How Technology Tanks an Interview

Yesterday I met with several direct hire and exec recruiters for a networking / brainstorming meeting. Pet peeves always come up during these talks and here are some direct from the recruiters’ mouths:

“Get this,” said Gary an IT recruiter. “I’m interviewing a guy and he interrupts the interview to take a call from his cell phone!” Gary went on to describe how the candidate told Gary that the call was very important – during the interview. “Needless to say,” said Gary, “the rest of the interview lasted about 5 minutes and I will not place this guy – EVER.”

Think about it, if the interview to get the job wasn’t important enough to put calls on hold for a half hour, what’s going to happen on the job?

“I want to talk about CRACKberrries,” said Gina B. “During an interview a woman is actually holding up her crackberry and typing with her thumbs like this,” she demonstrated. How important is it to answer email during an interview? Truly?


1. Take control of your personal technology! You control it – it does not control you.

2. Turn cell phones OFF during an interview or put the ringer on silent (not vibrate).

3. Turn Blackberries off during an interview. You can email AFTER you get to your car. In fact, why not email that interviewer a thank you note when you get to your car? Use technology for good. 🙂

Of course, I do have to say how our meeting ended. As things wound up, Patrick whipped out his Sprint phone that had email, a keypad, phone access, THE WORKS. He starts emailing his candidates and returned some calls. Proudly he said, “Hey, at least I waited until the meeting wrapped up!”

You can do the same.

One thought on “How Technology Tanks an Interview

  1. Wendy – Great post! Your suggestions might seem obvious to most of your readers, but I have experienced this self-destructive technology behavior too often in my years as a hiring manager.

    Your recommendations apply in other direct and indirect recruiting settings. Below are some additional suggestions.

    1. Telephone interviews – Turn off call waiting. Make sure additional phones, computers and other technologies are off or in silent mode as to not create a distraction to you or the interviewer.

    2. Lunch or other dining interviews – Keep you cell phones off and out of site. Do not check your phones until after the interview and you are away from the participants.

    3. Informal meetings with prospective employers should be considered interviews – Again keep you cell phones off and out of site.

    4. At career-related networking events you are being observed as a potential hire – if you must keep your phone on vibrate, at least do not answer it until you are away from the crowd and in an appropriate place.

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