Cell Phones and Interviews Just Don’t Mix…

timtolan Interviewing, Tim Tolan, Working With Recruiters

This one goes out to the job seekers out there.

For some strange reason I have noticed more and more candidates “clinging on” to their cell phones during interviews, lunch/dinner meetings, video interviews like some sort of adult pacifier, and I don’t get it. Really. I don’t. It’s as if they are expecting a call from the White House or Publisher’s Clearinghouse with some long awaited good news. Nobody cares that you have a new phone or are expecting a call, so you can close a sale while you are in the middle of an interview. They don’t care.

Cell phones actually have NO place in a job interview. Period. End of story. It’s inappropriate, un-necessary and down-right rude. Help me here folks. Last week I did several video interviews and during the middle of the interview I could not help notice that the candidate I was interviewing periodically cut his eyes to the left as if he had seen a large insect crawling on the desk near him. Nope that would be incorrect. He was trying to see if he could make out the phone number when his cell phone lit up in the middle of our interview. He did have the cell on “silent mode” which I somewhat appreciated, but it was still on. He apparently positioned the phone to make sure he had a good visual just in case someone called. C’mon. What is the most important thing a candidate should do during an interview? I can think of 3-4 critical items on that list and guess what? It’s not checking out your phone.

Then there is the less than subtle technique of using the “Vibrate Only” setting during an interview. I’m not sure which is worse. Whether the phone is in their pocket, on the desk, or strapped to their belt buckle like a loaded 44 Magnum – it does not matter to me. Stay focused people. There is NO PLACE for a cell phone while on a job interview under any circumstances. OK… if you are waiting on a critical call (maybe if your wife is expecting) and you inform the person conducting the interview in advance – that’s different, and you should get a pass. However, nobody else deserves a break.

Finally, is it really necessary to conduct a business phone call from a public restroom? I heard someone not long ago discussing his background while in the men’s restroom. I wonder how that turned out for him? It was hard to hear exactly what he was saying with all of the flushing and other bathroom noise going on. Pleeeeeease.

Just leave your cell in the car or turn it off during an interview. No exceptions.

Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….