Twice in the last month, two candidates were not asked back for a second interview due to a noticeable behavior. They both had the right skills set for the positions they interviewed for.  They both presented well and showed up on time.  They both asked questions and both candidates reported back that the interview went well from their perspective.

What went wrong? Why did the person interviewing them not feel the same?  The candidates kept looking towards their cell phones during the interview, despite one candidate stating theirs was on the conference table upside down and the other stating he had it on his lap shut off.

Most of us don’t realize that even without our phones ringing, vibrating, lighting up or pinging, just by having them in our sight or on our person, our eyes gravitate towards them.  Our cell phones have become comforters and mental escapes for us. The majority of us tend to place our cell phones in our sight zone which is often, so we don’t forget it when we leave. We don’t give much thought to how it might be distracting from our engagement with others.  It takes discipline and practice to not only break the cell phone always at an eyes distance habit but to create new cellphone habits that elevate relationships and gain favor with others.

While interviewing, the appropriate thing to do is leave your cell phone off, out of sight and not on your person. If you are able to do so, do not take it in with you.  If you have a time limitation, whether you are the person conducting the interview or the person interviewing for the job, it is appropriate to communicate that you have a time restraint.  You can do this upfront, or if your discussion goes more than sixty to ninety minutes, it is okay for you to say something like “I would very much like to continue our conversation. Would it be possible to schedule another meeting?” Often, the other party didn’t realize the time and will not only amicably comply with your request, but they may also be impressed with your communication skills and ability to manage time. Interviews that are not preplanned to go more than ninety minutes are typically past the productive business stage turning more into discussing commonalities than qualifications for the opening.

Cellphones are a necessary tool in today’s society. 

Especially in my occupation, trying to connect with both employers and candidates along with my other business coaching and leadership responsibilities. My responsibilities have forced me to work on getting better at communicating with others when I am expecting a call I may need to take during our meeting.

When receiving a call, communicating up front how much time I have for a call also keeps the call focused. Sometimes I ask the receptionist to interrupt me when a particular call comes in so I do not need to monitor calls and can fully engage with the person in front of me.  Whenever possible, a scheduled call is preferred allowing me to have the necessary corresponding documents in front of me, and to secure my full listening attention. Not only does a scheduled call allow me to prepare mentally for the next person, but it will also enable me to prepare others that I will not be available to them at that time.

There is such a thing as phone addiction.  Try to put yours away for a few hours other than just when you are sleeping.   If you feel like something is missing, most likely something is and it is not only your phone, but your ability to disengage from a piece of technology and connect with the still small voice inside of all of us that allows us to connect with living, breathing things. Will you join with me in controlling our gravitating eyes?

If you happen to get my voicemail, it is not because I am avoiding you.  It is because you are important to me. Make sure to leave me the best time to connect with you so our time set aside will be the perfect timing!

Let’s Connect,

Suzanne Breistol, Florida Construction Connection, Inc.


Featured Book:

Put That Cell Phone Down and Look Me In The Eye: Developing Masterful People Skills For Success At Any Age

  • Harold Schulmeyer

    Looking at your cellphone is a major mistake and should actually be left in your vehicle, I always do. It is the same on a date you want them to know you are the most important,PERIOD!!

  • L. Shamus McQuade

    All drive and initiative is GONE in todays America with the younger generations. There are some EXCEPTIONS, but the RULE is……The old timers have it the younger ones today, God help them, they have NO CLUE…..they could have all the skills, grades, talent but without focus, drive discipline and determination with it it is a waste…..

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