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

Social Media Can Get You FIRED

Saw this article today:

Social networks causing employee-employer issues
Think your boss won’t hear about the time you griped about him on Facebook? Tony Puckett says you should think again. ‘In the digital age, it’s easier than ever for employees to say things publicly and for you to hear about it,’ Puckett said Friday in a speech at the 2010 Oklahoma Human Resources Conference and Expo, held at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center. Employees and employers …
2010-05-07 19:01:41 Tulsa World

YES, social media can get you fired – and I’ve seen the results.

One company president gave me a call. He hired me for outplacement of an employee. Why? She was fired because she was using Facebook and other social networks on the job – and it was not part of her job duties.

One connection posted how much he hated his job on Facebook. He must have forgotten that he was a member of his employer’s fan page and group. They saw the post.

Think about it like this, if it doesn’t pass the mom and boss test, don’t post it!

What do I mean? If your boss reads the post, could you lose your job?

If your mom read it, would you be embarrassed? You would? Don’t post it!

Take Action: Review your Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and other social networks. Do they pass the test?

Recruiter Rants

Hi, this contribution is from Alice Hanson, former resume writer turned recruiter. Enjoy!  [Oh, and some side bar stuff from me, Wendy Terwelp]

It struck me today how far I’ve gone from resume writing and my former job in career coaching…It’s just a very different perspective here. I am hiring mid level technical contract positions. We get and fill about 10 jobs a day. With this kind of speed, there are some things that really drive me crazy…thought I would share. And a great resume is still a great asset-thanks to those who do them!

Recent pet peeves:

Applicants who don’t put their phone number in the Monster job ad…how am I supposed to call them? Do you want a job or what? Don’t be coy on me. I’ll call someone else and sometimes I don’t have time to mess with an email and wait for you to email back..the job will be closed by then or I will have submitted someone else. The market is really moving.

[Note: I must say, I too have been receiving resumes for review that have only a name listed as contact info. Hello! Read the above!]

Applicants who call back a week later expecting the job to still be there…uh, no, sorry.

Applicants who have nothing but soft skills on their resume. Even if they are a project manager or business
analyst or product manager or even a project coordinator, I want to know what type of projects, technical skills, and expertise they can manage:

Software development, networks, new products -what kind? What beside a PM are they? Don’t tell me they are “good with people.” What industry? What tools? What did you create? Give me all the alphabet soup. Are you a Linux guy or a MS guy? Database or Web/front end? .net or Java? If you test, have you done black box, white box, performance and load, UI or regression testing?

[In other words, provide specific examples of your projects – we call them “achievements.” Quick tip: Use the CAR technique – Challenge, Action, RESULT.]

Give me a grid of hard skills that I can match against the job desciption I’m sourcing…Get really specific and stick it in a chart with number of years used and the year it was used….very helpful….if I see the right skills, then I read the most recent job description and check the date of their last employed date and the job history.I hate resumes that are done in two column tables. Give it to me straight and direct. I just dump out all the formatting and stick it in our corporate format anyway..and tables make it harder..the hiring manager never sees your formatting if you go through a recruiter. 

[Now, now, there is SOME formatting – like paragraphs and bullets. 🙂 ) I don’t bother with profiles..and this makes me grimace after all the pain I used to put into picking the right adjective that “captured” the uniquness of my client…but I don’t mess with them…10 seconds of reading is very true..often I read the resume from the bottom up, looking for career history and how the candidate evolved. If the candidate makes it through my screen, the hiring manager may be interested in the profile so I guess profiles have a role. I determine
who the person is by the phone screen. Chronological formats, to the point, are my favorite…but they don’t hide much, so there you go.

[Time and time again I hear chronological is the fave. I personally use a combo, a few meaty statements in front and chronological info right after. To date, rave reviews from employers and recruiters alike. How do I know? My clients get hired. And sometimes the HR person who hired them becomes a client!]

Six page tech resumes can be fine, suprisingly. I had a Microsoft manager tell me the other day to take a one page resume and “give it more beef.” We had to add a lot of left out details to make the candidate look credible. The old adage–make the resume as long as it needs to be to make the candidate looks credible and worth the money they are asking.

[Six pages?! No way!]

Anyway, a perspective from my desk…thought I would share for what it is worth.– Alice Hanson