Prepare a guiding thread for the questions you want to ask. Gather information about the company beforehand and use this information to ask relevant questions or to build on what the other person is saying. Write down words and expressions that belong to the job description or to the type of position you pursue and use them to add value to your application. Prepare answers to the typical questions asked in a job interview (for example naming your strengths and weaknesses, explaining why you would be the ideal candidate for the position, etc.). It is better to be well prepared than to be surprised. That way you will leave a more positive impression.
Choose the appropriate time for calling (preferably in a quiet environment, at home).
Introduce yourself (first name and last name) and ask if you can speak to Mr / Mrs XX or to the head of the division in question. Do not specify the object subject of your phone call, unless you are asked to.
Be kind with the assistant who picks up the phone, she might be more influential than you may think... It is best to remain courteous in any situation. Ask for their name and position and write them down. Even if you were not able to speak to the person you wanted to reach, keep in mind that the person who picks up the phone is your first contact in the company where you would like to work.
Don't waste the other person's time.
Listen carefully and do not interrupt them. Try to establish a dialogue.
Discreetly take notes of what the person is saying.
Do not apologize for the disturbance. If the person didn't want to be disturbed they would not have picked up your call in the first place.
Suggest several possible dates for an appointment. Instead of asking yes or no questions such as "could we meet?" try to use open-ended questions like “when could we meet?”.
Write down the time and place of the appointment and if necessary the floor, the reception desk, the name of the person and their position. Ask for their email address as it can be useful if you haven't yet sent in your application file. If you are planning to go to the appointment by car, ask if visitors’ parking spaces are available.
Don't forget to thank the person before hanging up. Confirm by repeating the date and time of the appointment or the next step that should be taken if you couldn't speak with the person you were trying to reach.
Don't forget to prepare a message in case you need to leave one on an answering machine. Clearly spell out your name and phone number. You can also mention that you are calling regarding an ad for a particular position.
Also think about recording a professional message on your own answering machine, such as: “Hello, you have reached first name and last name. I am not available at the moment. Please leave a message with your name and number and I will call you back as soon as possible. Thank you.”
If the person you wanted to reach is not available, ask when it is convenient for you to call back. You can also ask for their direct number, even though it is more likely that you will have to go through an operator.
They might also suggest calling you back. When this happens, do not rush to pick up the phone, make sure your voice and mind are clear and keep your application file within reach. If you are in unfavorable circumstances (for example in a crowded bus, driving, shopping with you kids, etc.), let the phone ring and call back later when you are available and in better conditions. It is better not to answer than to take the risk of leaving a bad impression.