That email, text, tweet, or phone call can wait.
A new survey reveals what should be obvious to job-seekers but apparently isn’t: The most likely way to bungle your chance with a potential employer is by checking your smartphone during an interview.
Seventy-seven per cent of advertising and marketing executives said it was likely they’d remove a person from consideration if the person used his or her phone during an interview, according to a survey by Robert Half affiliate The Creative Group.
Showing up late and not acknowledging the tardiness was chosen as a deal-breaker by 70% of the executives. The other top ways for your job interview to have an unhappy ending: not bringing requested items, such as a CV or references (also chosen by 70%); wearing improper attire (69%); and speaking poorly of a past employer (62%).
Technology is a hurdle not only for job-seekers but also for those who already have a job. Nearly two-thirds of chief information officers in a 2013 survey said increased use of mobile devices had led to more breaches in workplace etiquette at their organisations.
While organisations have allowed employees to bring their own devices to work and even have permitted some amount of social media activity during the workday, some companies report that employees are less productive because of mobile devices.
And, when it comes to hiring, there’s very little patience for someone who insists on scrolling through email during an interview.
“Hiring managers typically assume candidates are putting their best foot forward during job interviews, so any sign of unprofessional or unproductive behaviour makes a big impact, no matter how qualified the person may be for the position,” Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group, said in a news release. “Job-seekers should do everything they can to tip the scales in their favour, including paying attention to the smallest details.”
The Creative Group offered tips for avoiding missteps that can ruin a job interview:
- Turn off your phone. Before entering the building, turn off your phone and put it away. Instead of surfing the internet or checking social media while waiting in the lobby, peruse company literature that’s available. When the interview begins, give the interviewer your undivided attention.
- Be on time. Showing up even a few minutes late could signal to a hiring manager that you have little regard for his or her schedule. Plan for traffic and arrive about 10 minutes early. If you’re running late, call ahead and explain why. And consider driving to the location of the interview a day or so in advance to gauge traffic.
- Don’t arrive empty-handed. Print extra copies of your CV and bring a laptop or tablet with your online portfolio saved to the desktop so you can easily present it without an internet connection – just in case the interviewee doesn’t have all of your application materials.
- Don’t dress too casually. Do some research to find out the company’s dress code and choose an outfit that’s slightly more formal.
- Don’t complain about a past job. It’s often necessary to discuss work-related challenges, but show tact during these conversations. The ability to describe difficult situations diplomatically can reflect well on you. Badmouthing former employers, colleagues, or clients may cause interviewers to question your attitude.
—Neil Amato (email@example.com) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.