Workplace

May 24, 2013

Turn off your phone; leave your pet at home during interviews

Here’s how to avoid the job interview behaviors that drive employers crazy.

Rule No. 1 on job interviews: Silence your phone. Don’t answer it. Don’t make a call. Don’t play a game, check messages or look at web sites.

In fact, hide your phone and your ear buds, too.

Employers repeatedly tell me they’re fed up with job applicants who divide their attention between the job interview and their mobile devices. Don’t do it.

If you’re fortunate enough to be considered for a job, you need to devote all your attention to the person who is screening you. That also means you need to leave your pets, friends, kids and parents at home.

Don’t laugh. It happens, more often than interviewers can believe. They’ll give a small pass on using the phone if you absolutely have to find an address or a phone number to complete your application. But they want you to do it on your time, after the interview.

Really, you should have all that information in hand before your appointment. And be aware, in some cases, especially at small businesses with limited staffing, you might be interviewed on the spot, when you’d just stopped by to ask if you could pick up an application.

Whether your interview is formally scheduled or impromptu, you need to be prepared to be judged. You should dress equal to or better than the demands of the job. You should have copies of your resume with you, assuming you have one. You should have all the names, dates and addresses of companies and people that you might need to list on an application.

Sadly, most violations of interviewing etiquette that I hear from employers are perpetrated by young people. But youth and inexperience in job interviewing doesn’t hack it as an excuse. Basic politeness is expected of all ages.

One other complaint from hirers that’s mostly directed at young people: If I call you, call me back promptly. And don’t make me listen to music until you answer.

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