cases, rather than seeing it as a “lie”, look at it as a first step and better than a total blow-off…..

  3. Maureen – thanks for the comment. It truly is the hardest thing to get someone on the phone these days. And yes, the gatekeepers that must fib I think by now are programmed to simply fib their way through the day. I have always wondered about voicemail myself. Do you ever think about the money companies can save by eliminating voicemail? Very few individuals will actually return left messages these days, by eliminating voicemail and going strictly to email I bet the country as a whole could save billions. Or, one should change their voicemail message, “Please leave a message and if it’s worth my time, I will call you back. If not, too bad.”

    Martin – thanks for the comment as well. I understand where you see it as “polite social fiction”, but I think being direct is better than a blow off. When one calls back on a normal routine and the answer of “in meetings all day” is quite ridiculous. Rather, I would challenge people to answer the phone, see if there is true value behind the call and then say either “yes, lets meet” or “no, not in the market. Please do not call again.” I make that a point with every call I receive and it has always worked out quite well for me.

    And if your gatekeepers truly will share your email address, I commend you as that is scarce these days. Usually all that’s left when asked is a dial tone (hang up).

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