Your Cell Phone Can Ruin Your Interview

By Guest Blogger, Isabella York

In today’s modern world, cell phones play a very important role in communication. Everyone, including students, use cell phones to keep in touch with others, to convey an important message or to find information in an instant.

For those looking for a job, your cell phone could be your best friend when you need to call companies to inquire about job openings or to confirm an interview with a prospective employer. But, when used inappropriately, cell phones could cost you the job you want.

You can’t answer your phone every time it rings. And you shouldn’t, especially when you’re on an important job interview. Unfortunately, though, a lot of people break this rule. This definitely calls for some brushing up on cell phone etiquette.

First, here are some pet peeves headhunters have when it comes to interviewing people who can’t seem to part from their phones.

  1. Gabbing or texting nonstop on your phone while waiting for your interview. OK, so it’s not your turn yet to impress the employer with your wit and charm. But that does not give you license to chat or text ceaselessly in the waiting area. That seemingly oblivious receptionist at the front desk could be eavesdropping on you or secretly eying you from a distance. Your private conversations could turn out to be not-so-private after all when word about your chatting or texting marathons reaches the hiring manager. That just gives a bad impression, so please, take your personal business elsewhere or wait until the interview is over.
  2. Using the internet feature of your phone. Many new cellphones these days come with browsing features that help people get information on the go. Even if your data plan allows you to surf whenever you feel like it, remember that you are waiting for a job interview. You may think that this is not as severe as talking or texting on your phone, but it is. Surfing while waiting shows you’re bored and that you’re better off somewhere else than waiting for hours for your interview to happen.
  3. Using your phone to take down notes. Surprise, surprise! Some people actually DO this during job interviews. You know from the moment you accepted the interview invitation that you need to take down notes to retain information. Why would you be using your cell phone to record information, when you could’ve brought a notebook or an organizer for that purpose?
  4. Answering a call in the middle of the interview. Unless you’re expecting an emergency call from your wife who’s about to give birth or other related emergency (although, if it’s an emergency, why would you be expecting it anyway?), your phone should be turned off during the interview. Making a potential employer wait for you while you finish your phone conversation is just plain rude. The hiring manager wouldn’t think twice about kicking you out of the room, at least mentally.
  5. Talking to someone in the company’s restroom. This can be summed up in one word: gross. Whatever your business is, don’t talk about it in the restroom, especially not in the company where you’re having an interview. You don’t know who else might be in hearing range and listening to every juicy detail you dish while on the phone.

Having said those things, there are good practices to observe so you don’t jeopardize the job of your dreams. Some tips:

  1. Instead of burying your face on the phone while waiting for your interview, consider mentally rehearsing your answers to possible questions that may pop up during the interview.
  2. Before entering the interviewer’s room, turn your cell phone OFF. Yes, you read that right: Off. Even if you have your phone on vibrate mode, your interviewer would still hear its buzzing sound and that could interrupt the flow of conversation.
  3. If you are expecting an important phone call, inform your caller not to contact you during specific hours.
  4. Ask someone else to take the call for you or run your errands BEFORE you head out to your interview.
  5. Turn on your voice mail so you can listen to your messages after the interview.

It is important to make a good impression on your job interview. Even if you have a list of great accomplishments, those things won’t matter much if you don’t show respect to your future employer. Nonverbal communication matters greatly especially when meeting someone for the first time. Use your cell phone sparingly when waiting for an interview or preferably not at all.

Isabella York’s background includes serving in Human Resources with Balsam Hill,  a provider of fine pre-lit Christmas Trees. She’s also a busy mother with a son to raise, who enjoys being outside in her backyard garden. 

Graphic by SnapHappy Creative LLC.

Want more help with interviews? Check out Invincible InterviewsSM

2 thoughts on “Your Cell Phone Can Ruin Your Interview

  1. Although I don’t necessarily agree with everything in your informative post, the bit about the cell phone within the interview room is definitely a huge NO. I really am surprised at anyone who would even feel comfortable answering their phone in the middle of an interview.

    • Shocking, right? My recruiter connections have mentioned this as a fairly regular occurrence, including candidates texting messages during interviews! Your comment about this being a definite NO are spot on.

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