Cell Phone Usage During a Job Interview

Posted By team

 In December 2007, the Washington Post featured a touching, first-person account of a job seeker in an unusual situation who literally walked out of an interview to answer her cell phone. Why she did this highlighted the uncertainties faced by military spouses with husbands and wives on active duty in war zones. Because the applicant-Army wife goes for long periods of time without being able to speak to her husband, and his calls can come in at any time, she kept her cell phone on during a job interview. As luck would have it, the phone rang while the applicant was in the midst of discussing her abilities and skills. She stunned the hiring manager by answering the phone. She then excused herself so that she could talk privately. To make a long story short, she and her husband had one of the lengthiest, satisfying discussions they'd had in months. Knowing she had blown her chances for the job, the applicant never returned to the interview. It was a moment that crystallized the much of what her current life is about, living in the moment. Many Post readers probably smiled at the woman's decision.

Scope out to the larger world, and examples abound in which even the most hallowed, do-not-interrupt meetings are either disturbed or derailed by cell phone calls. For job seekers about to walk into an interview, there's no easy advice on dealing with unavoidable urgent phone calls. There is however, a clear need to arrange your life so that you can interview without your cell phone causing lost opportunities.

"Call me old fashioned, but cell phones do not belong in an interview setting," says All Star Resume adviser Tina Johnson. "Though many times interviewers are interrupted by cell phone calls, under no circumstance should the interviewee even bring a cell phone to the meeting. They should leave it in the car."

Normally people know well in advance that they are going to an interview. "With the advance time, job applicants should be able to ask someone else to be available for emergency family situations." If you have a job interview, arrange for a trusted friend, colleague, or family member to be on standby. "Give your child or family member who might be needing your attention the same message, explaining that you are in a very important interview, and should they have an emergency they could contact the person you have designated, and that they are ready to help," she adds.

That allows the interviewee the opportunity to be focused and alert, and not worried about outside interruptions.

"Answering your phone during the interview will not make the interviewer think you are important," Johnson adds, "just not able to manage your life for even one hour without being interrupted. It is distracting to both parties and the last thing that you want to do is find a reason for the interviewer to say 'no thank you' to your resume and ability to do the job."

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